Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Coronavirus – Questions and Answers

  • How can I protect myself from infection?

    Employees and students should contribute to protecting themselves and others from infectious diseases such as coronavirus by consciously applying simple hygiene measures in everyday life.

    In principle, the same recommendations apply as for protection against a viral flu. These include in particular the observance of hygiene rules such as regular, thorough hand washing, not shaking hands or hugging, avoiding coughing or sneezing. Rooms should always be well ventilated and handkerchiefs should be disposed of in the rubbish immediately after use. Keeping an appropriate distance of about one to two metres from people with respiratory diseases also protects against transmission of the novel corona virus.

    In the non-medical sector, the following applies: Thorough hand washing with normal soap practically completely inactivates corona viruses. The provision of hand disinfectant at the HU is therefore not a priority.

  • What are the symptoms?

    Like other pathogens of respiratory diseases, an infection with the coronavirus can lead to symptoms such as cough, sore or scratchy throat and fever. Some suffer also from diarrhoea. The risk of a severe course with acute respiratory problems and pneumonia is particularly high for people with a weakened immune system.

    Persons who have had close contact with a person in whom the novel virus has been detected in the laboratory, or who have been in a risk area, should avoid contact with other people and contact the responsible health authority immediately.

  • If parents have children who are unsupervised because day care facilities and primary schools have closed due to COVID-19, what should they do?

    Please try to use any family supervision possibilities. Here as well the presumed duration will not be more than 14 days and for this reason liberal use can be made of home-office options. Time credits should be applied. If no other options are available, paid leave should be granted. Staff should maintain regular contact with their supervisors.

  • Where can I get further, up-to-date information about the coronavirus?

    Since 28 January 2020, the Senate Department for Health, Care and Gender Equality has had a hotline to advise residents and guests of Berlin:

    +49 30 9028 2828
    Daily from 8am to 8pm

    Public Insurance Emergency Services can be reached at the following number:

    + 49 116 117
    Daily from 8am to 12pm

    The Federal Ministry of Health’s hotline for the coronavirus:

    +49 30 346 465 100
    Monday through Thursday from 8am to 6pm, Friday from 8am to 12am

    The Berlin Senate Health Department recommends an evaluation if:

    • You have been in a risk area in the past 14 days,
    • You have had contact with a person in a risk area,
    • Or you have had contact with an infected person.
  • Can I travel to COVID risk areas?

    If you have plans to travel to COVID risk areas, we urgently request that you postpone them. At Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, official travel to these areas continues to be prohibited until further notice.

    The risks areas are currently:

    • In China: Hubei province (including the city of Wuhan)
    • In Iran: Ghom province, Teheran
    • In Italy: South Tyrol, Emilia-Romagna region, Lombardy region, and the city of Vo in the Padua province in the Veneto region.
    • In South Korea: Gyeongsangbuk-do province (North Gyeongsang).
  • What about HU staff and students who are currently in risk areas?

    The university leadership suggests that staff and students in risk areas return to Germany immediately. You should contact the responsible health department before your departure.

    You can find the state information centres of the responsible health departments here.

    In addition, staff are required to report to their supervisors and provide information prior to returning or at the latest immediately after arriving in Berlin.

  • What should people who have recently spent time in risk areas do?

    People who have recently returned to Germany from a risk area are advised to remain at home for 14 days as a precaution and to inform the responsible health department.

    This recommendation is in place for the duration of the (partial) travel warning of the Foreign Office. If study progress or scientific projects are jeopardised by the voluntary quarantine, then supervisors and advisors can be contacted per email or telephone in order to work out a solution.

    Whenever reasonably possible, all forms of home office can be used. Time credits should be applied. If no other options are available, paid leave should be granted. Staff are requested to contact their supervisors on a regular basis.

  • Can students and guests from risk areas currently travel to Humboldt-Universität?

    Exchange students and recently admitted students who are currently in risk areas and plan to travel to Berlin are urgently requested to postpone their trip until further notice. Guests of Humboldt-Universität are also requested to postpone their travel.

  • Do I have to inform anyone before travelling?

    There is currently no central compendium about which persons are outside of Germany on official business. For this reason, we urgently request that before departing you leave travel and contact information with the appropriate offices (e.g., institution or faculty administration, department heads).

  • What about travel plans to other areas?

    Trips to other areas should also be subject to the following considerations and precautions should be taken:

    Urgency of the travel

    • Is the trip mandatory? Are there alternatives (telephone conversations, video conferences)? Is a postponement or cancellation possible? Are event organizers considering cancelling the event themselves?

    On-site conditions

    • Information about entry and exit conditions, consultations and communication with event organizers and contact persons on site, updates on possible border closings and quarantine measures, prohibitions, government requirements and restrictions on daily life (wearing protective equipment, health checks, medical cards). Furthermore, no official travel should be undertaken if travellers are suffering from typical cold symptoms (fever, coughing, breathing difficulties, etc.)