Information on the new coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is the new coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually affect only animals. Some have the ability to be transmitted from animals to people.
The new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is a new type of coronavirus that can affect people and was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. There are still many unknowns about the disease it causes: COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In some cases there may also be digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Most cases have mild symptoms.
In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, significant shortness of breath, kidney failure and even death. More severe cases usually occur in people who are older or have a chronic illness, such as heart or lung disease or immune problems.

How is the new coronavirus transmitted?

Transmission appears to be by close contact with respiratory secretions generated by a sick person’s cough or sneeze. Its contagiousness depends on the amount of virus in the respiratory tract. These secretions will infect another person if they come into contact with your nose, eyes or mouth. Airborne transmission over distances greater than one or two meters seems unlikely. With current knowledge, people who do not have symptoms do not transmit the disease.

What can I do to protect myself?

Generic measures of individual protection against respiratory diseases include

  • Frequent hand hygiene (washing with soap and water or alcoholic solutions), especially after direct contact with sick people or their environment.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow.
  • Use disposable tissues, and throw them away after use.
  • If respiratory symptoms occur, avoid close contact (maintaining a distance of approximately one meter) with other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as hands facilitate transmission.

No special precautions should be taken with animals in Spain, nor with food, to avoid this infection.

Should I wear masks to protect myself?

The normal healthy population does not need to wear masks. Facemasks help prevent the spread of the virus if they are worn by people who are sick.

Health professionals will advise the use of masks in those situations where it is deemed necessary in each case.

Improper use of masks may contribute to a shortage of masks in those situations for which they are indicated.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

People who have respiratory symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath) and have recently (in the previous 14 days) been in a risk area or have had close contact with a person who is a confirmed case, should stay at home and contact the health services by phone at 112. The health services will assess your health status and your travel history and possible contact with cases of coronavirus.

Links of interest

For more information, please consult the following official sources.

Spanish Ministry of Health:

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC):

World Health Organization (WHO):

(Extracted from the document “Preguntas y respuestas sobre COVID-19 06.03.2020” from the 6th of March 2020 of the Spanish Ministry of Health:

Note: This translation is not made by the Spanish Ministry of Health!