What is Coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of viruses that cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not yet been identified in humans.

Symptoms range from moderate to severe respiratory illness with fever, dry cough and breathing difficulties. Elderly people - especially those over 65 years of age - and people with pre-existing chronic conditions appear to be more vulnerable to severe symptoms.

The incubation period (the time between infection and the first symptoms) is up to 14 days, and is usually shorter (2-12 days).

How does it spread?

Coronavirus is spread from person to person through small droplets caused by coughing or sneezing. Through these droplets, the virus gets into the air, on objects and surfaces. The virus can infect anyone who inhales these droplets or puts them in their mouth, nose or eyes through their hands. There is no evidence that contamination occurs through the skin. The risk of contamination can be reduced by keeping a distance of more than one metre from sick people, by keeping facial contact to a minimum and by ensuring good hand hygiene.


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms range from moderate to severe airway disease with fever, dry cough and breathing difficulties.

Most infected people experience mild symptoms and recover.

People over the age of 50 and people with weakened immune systems or pre-existing chronic diseases (such as diabetes, heart and lung disease) develop severe symptoms more frequently.

What is the best way to prevent illness?

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitizer.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or with a tissue. Throw away the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose.

These general hygiene measures are summarized in this poster and summarized in a WHO video .

You can also help slow the spread of the virus with the following tips:

  • Avoid holding hands, kissing or hugging when greeting someone.
  • Pay attention to risk groups (people over 65 years old, diabetics, people with heart, lung or kidney disease, immunosuppressed people, ...).
  • Children do not become seriously ill from the coronavirus, but can easily spread it. Contact between children and the elderly is therefore not recommended.
  • Try to keep your distance in high-traffic areas.
  • Avoid contact with visibly ill people or keep a sufficient distance.

What is a possible case?

A possible case of COVID-19 is a person with symptoms of acute lower or upper respiratory tract infection appearing OR getting worse if the patient has chronic respiratory symptoms.

Can I be contaminated through food?

To date, food has not been identified as a likely source or route of transmission of the virus. Therefore, based on current knowledge, the likelihood of a consumer becoming contaminated with Covid-19 through food is very low and unproven. In any case, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) reminds professionals that compliance with good hygiene practices is essential and prevents most contaminations :

  • Prepare food separately, especially when handling raw meat,
  • Wash food preparation surfaces, especially after handling raw meat, with soap and hot water,
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water between handling,
  • Cook any raw meat sufficiently (70°C through for at least 2 minutes),
  • Avoid preparing food when you are sick.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating Covid-19?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only against bacterial infections. Because Covid-19 is caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective. They should not be used to prevent or treat Covid-19. Antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a doctor to treat a bacterial infection.

Is there a vaccine, medication or treatment for Covid-19?

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medication to prevent or treat Covid-19. However, affected individuals should receive care to relieve symptoms. People who are seriously ill must be hospitalized. Most patients recover with supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific treatments are being studied and tested in clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat Covid-19.

What are the official reference sites?

A call center is available to answer your questions: 0800/14.689

What can I do if my presence in the premises of the University is required but I am ill?

If you suffer from an airway infection OR fever, sore throat, dry cough, stay home, don't go to work!

If a staff member develops symptoms, however mild, but potentially caused by the coronavirus, it is imperative that they immediately return home and contact their physician. If he/she tests positive, it is requested that in addition to the general tracing measures that will be put in place, he/she voluntarily informs the colleagues with whom he/she would have been in contact with during the previous days, so that they can each take the adequate precautions.

See : https://www.info-coronavirus.be/fr/qui-testons-nous/