Coronavirus 2019 - nCoV
Coronaviruses (CoV) form a large family of viruses that can cause anything from minor colds to acute pneumonia.
According to the information provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a new enveloped coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified in China (Wuhan region) on 7 January 2020 that had never before been detected in humans. On 11 February 2020, the WHO announced an official name for this illness: COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). The name of the pathogen was changed from 2019-nCoV to SARS-CoV-2.
How contagious is the coronavirus?
Person-to-person transmission is the primary means of infection. In addition to secretions from the respiratory tract and saliva, excretions (urine, faeces) and bodily fluids (blood, pleural fluids, joint aspiration fluids, etc.) may also be infectious.
How does the illness present?
People infected with normal coronaviruses usually display mild or no symptoms. Common signs of infection from the new coronavirus include fever, coughing, breathlessness and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, a severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. There are also mild chronic forms.
How can you protect yourself from coronaviruses?
Just like with seasonal flu, the following measures are recommended:
- Wash your hands multiple times a day with soap and water or an alcohol-based disinfectant
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) if you cough or sneeze
- Avoid direct contact with ill people
(Symptoms of a cold) and infections without symptoms.
Source: Ages, dated 24/02/2020
Guide for travel abroad
All business trips to at-risk areas are prohibited in order to avoid encouraging the spread of disease.
If initially unaffected areas become at-risk areas, your supervisor should be informed immediately by phone. The supervisor must then contact the department for occupational health and safety without delay.
The official procedure according to the guide produced by the Federal Ministry for Work, Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection must be followed, i.e. it is vital that you contact the medical officer who will decide on the next steps. The affected person must report these to the department for occupational health and safety and to the rectorate in writing.
If you have been in affected regions, the following steps must be followed:
- Stay at home. If you got common signs of infection from the new coronavirus - fever, coughing, breathlessness and difficulty breathingand - contact the health advice helpline on 1450 (24 hrs/day) for further steps (diagnostic confirmation).
- The affected person must inform the department for occupational health and safety and the rectorate in writing of the procedure specified by the medical officer without delay.
These steps also apply to staff and students who may also be affected after travelling or as a result of direct contact with a potentially infected person during their free time. You are only permitted to return to your workplace after evaluation by a medical officer.
You can find up-to-date information on the homepage of the Federal Ministry for Work, Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection: https://www.sozialministerium.at/Themen/Gesundheit/Uebertragbare-Krankheiten/Infektionskrankheiten-A-Z/Neuartiges-Coronavirus.html