Health / General Advice

Should I continue donating blood?

(02.04.2020)

It is important to continue donating blood, especially in times of COVID-19. Therefore, everyone who feels healthy and fit can and should continue to donate blood. People with signs of infection or elevated body temperature are not allowed to donate blood at this time. This also applies to people who have had contact with a COVID-19 infected person or someone who is ill with COVID-19. 
The hygiene standards in blood donation facilities ensure that donors do not have an increased risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

In Hamburg, blood donations are possible here:

Further information: www.blutspenden.de

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Which general behavior tips does the Hamburg Health Authority recommend to all inhabitants of Hamburg?

(Status 31.03.2020, 1:30 p.m.) 

The Hamburg Health Authority continues to advise to follow the advice of the Health Authority and the RKI. It is of particular importance to wash your hands carefully on a regular basis; to ensure that you cough and sneeze correctly (into a handkerchief or the crook of your arm); to reduce contact to a necessary minimum if possible; and to keep sufficient distance of at least 1.50 meters from other people. It is only permitted to stay in public areas on your own, with another person who doesn't live in your household or with members of your own household. In justified cases with corresponding symptoms and connection to risk areas, the authority advises not to go directly to a medical practice or clinic, but to call your family doctor or the medical hotline 116-117.

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How should I behave if I think I have COVID-19?

(as of May 14th, 2020, 3:00 p.m.) 

People who show symptoms like fever, cough or respiratory problems or who have lost their sense of smell or taste are supposed to call their general practitioner in the first place.

In the event that you show severe symptoms of a cold or of any other kind of disease which requires an urgent treatment or counselling, or in case you cannot go to a doctor’s practice (e.g. due to immobility), you can call the doctor call system (Arztruf) Hamburg: 116117.

The general practitioner, the infection practice or the doctor call system will decide whether you will be tested, and they are responsible for the testing procedure. They will also tell you how you will be informed about the result of your test. According to the stipulations of the RKI (Robert Koch Institute), a test will be carried out in the following cases:

  • Symptoms: If you show acute signs of the disease, like for example shortness of breath or respiratory distress (respiratory diseases) and / or have lost your sense of smell or taste, or
  • Contact: If you have had contact (within the last 14 days) with a person whose infection with the coronavirus is laboratory-confirmed and you notice any of the typical COVID-19 symptoms on yourself, regardless of their severity (www.rki.de/covid-19-steckbrief), or
  • Care facilities / hospital:  If there are clinical or radiological indicators for a pneumonia caused by a virus (viral pneumonia) and there is a connection with an accumulation of pneumonia in a care facility or in a hospital.

 The doctor will discuss the next steps with you. Once a test is done, you should absolutely avoid contacts with other people and not leave your house at all until you receive the result of your test. In addition, it is important to sneeze and cough correctly and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.

People who do not show any symptoms but have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case are supposed to call the competent health authority of their district or the coronavirus hotline of the Health Authority: +49 (0) 40/428 284 000.

Further information: Source: Flussschema des RKI, Authority of Health and Consumer Protection https://www.116117.de/de/coronavirus.phphttps://www.kvhh.net/kvhh/pages/index/p/1412

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Will there be additional testing capacity for critical infrastructure workers?

(as of April 22nd, 2020, 4:30 p.m.) 

For people working in sensitive care facilities, utility services and infrastructural facilities, who are in isolation at home, there will be additional testing capacities. For this purpose, three mobile testing units will be deployed, so that the concerned employees can be tested on the spot in concrete concertation with the companies or facilities. Tests will only be carried out on demand and through the intermediary of the employer, and cost 59,00€ per test, which the respective facilities and companies will cover. These sensitive utilities include namely the fire brigades, police, schools and child care facilities, medical, health and care facilities and public utility services.

