What is coronavirus?
There are many different kinds of coronavirus (CoV). Known types of coronavirus include:
- SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which was first detected in 2003;
- MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which first occurred in humans in 2012.
In humans, certain types of coronavirus can cause illnesses ranging from a common cold to severe pneumonia. Other types of coronavirus can cause a variety of infectious diseases in animals. Some types of coronavirus can be transmitted from animals to humans.
The novel coronavirus identified in China in late 2019 was never before detected in humans.
On 11 February 2020, WHO assigned the official name COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) to this disease. The designation for the pathogen (germ) was changed from 2019-nCoV to SARS–CoV-2.
How dangerous is the novel coronavirus?
This is not yet clear. Similar to seasonal influenza, it affects in particular elderly persons and persons with a weakened immune system.
How contagious is the novel coronavirus?
Person-to-person spreading is the most frequent path of infection with coronavirus SARS–CoV-2. Contagion can be caused by:
- Mucus and saliva
- Urine and faeces
- Body fluids like for example blood
What are the symptoms of the COVID-19 disease?
When persons are infected with already better-known coronaviruses, the course of the illness is usually mild and without symptoms. In case of the novel COVID-19 disease, too, there occur infections without symptoms or with a mild course and symptoms of a common cold. Indications of a severe infection with the novel coronavirus SARS–CoV-2 include for example:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
- Sudden loss of taste and smell
In more severe cases, infection with the novel coronavirus SARS–CoV-2 can cause pneumonia or severe breathing difficulties.
How is the novel coronavirus treated?
At the moment, no vaccine is yet available against the COVID-19 disease. Treatment is symptomatic, which means by suitably supporting the body functions in the healing process and by relieving the symptoms.
How can I protect myself against coronavirus?
As with seasonal influenza, the following measures are recommended:
- Wash your hands several times a day with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand disinfectant.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue or the crook of your arm whenever you cough or sneeze. Do not cover your mouth and nose with your hands whenever you cough or sneeze. Dispose of paper tissues promptly by throwing them in the trash and then wash your hands. Do not throw paper tissues in the bin for wastepaper recycling.
- Avoid direct contact with persons who are ill, irrespective of the disease.
- Turn away from other persons near you if you need to cough or sneeze.
- Keep a safe distance away from other people and avoid large crowds of people.
- Do not shake hands.
I think that I may be infected with coronavirus. What should I do? What happens now?
Symptoms of the Covid-19 disease include fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhoea and a sudden loss of taste and smell. If you show these symptoms and suspect to be infected, call the health hotline (“Gesundheitstelefon”) 1450.
What will happen if I am suspected of being infected with coronavirus?
If it is suspected that you might have contracted coronavirus SARS–CoV-2, the emergency medical service („Ärztefunkdienst„) will visit you at your home.
You will be tested for the SARS–CoV-2 virus. A nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) swab will be taken for this purpose. The samples are collected by the Public Health Services (Municipal Department 15) and evaluated three times a day by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES). AGES submits the findings to Municipal Department 15 and to the emergency medical service („Ärztefunkdienst„).
If your test was negative, you have not been infected with coronavirus SARS–CoV-2. In this case, the emergency medical service will inform you directly.
If your test was positive, you have been infected with coronavirus SARS–CoV-2. In this case, you will be contacted by the Public Health Services (Municipal Department 15). The severity of your infection will decide whether you will be admitted to a hospital or quarantined at home. If you need a notification of illness for your employer or a medical prescription, do not see your family doctor. The emergency medical service is authorised to issue notifications of illness and medical prescriptions. Avoid any contact with other people, since you might infect and hence endanger them.
What should I (not) do while waiting for my test result?
Once you have been tested, you are considered a suspected COVID-19 case, but you are not quarantined.
Please inform your doctor and your employer of the situation. Do NOT leave your home until you get your test result.
For your own safety, and to protect others, it is essential that you follow some key rules while at home:
- Keep a minimum distance of 2 metres (~ 6 feet) from everyone else,
and avoid contact to others if possible.
- Make sure you follow all hygiene guidelines, especially when sneezing or coughing.
- Take your meals separately from others.
If your test result is positive, you will receive an official order (Bescheid) from the City of Vienna Public Health Services, telling you to remain quarantined.
When and how will I get my test result? Who can answer my questions?
It may take up to 48 hours for a test result to be available. A 12-digit PIN code gives you direct access to your result.
Here is how you get your PIN code:
- If you are tested by a Red Cross team, they will give you the PIN right after the test.
- If you are tested via the Veloce courier service, you will receive an SMS with your PIN from the Veloce testing system. You need to provide a current mobile phone number for this purpose. The Veloce staff will check if you have received the PIN.
- If you go to a public test centre (Teststraße), you will get your PIN there.
Once your test result is available, you will receive an SMS with a web link. Enter your PIN to access your result. The PIN remains valid for four weeks. If you have not received a PIN, if you have misplaced it, or in case of technical issues (e.g. if you do not have Internet access), please contact the City of Vienna Public Health Services. Phone their info hotline at 01 4000-87299, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
They can help you find out about your result.
Where can I get tested for free?
