COVID-19 (Corona virus disease-19) is caused by a corona virus, SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Respiratory Syndrome - Corona Virus-2).
The virus is human-to-human transmissible. Infection occurs through the inhalation of small droplets of saliva from an infected person that are released during speaking, coughing or sneezing or through droplets of saliva on hands and objects.
Symptoms may occur two days to two weeks after the infection. The symptoms vary from mild flu-like symptoms to severe pneumonia with fever, coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, gastrointestinal complaints and a loss of taste and smell can occur. Elderly people, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions have a higher risk of complications.
The outbreak initially started in Wuhan, China but grew into a global pandemic. As of May 2023, WHO declared COVID-19 no longer as a global emergency but the virus still remains present around the world.
Each country has specific guidelines. The latest rules for each country, eg. who still requires certain certificates, for entry or use in the country, can be found on the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs website under ‘travel advice’.
Wash or disinfect your hands regularly.
Ventilate places where multiple people are.
Stay away from sick people and make sure no one coughs or sneezes in your face.
Avoid other people, wear a mouth mask and wash your hands when you have respiratory symptoms.
When there is an increase in COVID-19 infections, it can be useful to wear a mouth mask in places where it is difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
For certain populations such as 65+, the pregnant, people with weakened immunity or health care professionals, vaccination is strongly recommended.