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New coronavirus (COVID-19)

General information

Current information

You can view the current figures in relation to the coronavirus in Austria here (German).

Re-naming of the illness and the virus

On 11.02.2020, the WHO announced a new official name for the illness: COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

The name of the virus was changed from  2019-nCoV to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2).

Recommendations for travellers in/coming from risk areas

Up-to-date information regarding safety risks and travel warnings can be obtained from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Case definition of SARS-CoV-2 (previously 2019-nCoV) (last updated 16.04.2020, 22:00)

Clinical criteria
Every form of an acute respiratory infection (with or without fever) with at least one of the following symptoms for which there is no other plausible cause: a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, catarrh in the upper respiratory tract, sudden loss of the sense of taste/smell

Laboratory diagnosis criteria
Direct evidence of the pathogen: evidence of the nucleic acid specific to SARS-CoV-2 in a clinical sample obtained by means of a PCR test.

Suspected case
Every person who fulfils the clinical criteria.
In the case of corresponding diagnostic results (such as laboratory parameters and/or radiological reports) and/or epidemiological evidence (e.g. previous contact with a SARS-CoV-2 case, regional virus activity in those areas where the person has been in the last two weeks), which in combination with the clinical symptoms lead to a strong reason to suspect the presence of COVID-19, cases which also exhibit clinical criteria and symptoms which are different to those mentioned above (such as vomiting or diarrhoea) should also be classified as suspected cases.

Confirmed case
All persons who have been confirmed as positive for SARS-CoV-2 in a direct laboratory test, regardless of the symptoms

Regions where it has to be assumed that there is persistent transmission of SARS-CoV-2

In the meantime, COVID-19 is widespread across the globe. The current case figures can be viewed on the websites of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). An overview of the situation  regarding the number of COVID-19 cases in Austria is available on the official COVID19 Dashboard. Regarding returning from journeys abroad, please see the applicable regulations.

If it should become necessary at some point in the future to define specific regions where it has to be assumed that a persistent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is taking place, we will publish this information here as usual.

Further information

The current risk assessment for the European Union can be viewed on the website of the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).

Supporting documents have been created by the WHO which can be viewed/downloaded from the WHO website.

Additional topical information is also available on the website of the ECDC.

Information from the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China is also available online.