In Vienna, there are two drive-through test centres where you can get tested for free if you meet the requirements of the test centres.
You can either drive through the test centre by car or walk through.
Drive-through test centres are open from Monday to Sunday from 06:00 to 21:00 – also during the lockdown.
Only people who live or work in Vienna can come to the drive-through test centres.
Tests carried out in drive-through test centres are gargle tests.
More information about requirements as well as locations and opening hours (German)
If you have flu-like symptoms, you can come to one of the symptom test centres (“Checkbox”) and get a Covid-19 antibody test. The test centres are open daily from 07:00 to 19:00. You need to make a prior appointment. You can make an appointment three days in advance at the earliest.
More information and making an appointment (German)
Services by the City of Vienna for at risk groups
People over 65 and those with pre-existing health conditions are especially at risk. They need special protection but also support with daily errands.
Pre-existing health conditions are:
- (chronic) respiratory disease including COPD
- cardiovascular disease
- high blood pressure
- a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or therapies
If you are part of an at-risk group and need help with errands (food delivery, picking up prescriptions or shopping) please contact the service hotline of the City of Vienna at 01 4000 4001.
General advice on international travel
The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (Austrian Foreign Ministry) classifies the safety and security situation in different countries.
The Federal Ministry lists all travel warnings (in German) on its website.
I am a business owner – what support can I get?
Together with the Vienna Business Agency , the City of Vienna is providing funds to prevent emergencies for Viennese businesses and their employees.
Information for businesses
The Vienna Chamber of Commerce provides up-to-date information about current measures and latest developments (German).
How does the coronavirus change everyday life?
New restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government has announced a second lockdown in Austria. The following regulations are in place from 17 November:
Please stay at home and do not meet anybody from outside your household!
You can only leave home for specific reasons:
- for work purposes
- to meet necessary everyday needs (e.g. grocery shopping)
- to help or take care of other people
- to exercise outdoors
- Spend time with the people you live with in the same household. If you live alone, you can form a support bubble with one other person from outside your household. Family meetings are not permitted. You can meet one family member at a time. This means that you as an individual can meet your family, or one family member from outside your household can meet or visit you.
- In public space: Keep a safe distance of at least one metre from people outside your household and wear a face mask.
- Kindergarten, schools and universities switch to distance learning. If you need to send your child or children to kindergarten or school they will be supervised there and get tuition in schools.
- All non-essential shops and personal care facilities (such as hairdressers) are closed. Supermarkets, grocery stores, drugstores/chemists, banks, post offices, car and bicycle repair and hire shops remain open from 06:00 to 19:00. Pharmacies and petrol stations have longer opening hours. To support physical distancing, the maximum number of people allowed in shops is one customer per ten square metres. When out shopping or running errands you must wear a face mask and keep a distance of at least one metre from others.
- All private events such as weddings, anniversaries or birthday parties are not permitted to take place! Funerals can take place and can be attended by a maximum number of 50 people. Please wear a face mask and keep a safe distance of at least one metre to others at all times.
- Contact sports such as football are not permitted! Indoor sports facilities including indoor swimming pools remain closed (except for professional sports).
- Hospitality venues (such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, etc.) stay closed. Takeaway is allowed between 06:00 and 19:00 and delivery of food and beverages is allowed around the clock.
- All events have been cancelled. Libraries, theatres, cinemas and concert halls stay closed.
- Residents in nursing homes can have a maximum of one visitor per resident per week. Visitors must get a rapid coronavirus test or wear an FFP2 face mask.
- Communal worship is permitted. Religious communities must impose their own rules to reduce the risk of infection. Face masks must be worn indoors at all times.
For further information about Covid-19 regulations, please visit the website of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs,Health, Care and Consumer Protection (German)
When to wear face coverings (face mask or other mouth and nose covering such as a scarf):
- In all shops and customer service areas (e.g. supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices)
- At food markets and other markets
- On public transport, in all underground train stations and in taxis, on coaches
- In the healthcare sector (e.g. doctor’s surgeries, hospitals, nursing homes, sanatoriums)
- In civic office buildings, e.g. in waiting areas and inside offices
For information about municipal departments and other institutions of the City of Vienna please visit the website of the City of Vienna. (German).
Who can I turn to if I have further questions?
If you have any further questions, which have not been answered yet, please contact the information service of the City of Vienna’s Integration and Diversity Department. You can reach them from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You can ask your questions about the corona crisis in your mother tongue:
- by email: email@example.com
- on Facebook: startwien.at
- by phone: 01 4000 81540 (Please call this number, say in which language you want to ask your question, and you will be called back.)
The staff members of the City of Vienna’s Integration and Diversity Department are obviously no experts on the coronavirus. However, they will try to provide you with information from reliable sources within 24 hours. Please note that they can only answer questions if they find answers from reliable sources.
You can ask your questions in the following languages: Shqip / عربي / Български / Bosanski / Hrvatski / Srpski / English / فارس / Français / Kurdî / Маркедонски / پښتو / Polski / ਪੰਜਾਬੀ / Română / Pyccĸий / Slovenčina / Español / čeština / нохчийн маттахь / Türkҫe / Magyar
Where can I find further information in English?