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.
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?
You must wear a face mask or other mouth and nose covering such as a scarf on public transport and in all underground train stations.
Wiener Linien (German)
Before going to any of the following places please check on their website or phone them to find out if you need a reservation or if any specific regulations are in place: cultural institutions, leisure facilities, public swimming pools, shops, restaurants, pubs, administrative offices, government agencies, etc.
When to wear face coverings:
- In all shops and customer service areas (e.g. supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, shopping centres, specialist shops, …)
- At food markets and other markets
- In restaurants, pubs, cafés, etc. for waiting staff (indoors), guests are only served at tables, not at the bar, and have to wear face coverings too whenever they are not seated
- In museums, exhibitions, libraries, archives, and other entertainment venues
- On public transport and in taxis, on coaches, in the indoor areas of excursion boats
- 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
- In hotels, guesthouses, etc. for guests and staff in all accessible indoor areas
- At trade fairs indoors and outdoors
- At rallies if you cannot keep a minimum distance of 1 metre
- At indoor events (except designated seating)
- In public indoor swimming pools (except shower rooms and immediate swimming area)
- In indoor sports venues for guests and staff (except while doing sports)
- In schools outside classrooms
For information about municipal departments and other institutions of the City of Vienna please visit the website of the City of Vienna. (German).
For up-to-date information about the coronavirus (German) please visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.
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?