In addition, the German Red Cross (DRK) will test residents of care facilities and nursing homes as well as the nursing staff working there. This allows to help the nursing homes to take the appropriate measures in order to protect the residents and the staff effectively. According to the second amendment of Hamburg’s Regulation in order to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, nursing and care facilities are obliged as of now to take the necessary measures in order to be prepared for an outbreak. This includes the possibility for residents of nursing homes and the nursing staff working there to undergo a complete testing carried out by the German Red Cross (DRK) in the event that an infection occurs. In addition, on demand of the respective employers, the German Red Cross also tests people working in structurally relevant professions, for example police, fire brigades, schools, child care facilities and medical facilities.

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Is there a cure for the novel coronavirus?

False reports about the corona pandemic are currently spreading at lightning speed via WhatsApp, Facebook or other social media. There are also dubious therapy recommendations with supposed cures for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. For example, people have been advised to drink the caustic bleaching chemical CDS (chlorine dioxide solution), also known as MMS (Miracle Mineral Supplement), to kill the virus. Its use as a remedy cannot be recommended under any circumstances, and its ingestion can be dangerous to health.

A specific therapy, i.e. directed against the novel coronavirus itself, is not yet available.
The treatment of the infection focuses on optimal supportive measures according to the severity of the clinical picture (e.g. oxygen administration, balancing the fluid balance, possibly antibiotic administration for the treatment of bacterial super-infections) as well as the treatment of relevant underlying diseases.

For further information, please refer to the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

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How should I behave upon returning from abroad??

Wie verhalte ich mich, wenn ich aus dem Ausland zurückkehre?

(as of April 9th, 2020, 5:00 p.m.)

People coming to Germany from any foreign country have to put themselves under quarantine for a period of 14 immediately after entering the Federal Republic. This regulation applies to all persons travelling to Hamburg overland, via searoute or by air from any other state outside the Federal Republic of Germany. Every person concerned is instructed to go home or to any other appropriate accomodation facility immediately and to contact the responsible local public health office. It is prohibited to receive any person not living in the same household during the period of quarantine.

Exceptions only apply for persons whose work consists in transporting persons, goods or products across the border, as well as for construction workers and seasonal workers, members of the armed forces or law enforcement staff coming back from a foreign mission, and staff members of aviation, shipping, railway or bus companies. In addition, the responsible authority can grant further exceptions in justified individual cases on request.

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Where can I find counseling service? 

(Status: 02 April 2020, 1:30 pm)

Counseling service for various topics and target groups: 

Victim protection

Family, children, youth

Social services

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What does an officially ordered domestic quarantine mean?

(03.04.2020, 3:00 p.m.)

An officially ordered domestic quarantine is ordered by the respective health authority in the district, for instance, after a positive test result for COVID-19 or in the case of having had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Initially, the order can be expressed verbally and later confirmed in writing by the Health Authority. Individuals in domestic quarantine ordered by the authorities must keep a quarantine diary, in which they document their state of health, symptoms, etc.

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What is allowed during a domestic quarantine?

(Status 03.04.2020, 3:00 p.m.)

People in officially ordered quarantine may not leave their private residence (flat, shared apartment, etc.) or their own property in the case of homeowners without the express consent of the health authorities. Not even for short errands. Please ask neighbors, friends or family for help with, for example, essential errands. If you need medication, please speak to your family doctor. 
If there is no social network in your area, the Health Authority will arrange for help in consultation with social services.

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When will the officially ordered quarantine end again?

(Status: 03.04.2020, 3:00 p.m.)

The public health department decides on the lifting of the isolation measures on the basis of the quarantine diary, among other things. In principle, quarantine is lifted after 14 days at the earliest for a person with a positive test result for COVID-19, provided that he or she has been symptom-free for the last 48 hours. Once the measures have been completely lifted without further conditions, the afflicted person may leave the house again. The person concerned will be informed verbally about the lifting of the isolation measures; written confirmation from the health authorities will follow. When lifting the quarantine for Category I contact persons, it depends on whether they live in the household together with one or more persons with a positive test result for COVID-19 or not. Here, the Health Authority decides depending on the circumstances.

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Where do I get my test result after I have been tested for COVID-19?

(Status: 03.04.2020, 3:00 p.m.)

