16/03/2020.
We are currently awaiting a update regarding deep cleaning of all types of refrigeration and Air Conditioning systems due to the corona virus outbreak.
The latest updates are below:

As of 15 March 2020, 39 768 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (17 750), Spain (5 753), France (4 499), Germany (3 795), United Kingdom (1 140), Netherlands (959), Sweden (924), Norway (907), Denmark (827), Belgium (689), Austria (655), Greece (228), Czech Republic (214), Finland (210), Slovenia (181), Portugal (169), Iceland (138), Ireland (129), Estonia (115), Romania (113), Poland (104), Slovakia (44), Bulgaria (41), Luxembourg (38), Croatia (37), Hungary (31), Latvia (26), Cyprus (21), Malta (18), Lithuania (9) and Liechtenstein (4).

As of 15 March 2020, 1 727 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (1 441), Spain (136), France (91), United Kingdom (21), Netherlands (12), Germany (8), Belgium (4), Greece (3), Poland (3), Bulgaria (2), Ireland (2), Austria (1), Luxembourg (1), Norway (1) and Sweden (1).

EU/EEA and the UKCases   Deaths  

Italy177501441

Spain5753136

France449991

Germany37958

United Kingdom114021

Netherlands95912

Sweden9241

Norway9071

Denmark8270

Belgium6894

Austria6551

Greece2283

Czech Republic2140

Finland2100

Slovenia1810

Portugal1690

Iceland1380

Ireland1292

Estonia1150

Romania1130

Poland1043

Slovakia440

Bulgaria412

Luxembourg381

Croatia370

Hungary310

Latvia260

Cyprus210

Malta180

Lithuania90

Liechtenstein40

Total397681727

Q & A on COVID-19

1. What is SARS-CoV-2? What is COVID-19?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

2. Where do coronaviruses come from?

Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals with some of them also known to infect humans.

Bats are considered as natural hosts of these viruses yet several other species of animals are also known to be a source. For instance, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is transmitted to humans from camels, and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) is transmitted to humans from civet cats. More information on coronaviruses can be found on the ECDC factsheet.

Factsheet for health professionals on Coronaviruses

3. Is this virus comparable to SARS or to the seasonal flu?

The novel coronavirus detected in China is genetically closely related to the SARS-CoV-1 virus. SARS emerged at the end of 2002 in China, and it caused more than 8 000 cases in 33 countries over a period of eight months. Around one in ten of the people who developed SARS died.

The current COVID-19 outbreak caused around 7 000 reported cases in China during the first month after initial reports (January 2020), with a further 80 000 cases reported globally during the second month (February 2020). Of these first 87 000 cases, about 3 000 died. Cases are now being detected in Europe and across the globe. See the situation updates for the latest available information. 

While the viruses that cause both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are transmitted from person-to-person and may cause similar symptoms, the two viruses are very different and do not behave in the same way. ECDC estimates that between 15 000 and 75 000 people die prematurely due to causes associated with seasonal influenza each year in the EU, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. This is approximately 1 in every 1 000 people who are infected. By comparison, the current estimated mortality rate for COVID-19 is 20-30 per 1 000 people.

Despite the relatively low mortality rate for seasonal influenza, many people die from the disease due to the large number of people who contract it each year. The concern about COVID-19 is that, unlike influenza, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for the disease. It also appears to be as transmissible as influenza if not more so. As it is a new virus, nobody has prior immunity which in theory means that the entire human population is potentially susceptible to COVID-19 infection.

Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK, as of 15 March 2020 08:00

Situation update worldwide, as of 15 March 2020 08:00

4. How severe is COVID-19 infection?  

Preliminary findings indicate that the mortality rate for COVID-19 is 20-30 per thousand people diagnosed. This is significantly less than the 2003 SARS outbreak. However, it is much higher than the mortality rate for seasonal influenza.

5. What is the mode of transmission? How (easily) does it spread?

While animals are the original source of the virus, it is now spreading from person to person (human-to-human transmission). There is not enough epidemiological information at this time to determine how easily and sustainably this virus spreads between people, but it is currently estimated that, on average, one infected person will infect between two and three more. The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale. The virus can also survive for several hours on surfaces such as tables and door handles.

The incubation period for COVID-19 (i.e. the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated at between two and 14 days. At this stage, we know that the virus can be transmitted when people who are infected show flu-like symptoms such as coughing.  There is evidence suggesting that transmission can occur from an infected person with no symptoms; however, uncertainties remain about the effect of transmission by non symptomatic persons on the epidemic.

