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How to avoid contracting the coronavirus and what to do in case of suspected infection?

  • Wash your hands. Hands should be washed with soap under running water, alcohol-based hand disinfectants should be used if needed. 
  • Avoid contact. Avoid contact with people, who are coughing or sneezing. If you stand too close to a person with symptoms of the disease, you may contract the disease yourself. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with contaminated hands, it is possible that the virus will be transmitted to you as well. 
  • If you have a fever, are coughing and experiencing difficulty breathing, seek help in a timely manner. Monitor your health and stay home. Call your general practitioner (GP). If you do not have access to a general practitioner, call the GP hotline at 1220
  • If you have mild symptoms of respiratory disease: carefully observe the regular hand hygiene guidelines and, if possible, stay home until you are well again. 
  • Observe good respiratory hygiene. If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a single use tissue. Throw it into the bin immediately after, and then clean your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (the inside of your elbow), but do not use your bare hand. 
  • Covering your mouth and nose helps prevent spreading the virus. If you sneeze into a bare hand, you might transfer the contamination and viruses to others as well as to objects that you touch.  

Self isolation at home

For people with mild symptoms of COVID-19, hospitalization may not be necessary. Instead, healthcare providers may recommend isolation at home, to limit further spread of the virus.

Self-isolation at home means remaining at home or in a designated setting, in a single, dedicated, adequately ventilated room and preferably using a dedicated toilet. This measure can be recommended for people while showing symptoms or for a certain period of time.


When would it make sense to wear a mask?

It generally does not make sense to wear a mask at home or outside. At home it does not make sense to wear a mask because if one family member is infected and other family members are not permanently isolated from him, the virus will probably still find a way to infect the other family members.

It might make sense to wear a mask in public places (stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, public transport) where there are a lot of people, in order to reduce the possibility that the droplet infection released with coughing or sneezing reaches other people. Covering your nose and mouth is an appropriate precaution to take in a place like that. A mask might also be of help to a healthy person if an infected person coughs in his direction -- it might somewhat reduce the possibility of the healthy person getting sprayed with a large enough dosage of the droplet virus to get infected and sick.


What should I keep in mind with a self-made mask?

The material of a self-made mask gets damp very quickly. A damp mask must be changed out, at least every 2-3 hours, depending on the material. One person requires about 4-5 masks a day, for instance if she needs to go to work.


HOIA mobile app

Download the HOIA mobile app from Google Play or App Store which will inform you if you have come into close contact with an individual who has coronavirus. The app also allows you to anonymously notify other users if you have fallen ill yourself. Codes are being exchanged anonymously between the phones of people who use the app, while the government, the app’s developer, and the manufacturer of your phone will not be notified of those with whom you have come into close contact. Further information is available here: