1. When is a novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) suspected? What to do in this case?
If you or a family member:
- suddenly start experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath within 14 days after you left an area or country where the novel coronavirus is spreading at the community level,
- or you are aware that you or a family member has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19:
Before seeking care, call your GP or, outside office hours, the doctor on-call. (For up-to-date information on areas or countries with widespread, ongoing community transmission of novel coronavirus, visit the National Public Health Center’s website: www.nnk.gov.hu) Tell your GP about your (or your family member’s) symptoms and recent travel abroad, or where and when you (or your family member) met a person known to have COVID-19. This allows the physician to assess the situation over the phone and refer the patient to a designated healthcare facility when required, without a need for the patient to appear at the GP's office. It also helps prevent the spread of the infection. Make sure to follow the doctor's instructions and cooperate with the public health authority.
If you do not have a fever or cough, but you have returned, during the past 14 days, from an area or country with widespread, ongoing community transmission of novel coronavirus, it is recommended that you monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after you left that area/country. Call your doctor ONLY if you have symptoms. Do not request a laboratory test for novel coronavirus if you have no symptoms!
If you know any person, either Hungarian or foreigner, who has suddenly developed a fever, cough or shortness of breath and has been in the last 14 days in an area or country where the novel coronavirus is spreading at the community level, avoid close personal contact. Ask the person to stay at home, not to go into the community, and to call the GP on the phone and cooperate with the public health authority.
2. What can you do to prevent a novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19)?
Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water or rub your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizers available at pharmacies and drugstores. Thorough hand washing (or use of a hand sanitizer) is especially important in the following cases:
- on arrival at work, at an educational institution or at home,
- after using public transport,
- before food preparation,
- before eating,
- and after using the toilet.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Our hands come into contact with a variety of surfaces and objects during our daily activities and can get contaminated with pathogens that may be present on surfaces or objects. When you touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unclean hands then pathogens, including the novel coronavirus, can enter your body and you may become infected. Do not touch the face of other people either.
It is not recommended to wear a facemask if you have no respiratory symptoms. Only wear a mask if you are ill with respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough).
Keep a distance of at least 2 meters from a person who is coughing or sneezing. When coughing or sneezing, tiny drops of saliva or respiratory secretions, which may contain a pathogen, are released into the environment. If you are nearby, these drops may be directly transferred into your nose, mouth, eyes or inhaled into the lungs.
Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue into a bin and wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap (or rub with alcohol-based hand sanitizer). If you do not have any tissues available, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow. By following this cough etiquette, one can prevent the spread of pathogens, including the novel coronavirus, to the people nearby.
It is recommended to clean the frequently touched surfaces regularly with a disposable surface disinfectant wipe during the flu season, when respiratory infections are common.
Teach your child the above detailed good personal hygiene practices and precautions.
It is unlikely for a person to catch the novel coronavirus from a package sent from an area or country where COVID-19 is spreading. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating a commercial item is low and the risk of catching the virus from a package that has been moved, shipped, and exposed to various conditions and temperatures is low. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
3. What happens to you if you are suspected to have novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19)?
If your GP or another doctor confirms that you are suspected to have novel coronavirus infection, an ambulance will be ordered for you.
The ambulance will take you to the infectious disease unit of the nearest (territorially responsible) hospital, where you will be isolated and treated according to standard procedures. Depending on your symptoms, upper or lower respiratory tract specimens will be taken from you for laboratory examination (e.g. nasal and pharyngeal swab). Your laboratory test results and your clinical condition will determine your length of stay at the hospital.
The public health department of the county government office will be conducting an epidemiological investigation in your case.
They will ask you questions concerning the 14 days before the onset of symptoms, such as:
- Do you live with others in the same household?
- Have you been out in the community?
- Have you attended any event?
- Who are those that you have been in close contact with?
Based on the information received, the public health department will decide on the necessary measures to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus infection.