You will generally receive the result of your test from the respective institution that requested the test from the laboratory. This is the respective medical practice or hospital. By calling 116-117, you will receive the test result from the competent Health Authority office for your case. The medical hotline 116-117 cannot provide test results.

The Health Authority will send positive test results as soon as possible.

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Which protective measures are taken in order to safe people with pre-existing conditions, eldery people and people in need of care?

(as of April 3rd, 2020, 5 p.m.) 

Elderly people in need of care are particularly at risk of contracting coronavirus. They are exposed to a higher risk because they develop severe diseases due to COVID-19. That is why increased protective measures are necessary for people with pre-existing conditions, elderly people and people in need of care in the broadest sense. The regulations on prevention and hygiene are listed in the Legislative Decree of April 2nd, 2020.

The measures include mandatory provisions on infection prevention and hygiene in the context of care and treatment provided in nursing homes, day-care facilities and by mobile nursing services. Thus the contact among the nursing staff as well as the contact between the nursing staff and the people in need of care must be reduced to a minimum. Furthermore, potential symptoms of the disease are supposed to be checked and documented systematically in order to detect infections at an early stage.

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Which rules apply for residential care facilities, facilities for disabled persons and child / youth welfare and care facilities / institutions?

(as of April 3rd, 2020, 5 p.m.)

Visitors are not allowed to enter residential facilities, other facilities for disabled persons as well as special forms of child / youth welfare facilities that provide integration assistance and child / youth protection in special forms of accomodation. Exceptions to the ban on access and visits are listed in the Legislative Decree of April 2nd, 2020.

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Pregnancy - Are fathers allowed to be present during their child’s birth?

(as of April 9rd, 2020, 10:45 p.m.)

The General Dispositions valid in Hamburg do not prohibit a father’s presence during his child’s birth. According to our information, the hospitals allow visits by fathers as long as these visits are medically acceptable. Nevertheless, there are also maternity hospitals that have introduced restrictions of fathers‘ visits for infection prevention reasons or based on medical discretion. This decision is subject to the hospitals‘ discretion or can be a case-by-case decision which might be definitely advisable e. g. due to the local conditions.

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Which hygienic measures and tips are recommended? 

(as of April 8th, 2020, 1:30 p. m.) 

The Hamburg Health Authority recommends to wash hands regularly and thoroughly, to respect the coughing and sneezing hygiene etiquette (eather by using a handkerchief or the arm bend), to reduce contacts to a minimum and to keep a distance of at least 1,50 meters between yourself and other persons.
Further hygienic measures in order to protect oneself and other people against infectious diseases in everyday life are e. g. provided in the Hygienic Recommendations by the Federal Office for Health Education.

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Despite coronavirus, should I consult a doctor in the event of acute health problems?

Sollte ich bei akuten Beschwerden unabhängig von Corona einen Arzt aufsuchen?
(as of April 9th, 2020, 5:00 p. m.)

In case a person is suffering from symptoms that do not indicate an infection with corona, he or she should consult a doctor and seek for medical assistance. Medical practices as well as hospitals follow the obligatory hygienic measures. Necessary visits at the doctor’s should not be delayed or postponed because otherwise the patient’s health problems might become worse. Only upcoming routine medical appointments that are not particularly urgent can be postponed. People in need of acute medical assistance should absolutely go to a doctor’s practice. In case of doubt, please contact your familiy doctor / general practitioner beforehand in order to determine the best moment for a visit in the practice.

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Do I have to wear a protective face mask?

Muss ich eine Schutzmaske tragen?

(as of April 27th, 2020, 11:00 a.m.)

As from Monday, April 27th, 2020, it is mandatory to wear a protective mask. This means that you have to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth (not medical masks) in retail shops, at farmers‘ markets and when using public transport.

Children under the age of 7 as well as people who cannot wear a face covering due to a health impairment or a disability are exempt from this obligation.

You can find lots of information about the obligation to wear a mask covering nose and mouth on our website.

The federal state of Schleswig-Holstein has also introduced  regulations for retail shops and public transport . These regulations apply as from Wednesday, April 29th, 2020.

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