Content updated: 25 March 2020

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
  • WHO (World Health Organization) does not recommend, at this stage, travel and trade restrictions to China;
  • If you are going to China, you should follow the recommendations of the country's health authorities and the WHO recommendations, referred to in: “HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF?”;
  • For travelers returning from China who have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, during or after the trip, before traveling to a health service, they should call 808 24 24 24 (SNS24), informing them about their health condition and health history. following the guidelines that may be indicated.
If you are a traveler returning from China and have developed cough, fever or difficulty in breathing during or after your trip to China, before going into a healthcare facility in Portugal, call 808 24 24 24 (SNS24). For more information, see the official pages of the World Health Organization / For further information, go to the official websites of the World Health Organization: and ECDC / and of ECDC:
A peson with exposure associated with healthcare, including:
  • Providing direct care to patients with COVID-19;
  • Contact in laboratory environment with samples of COVID-19;
  • Visits to the patient or stay in the same patient environment infected by COVID-19;
  • Close contact or indoors with a patient with COVID-19 infection (eg. classroom);
Travel with a COVID-19 infected patient:
  • On an aircraft:
    • 2 seats to the patient's left, 2 seats to the patient's right, two seats in the two consecutive rows in front of the patient and two seats in the two consecutive rows behind the patient;
    • Traveling companions of the patient;
    • Providing direct care to the patient;
    • Flight crew who served the patient's section;
    • If a patient with severe symptoms or with a lot of movement inside the aircraft, consider all people as close contact;
  • On a ship:
    • Travel companions;
    • Sharing the same cabin;
    • Providing direct care to the patient;
    • Crew who served the cabin of the patient;
The Health Authority may consider other individuals not defined in the previous points as close contact (case by case assessment).
Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.
According to the current situation in Portugal, the use of a mask for individual protection is not indicated, except in the following situations:
  • People with symptoms of respiratory infection (coughing or sneezing);
  • People suspected of COVID-19 infection;
  • People who care for people suspected of COVID-19 infection;
In affected areas, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends hygiene measures and respiratory etiquette to reduce exposure and transmission of the disease: Adopt respiratory etiquette measures: cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing (with a tissue or elbow, never with your hands; always throw the tissue in the trash); Wash your hands frequently. You should wash them whenever you blow, sneeze, cough or after direct contact with sick people; Avoid close contact with people with respiratory infection
No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.
Treatment for infection with this new coronavirus is directed at the signs and symptoms presented.
Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019.
The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. The incubation period is still under investigation.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. In more severe cases it can lead to severe pneumonia with acute respiratory failure, kidney and other organ failure and eventual death.
No. There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.
No. The virus that causes COVID-19 and the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are related to each other genetically, but they are different. SARS is more deadly but much less infectious than COVID-19. There have been no outbreaks of SARS anywhere in the world since 2003.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Students, staff, and professors of the University of Porto who, under recommendations, decide to stay at home,  will not be punished. More info available here.
If the person has symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty on breathing) and has been retourned from any affected areas/have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, you should go to the isolation area provided by the institution and inform the person responsible. On the isolation area, you should wear a mask and call SNS24 (808 24 24 24) and follow the recommendations. After the analysis, it's mandatory to clean and desinfect the isolation area and restock the products (masks, etc).
If you are in a country with an outbreak of Covid-19 and doesn't have symptoms, you should practice respiratory higiene and maintain social distance. We recommend the self-monitoring of symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If symptoms appear, you should immediately call the national health authorities' helplines. In case of urgency, you can use the contacts provided by the International Relations Office of the University of Porto.
Since March 19, 2020, all people arriving from abroad in the northern region of Portugal (Porto included), regardless of nationality and country of origin, are obliged to prophylactic isolation for a period of 14 days from the date of entry in Portugal. If symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing appear, call immediately the National Health hotline: 808 24 24 24.
Since March 19, 2020, all people arriving from abroad in the northern region of Portugal (Porto included), regardless of nationality and country of origin, are obliged to prophylactic isolation for a period of 14 days from the date of entry in Portugal. If symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing appear, call immediately the National Health hotline: 808 24 24 24.
There are no travel restrictions issued by the World Health Organization.  You can found some recommendations for travelers on this link. People returning from affected areas should be vigililant on monitoring symptoms like fever, cough and breathing difficulties. In that case, you should call immediatly SNS24 - 808 24 24 24, and follow the instructions.
Mass events can increase the spread of infectious diseases, as COVID-19. We suggest to check the information 006/2020 provided by the Directorate-General for Health, with recommendations for public events and mass events. In this notice, you will find some recommendations for organizing events, including the structural conditions to minimize the risks of contamination. Before deciding to organize, proceed, restrict, modify, postpone or cancel the event, it is recommended that you carry out a complete risk assessment with the local and national health authorities. This evaluation can be done by the task force created at the University of Porto. Please, send us an email to, describing the characteristics of the event (for example, the number of people expected, the age and type of interaction between the participants, the duration of the event, the countries from which the participants came, health services, others).