Medical information

1. What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection

The virus can cause mild, flu-like symptoms such as:

  • fever

  • cough

  • difficulty breathing

  • muscle pain

  • tiredness

More serious cases develop severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis and septic shock that can lead to death. 

2. Are some people more at risk than others?

Generally elderly people and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are considered to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.

3. Are children also at risk of infection?

Disease in children appears to be relatively rare and mild. A large study from China suggested that just over 2% of cases were under 18 years of age. Of these, fewer than 3% developed severe or critical disease.

4. What about pregnant women?

There is limited scientific evidence on the severity of illness in pregnant women after COVID-19 infection. That said, current evidence suggests that severity of illness among pregnant women after COVID-19 infection is similar to that in non-pregnant adult COVID-19 cases, and there is no data that suggests infection with COVID-19 during pregnancy has a negative effect on the foetus. At present, there is no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 from mother to baby occurring during pregnancy. ECDC will continue to monitor the emerging scientific literature on this question, and suggests that all pregnant women follow the same precautions for the prevention of COVID-19, including regular handwashing, avoiding individuals who are sick, and self-isolating in case of any symptoms, while consulting a healthcare provider by telephone for advice.

5. Is there a treatment for the COVID-19 disease?

There is no specific treatment for this disease, so healthcare providers treat the clinical symptoms (e.g. fever, difficulty breathing) of patients. Supportive care (e.g. fluid management, oxygen therapy etc.) can be highly effective for patients with symptoms.

6. When should I be tested for COVID-19?

Current advice for testing depends on the stage of the outbreak in the country or area where you live. Countries across the EU/EEA might be in different scenarios, even within the same country, and testing approaches will be adapted to the situation at national and local level.

National authorities may decide to only test subgroups of suspected cases based on the national capacity to test, the availability of necessary equipment for testing, the level of community transmission of COVID-19, or any other criteria. As a rational approach, national authorities may consider prioritising testing in the following groups:

  • hospitalised patients with severe respiratory infections;

  • cases with acute respiratory infections in hospital or long-term care facilities;

  • patients with acute respiratory infections or influenza-like illness in certain outpatient clinics or hospitals in order to assess the extent of virus circulation in the population;

  • elderly people with underlying chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, cancer, heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, renal disease, liver disease, diabetes, and immunocompromising conditions

7. Where can I get tested?

If you are feeling ill with COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain or tiredness) it is recommended that you contact healthcare services by telephone or online. If your healthcare provider believes there is a need for a laboratory test for the virus that causes COVID-19, he/she will inform you of the procedure to follow and advise where and how the test can be performed.

Prevention

1. How can I avoid getting infected?

The virus enters your body via your eyes, nose and/or mouth, so it is important to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or cleaning hands with alcohol-based solutions, gels or tissues is recommended in all settings.

It is also recommended to stay 1 metre or more away from people infected with COVID-19 who are showing symptoms, to reduce the risk of infection through respiratory droplets.

2. What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Notify public health authorities in your area who will provide guidance on further steps to take. If you develop any symptoms, you should immediately call your healthcare provider for advice, mentioning that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

3. Are face masks effective in protecting against COVID-19?

If you are infected, the use of surgical face masks may reduce the risk of you infecting other people, but there is no evidence that face masks will effectively prevent you from being infected with the virus. In fact, it is possible that the use of face masks may even increase the risk of infection due to a false sense of security and increased contact between hands, mouth and eyes.

4. Is there a vaccine against the virus? How long will it take to develop a vaccine?

There are currently no vaccines against human coronaviruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. This is why it is very important to prevent infection and to contain further spread of the virus.

The development of vaccines takes time. Several pharmaceutical companies are working on vaccine candidates. It will, however, take months or years before any vaccine can be widely used, as it needs to undergo extensive testing to determine its safety and efficacy.  

5. Am I protected against COVID-19 if I had the influenza vaccine this year?

Influenza and the virus that causes COVID-19 are two very different viruses and the seasonal influenza vaccine will not protect against COVID-19.  

What is the current situation in the EU regarding COVID-19?

1. How prepared is Europe for COVID-19 and what is the EU doing?

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is in continuous contact with the European Commission and the World Health Organization regarding the assessment of this outbreak. To inform the European Commission and the public health authorities in Member States of the ongoing situation, ECDC publishes daily summaries and continuously assesses the risk for EU citizens. ECDC and WHO have developed technical guidance to support the EU Member States in their response. The European Commission is ensuring the coordination of risk management activities at EU level.

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