The situation on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and EHMA is actively monitoring the updates from local, national and international officials.

What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that
cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe disease.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus through inhaling small droplets from infected people who cough or sneeze or through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching nose, mouth or eyes.

Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but for some, it can be more severe. The symptoms include a
combination of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain, and tiredness.

Illness due to infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. It mostly affects the elderly and those with other underlying conditions. Please note, even if you have mild or no symptoms, you can still contaminate others.

If you have symptoms, call the emergency number or phone the nearest emergency department and describe your symptoms. They will tell you the procedure to follow.

Do not go to the doctor or hospital. You could infect other people.

COVID-19 and the EU

The EU council and member states are taking the necessary steps to act accordingly. On 10 March 2020, they identified 4 priorities in the disease response:

  1. Limiting the spread of the virus with measures that are based on science and medical advice and that are proportionate to the situation in which they are taken.
  2. Provision of medical equipment. The Commission will identify initiatives to prevent shortages, particularly for masks and respirators.
  3. Promotion of research, including for a vaccine. Emphasis was placed on reinforcing research efforts.
  4. Tackling socio-economic consequences. The Union and its member states will particularly address the impact on liquidity, on support for SME’s and specific affected sectors, and their employees.

On Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the WHO officially declared COVID-19, a pandemic. Different member states have taken measures, such as closing schools, universities and restraining some or most business activities in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. The Commission and ECDC also released an information leaflet for the citizens.

On March 19, 2020, the European Commission created the first ever an rescEU stockpile of medical equipment.

On April 8, 2020, the Commission called on Member States to ensure that Europeans have access to essential medicines during the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has highlighted significant challenges in ensuring the supply of the critical medicines needed and the impact such an outbreak can have on the supply chain of medicines in the EU. Their guidelines focus on the rational supply, allocation and use of vital medicines to treat coronavirus patients as well as medicines which may be at risk of shortage due to the pandemic. The proposed actions should allow for a more coordinated approach across the EU, preserving the integrity of the Single Market whilst protecting public health. Read more here.

Updates on the latest information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the following websites:
For more information:
  • ECDC reports on public health emergency preparedness here.
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) press briefings by WHO here.
Research and Innovation

Through the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission has very rapidly mobilised new funds for research through two special calls for research projects that will address the full spectrum of needs: understanding the disease, diagnosis, vaccines, treatment and preparedness. More information here.

On March 20, 2020, the WHO announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to find out if any can treat infections with the new coronavirus for the dangerous respiratory disease. It’s an unprecedented effort—an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic. The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been designed to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of COVID-19 patients can participate. More information here.

Webinar Alert:

COVID-19: From viral to containment

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, EHMA is now launching a new webinar series, “COVID-19: From viral to containment“, on health management and the COVID-19 emergency. 

Our aim is to bring together all the stakeholders involved in health management to tackle some of the most important issues related to this global crisis. Topics will include management of primary care during the outbreak, recommendations for hospitals on outbreak control, internal procurement, and more. 

  •  The eight webinar “Health research and innovation in time of COVID-19” will take place on Friday, July 10, 2020, at 12.30 Brussels time with guest Dr. Paola Zaratin, Scientific Research Director, FISM, Italy and coordinator of the European Project MULTI-ACT.

Online Courses:

  • #OpenWHO, the free, multilingual, open-access learning platform for health emergencies by WHO, has opened a course that provides a general introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including #COVID19, risk communication, #Ebola, infection prevention & much more. More information here.

National information for all European countries on COVID-19*

Country Institute Website National Number
Austria Federal Ministry Republic of Austria: Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection Federal (+43) 800 555 621
Belgium Federal Public Service: Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (+32) 800 14689
Bulgaria Ministry of Health (+359) 2 807 87 57
Croatia Croatian Institute of Public Health (+385) 91 468 30 32; (+385) 99 468 30 01
Cyprus Ministry of Health (+357) 1420
Czechia Ministry of Health (+420) 724 810 106; (+420) 725 191 367
Denmark Danish Health Authority (+45) 72 22 74 59
Estonia Ministry of Social Affairs (+372) 634 6630; 1220
Finland Finnish institute for health and welfare (+358) 295 535 535
France Government of the French Republic (+33) 800 130 000
Germany Federal Ministry of Health (+49) 30 346 465 100
Greece National Public Health Institute of Greece (+30) 210 521 2054
Hungary Hungarian Government (+36) 80 277 455; (+36) 80 277 456
Iceland Directorate of Health (+353) 1850 24 1850**
Ireland Health Service Executive (+353) 1850 24 1850**
Italy Ministry of Health (+39) 1500
Latvia Centre for the Prevention and Control of Diseases (+371) 67387661
Liechtenstein Government of Liechtenstein (+423) 230 30 30
Lithuania Ministry of Health (+370) 8 618 79984
Luxembourg Ministry of Health (+352) 8002 8080
Malta Government of Malta (+356) 21324086
Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (+31) 800-1351
Norway Norwegian Institute of Public Health (+47) 815 55 015
Poland Government of Poland (PL) (EN)

(+48) 800 190 590
Portugal Ministry of Health (+351) 808 24 24 24
Romania Ministry of Health (+40) 800 800 358
Slovakia Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic (+421) 917 222 682
Slovenia Government of Slovenia (+386) 31 646 617, 080 1404**
Spain Government of Spain See regional numbers:
Sweden Public Health Agency of Sweden (+46) 113 13
Switzerland Federal Office of Public Health (+41) 58 463 00 00
UK Government of UK 111** (dialled from UK)

* Information retrieved from ECDC.

* * numbers dialled only from the respective country