Date, 2nd of March 2020
The number of coronavirus cases in Germany is growing, in Europe it is even increasing. We have compiled the answers to the most important questions about the spread of the virus and give an overview of what you need to know and how you can protect yourself – in the event of a possible corona outbreak.
Virologists hope remdesivir will work
The viraticidal remdesivir, which was originally developed for the treatment of infections with Ebola and the Marburg virus, is currently being tested in 4 clinical studies in patients with COVID-19. First results are expected in early April. Remdesivir could therefore be used as part of a therapeutic attempt. Doctors have had positive experiences with the first COVID-19 patient. The patient who had developed bilateral pneumonia recovered after a single infusion with remdesivir. However, it cannot be clarified on a case-by-case basis whether this is due to the viratic agent.
(Source: Ärzteblatt (Doctor news) dated February 28, 2020)
What is the legal situation?
The “responsible authority” named in the Infection Protection Act for the containment of epidemics is the local health authority (Gesundheitsamt). It decides on all “necessary protective measures”. The authority can ban events and meetings and close community facilities, such as schools, kindergartens, homes, but also bathing establishments. The authority can also oblige people to stay in one place or not to enter certain places. Paragraph 28 of the Infection Protection Act explicitly states: “The fundamental rights of freedom of the person … freedom of assembly … and the inviolability of the home … are restricted in this respect.”
Instructions from the German authority are unstoppable
Section 30 of the Infection Protection Act regulates the quarantine measures, such as the possibility of “segregating” the sick, suspected of illness, suspected contagion and excretors “in suitable hospitals. If a person affected does not comply with these instructions, “they must be separated by being placed in a locked hospital …”.
1. Suspected infection – what should I do?
First, you should protect others from possible transmission. In other words, don’t go to the doctor! Call your doctor and discuss the situation. You can call the national emergency number 112, especially if you show severe symptoms. There is a central hotline in Berlin 030 9028 2828 which is currently open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Hamburg has switched the number 116117 for this 24/7 day.
The Robert Koch Institute also offers an online tool in which local and regional contact points are played out across Germany using the postcode. You can reach this at: https://tools.rki.de/plztool/
2. What are corona viruses?
Corona viruses are comparatively large, round viruses that have an envelope. The viruses appear crown-like under the electron microscope (Latin: Corona).
3. What are the symptoms of the Covid 19 disease?
The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, such as scratching the throat and increased temperature, general malaise. Diarrhoea sometimes occurs. Runny nose is comparatively rarely observed. With severe courses with massive virus multiplication in the lower respiratory tract shortness of breath occurs.
4. How is the corona virus transmitted?
As with other pathogens of diseases of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs, both smear infections and droplet infections are possible. Which way plays the bigger role is so far unclear.
5. What should I watch out for in public transport?
In public transport and buildings, wearing gloves that should be washed and changed daily if possible, reduces the risk.
6. What should I pay attention to in the office?
Handles used by numerous people, such as doors, windows and kitchen drawers, but also taps or buttons in elevators are potential sources of germs. This reduces the risk if you open and close them with gloves, or if possible, with your elbows, shoulders, etc. If contact with the hand is unavoidable, you can go wash your hands immediately afterwards.
7. What should employers consider?
You not only have to allow employees but instruct them to stay at home if they suspect they are infected and, if possible, work from home.
8. Are there special risk groups?
The majority of coronavirus deaths are in the elderly with pre-existing conditions. In addition, the disease appears to be more dangerous for men than for women. However, the data situation is still not medical scientific sufficient here. According to the Charité virologist Christian Drosten, the overall data suggest that children are less seriously ill than adults and pregnant women are not particularly at risk.
9. What is the situation for children?
So far, as data are available, children have hardly been affected by any serious courses. However, they can potentially be effective carriers because of their stay in day care centres and schools, where they could become infected, and their not yet fully developed ability to take care of hygiene or even keep away from others. Children who may be infected should be isolated at home as much as possible. Since older people are particularly at risk, visits to grandmother and grandfather and the like should be avoided if possible.
In order to detect coronaviruses, the doctor needs a smear from the throat or “sputum”, that is, expectoration deep from the lungs – the latter is not easy to get, so throat swabs are the rule. Until now it was thought that the viruses multiply especially in deeper regions of the respiratory tract, which is why an attempt was made to stroke the mucosa with a cotton swab as deeply as possible in the throat area. In the meantime, this is no longer necessary because, according to the latest findings, the viruses also occur in “enormous quantities” in the upper throat area. It is therefore no longer necessary to “torture” the patient with deep throat swabs, in which gagging is more difficult to avoid.
We hope this information for our non-German mother tongue customers has been helpful and gave you some more insights where to contact and what to do in case of uncertainty. We wish you and your loved ones, health and feel free to share this information with other friends who are not fluent in German language.