In December 2019, an outbreak of a new coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China. This virus can cause the COVID-19 disease. Measures are currently being taken all over the world to prevent further spread of the virus.
Symptoms of the coronavirus
People with the coronavirus have a fever (temperature above 38 °C) and respiratory complaints, such as coughing or shortness of breath.
This disease is spread from person to person. At this moment it is assumed that one sick person can infect two others on average. The sicker a person is, the more they spread the virus.
Will the coronavirus reach the Netherlands?
Currently, several people in the Netherlands have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The relevant authorities are closely investigating with whom these patients have had contact. The Municipal Health Service will monitor all contacts to prevent the further spread of the disease.
What can I do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus?
This is quite simple and these measures actually always apply if you have a cold or the flu.
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cough and sneeze into the inside of your arm
- Use paper handkerchiefs
When a person who is infected coughs or sneezes, the virus is expelled from the nose, throat, or lungs. The virus then enters into the air through the small droplets. These droplets do not float in the air but descend quickly. The sicker a person is, the more of the virus they can spread. But the virus cannot survive for long outside of the body, especially not on cardboard, packaging materials, or other objects.
When should I call my doctor?
Call your doctor by telephone if you have:
- Fever (temperature above 38 °C) with respiratory complaints (coughing, symptoms of a cold, sore throat, or shortness of breath).
- Have been in a country/region in the past two weeks where the virus is prevalent. This includes China (including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan), Singapore, Iran, and some municipalities in Italy.
- Or if you had contact with a patient with the new coronavirus in the last two weeks.
Do NOT go to your doctor or out-of-hours surgery, as you could infect other people. The doctor will decide together with the Municipal Health Service if it is necessary to test for the new coronavirus.
When should I contact my supervisor?
Call your supervisor from home if you have symptoms of the coronavirus as mentioned above.
Do I need to wear a breathing mask?
No. Wearing breathing masks is only necessary for caregivers and only makes sense if they are worn properly and changed daily. For example, you shouldn't touch the outside of the breathing mask or use the same breathing mask repeatedly.
Can I be infected by animals?
Whether animals still play a role in the transmission in China is still under investigation. The source has not been found. The main transmission currently takes place from human to human; we assume that there can be no spread of the virus from animal to human in the Netherlands because the animal species involved are very unlikely to occur in the Netherlands.