The new coronavirus can be dangerous for people over 65, pregnant women and adults with certain pre-existing conditions. They may become seriously ill. What should they pay attention to?
Who is considered to be at especially high risk
Many people who fall ill with the new coronavirus get well again. But the virus is particularly dangerous for the following groups of people, as they risk contracting a severe case of the disease:
People over the age of 65
Adults with the following underlying medical conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic respiratory diseases
- Conditions and therapies that weaken the immune system
- Obesity class III (morbid, BMI greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2)
The document entitled Categories of persons at high risk (PDF, 207 kB, 12.08.2020) contains a continually updated list of who is considered to be at especially high risk based on the latest scientific findings.
If you are unsure whether you are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill, please contact your doctor.
The fact sheet entitled New coronavirus: Recommendations for people with underlying medical conditions (PDF, 353 kB, 22.10.2020) offers further information for people at especially high risk. It also provides details of support services available to help those affected manage their illness in the current situation.
For information on the topic of pregnancy and coronavirus, visit our page Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Children and young people
The risk of children developing severe cases of COVID-19 is low. According to current medical research and experience, children are not considered to be an at risk group requiring additional protective measures. However, evaluations are made on a case-by-case basis by the attending doctor.
How to protect yourself
The best way to protect yourself from infection is to carry on observing the rules on hygiene and social distancing. The recommendations are as follows:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water.
- Keep your distance from other people (at least 1.5 metres).
- Observe the requirement to wear a mask on public transport.
- Follow the rules on hygiene and social distancing, even when meeting friends or family, e.g. not using the same cutlery to serve food and not drinking from the same glass, etc.
- Avoid places frequented by large numbers of people (e.g. railway stations, public transport) and peak times (e.g. shopping on Saturdays, commuting). If you do find yourself in places frequented by large numbers of people and are unable to keep the necessary distance, we recommend you wear a face mask.
You will find information on the protection of employees under Measures and ordinances.
What to do if you experience symptoms
If you experience symptoms such as a cough (usually dry), sore throat, shortness of breath, a high temperature, feverishness, muscle ache or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell, call your doctor or a hospital immediately, even at the weekend. Describe your symptoms and state that you are in a high-risk group.
Visits to care homes
Residents of old people's homes and nursing homes are among those at especially high risk. They should therefore be protected against infection as far as possible. Visits to homes and outings outside the institutions should, however, be possible in principle.
Contact the institutions directly to find out about special precautions, social distancing rules and visiting times.
Progression of the disease and COVID-19 care pathways
You can find information on the possible course of disease progression under Disease, symptoms, treatment.
Are you worried about becoming infected with the new coronavirus and what might happen if the case were to take a serious turn? Various umbrella organisations in the health sector have compiled a fact sheet with useful information about the infection and possible care pathways.
Last modification 27.08.2020