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Frequently asked questions and answers plus phone numbers for advice.

What are the symptoms of an infection with the new coronavirus?

Coronaviruses trigger respiratory diseases. Common coronaviruses cause mild flu symptoms with coughing and a running nose, but certain forms can cause severe respiratory diseases and pneumonia. The new form of coronavirus appears to sometimes take a severe course. Patients with a severe underlying illness are particularly susceptible.
The common flu has very similar symptoms. At present, the Hannover region is going through its annual wave of influenza, so at present, respiratory tract infections may well be a common influenza.

Coravavirus or common flu?

A well-founded suspicion exists if an acute respiratory tract infection in a person is clinically or radiologically (by X-ray) proven and the patient has been in contact with an infected person or recently has been in a risk area defined by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
The RKI lists the current risk areas on the page https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete.html
It is also suspicious if a patient shows acute symptoms of a respiratory disease and was in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient up to 14 days before his illness.

Who is a high-risk person, who is not?

According to the current state of knowledge, the following persons have an increased risk in case of Covid-19 disease
Persons above the age of 50
Persons who are suffering from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, diseases of the respiratory system, liver or kidney
People with a weakened immune system
People using medication suppressing the immune system (e.g. cortisone)
The following persons are expressly NOT at an increased risk of serious illness:
Pregnant women are at no greater risk than non-pregnant women
According to the current state of knowledge, children do not have an increased risk of a serious course of disease
What should I do if I have been in contact with a person showing symptoms typical of coronavirus?
There is no need to worry here. The public health department records and monitors all confirmed coronavirus patients. They are questioned about their contacts, these are then approached by the Health Department. If there is a well-founded suspicion that you might be a contact person of an infected person, the Health Office will get in touch with you, discuss your situation individually and explain the following steps. As long as you do not feel any symptoms, have not been in close contact (closer than two metres) with a confirmed corona patient and have not recently returned from a risk area, there is no cause for concern.

I have been in contact with a person close to a confirmed corona virus case. Do I have to be worried now?

No. According to the current state of knowledge, a risk of infection is exclusively given in case of contact with an index patient, i.e. a person who is actually ill. Although close relatives of a sick person are registered and monitored by the public health department, the Robert Koch Institute considers the risk of infection to be practically non-existent.

Who is conducting the tests? What is to be done about a suspect case?

Anyone suspecting that they have contracted the corona virus should inform their family doctor by telephone so that the practice can make preparations and prevent other patients from being infected. The family doctor's practice then carries out the necessary diagnostics and therapy and informs the responsible health office.
A clear diagnosis of coronavirus can only be made by means of a laboratory analysis of the patient's throat swab. The result of the laboratory test is available within one day. If the suspicion is confirmed, the public health department will take all appropriate steps. It contacts the doctor treating the patient, determines the persons with whom the patient was in recent contact and advises the affected persons.

What do I do if my GP refuses to test me for Corona?

First of all, your family doctor will have checked whether there are a reasonable grounds for suspicion (see question: When is there a suspicion of a corona virus infection). If none of the indicators apply to you according to your medical history, there is no medical reason to carry out a test. If a doctor does not agree to carry out a test or offer instant help despite the fact that the risk indicators apply, please contact your health insurance company or the responsible Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Lower Saxony.

What do I do if my family doctor tells me that he cannot test me for organisational reasons?

If a doctor is not able to carry out a test or offer you help for organisational reasons, please also contact your health insurance company or the relevant Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Lower Saxony.

How does the quarantine work?

What does it mean when the health authorities contact me?
If the public health department contacts you, you need not worry. First of all, it will be determined whether - and if so, how closely - you were in contact with a possible coronavirus patient. The further procedure will be determined individually.

What exactly does quarantine mean and what should I do if it is imposed on me?

Those who are placed under domestic quarantine are not allowed to leave their living quarters for at least 14 days. Sharing rooms with other people living in the same flat - particularly close physical contact - should be avoided during this time. Objects with which the person in quarantine has had direct contact - such as dishes, laundry or hygiene articles - should not be shared with third parties. Good ventilation of the living quarters is also important. However, friends and relatives can take on tasks such as shopping for the quarantined person. The purchases should be deposited outside the front door so that direct contact is avoided. The public health department is in telephone contact with people who are in domestic quarantine. On the one hand, you can contact the office with questions, on the other hand, the Health Office checks by phone how the persons under quarantine are doing in terms of health and whether they are complying with the quarantine regulations.

What happens at the end of the quarantine?

For contacts who have been quarantined for 14 days and who have not shown any symptoms during this period, no further examination is necessary.
Contact persons who have shown symptoms during the quarantine period will be tested once the symptoms have subsided. If the test is negative, the quarantine is lifted.
People who are ill will be tested twice after the symptoms have subsided. If two consecutive tests are negative, the quarantine will be lifted.

Can I go back to work once the quarantine is over?

Those affected can move around in public again without any restrictions if the above conditions are met.

How can I protect myself and others from infection?

According to current knowledge, corona it is a droplet and smear infection. Therefore the same rules apply here as for the common cold and flu:
Keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and when coughing and sneezing, take care that no drops of moisture are dispersed in the environment.
An effective vaccination against the coronavirus is not yet available.


What about people returning from a risk area?
People returning from a risk area are recommended to stay at home voluntarily for 14 days. Each person concerned should clarify the conditions for this individually with his or her employer.
For schools, day-care facilities, day-care centres and inpatient facilities for nursing, the guidelines of the Ministry of Social Affairs apply. These stipulate that returnees from risk areas must be quarantined as a precautionary measure.

What exactly does the Health Office do?

The Health Office has informed all family doctors in the Hannover region about how to deal with the corona virus and is in contact with the State Health Office and the Ministry of Social Affairs. In addition, the Health Department is in close contact with the hospitals in the region and has drawn up a clear plan of action covering possible scenarios.

What about public events?

Events and gatherings are prohibited until 19 April. If you have questions about your tickets or the corresponding events, please contact the organiser.

Further information online (in German)


Phone Numbers

Region Hannover: 0800 7313131 
Montag, 9.3.2020 bis Freitag, 13.03.2020 von 8:00 Uhr bis 18:00 Uhr
Citizens' telephone of the state health office: 0511-4505555