Current Information Concerning the Coronavirus

Dear guests and partners of the OPS2020,

As organizers of the Online Print Symposium we are very concerned about your well-being. In times like these, this also means that we are constantly monitoring the effects that the coronavirus may have on our event. The assessment of the situation for the event is adjusted daily on the basis of reports from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care, to include new information. The Bavarian State Ministry currently recommends good hand hygiene and the observance of coughing and sneezing etiquette to protect against transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Background and News

Since December 2019, several cases of the respiratory infection have occurred in the Chinese city of Wuhan. In the course of an investigation, an infection of a new type of coronavirus was detected.

On February 26, 2020, the Bavarian Ministry of Health informed the public regarding the current development of cases of the novel coronavirus in Bavaria. A spokesperson of the ministry announced in Munich that according to the State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL), no new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Bavaria. Thus, there have been a total of 14 confirmed coronavirus cases in Bavaria so far. Of these, only one case is still in the Munich Schwabing Clinic.

On January 27, 2020, a coronavirus case was confirmed in Bavaria for the first time. The total number of reported cases in Bavaria is 14 (as of 02.26.2020, 15:00). Nine patients were work colleagues and another five cases affected persons living within the same household of the aforementioned patients. The virus was transmitted by a Chinese work colleague who in turn presumably contracted the disease from her parents who live in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The risk for the population in Bavaria to become infected with the novel coronavirus is currently considered low by the “Task Force Infectiology” of the LGL and the Robert Koch Institute.

How can you protect yourself from infection?

As with influenza and other respiratory illnesses, adherence to the coughing and sneezing etiquette, good hand hygiene, and distance from the sick (about 1 to 2 meters) can protect against transmission of the novel coronavirus. These measures are advisable everywhere and at all times, also in view of the wave of influenza.

Is there a risk of infection with the novel coronavirus via imported food, surfaces or objects?

Coronaviruses, which can cause respiratory infections, are usually transmitted via secretions of the respiratory tract. If these infectious secretions reach the hands, for example, which then touch the face, transmission could occur in this way. Good hand hygiene is therefore an important part of prevention.

However, transmission via inanimate surfaces has not yet been documented. An infection with the novel coronavirus via surfaces that do not directly correspond to the environment of the infected person, such as imported goods, mail or luggage, therefore seems unlikely. In general, thorough hand washing is an important part of personal hygiene and can protect against a variety of other infectious diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders.

Does it make sense to wear a mouth and nose protector in the general population to protect against acute respiratory tract infections?

If a person suffering from an acute respiratory tract infection must move about in public places, it may be useful for this person to wear a mouth and nose protector (e.g. a surgical mouthguard) to reduce the risk of infecting other people with droplets that are produced when coughing or sneezing (foreign protection).

However, there is not sufficient evidence that wearing a mouthguard reduces the risk of infection for a healthy person wearing it. According to the WHO, wearing a mask may create a false sense of security in situations where it is not recommended. This can lead to neglect of key hygiene measures such as good hand hygiene.