Information on the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Joint press release from the Department of Health of Basel-Stadt and the University Hospital of Basel.

29.01.2020 (16:15) Press Release
Department of Health

The Department of Health Basel-Stadt and the University Hospital of Basel provided information on their current assessment of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV in the Canton of Basel-Stadt. A website created by the Department of Health provides helpful information.

As of today, there are three suspected cases of the coronavirus in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, a fourth is being looked into and has yet to be confirmed. The three suspected cases turned out to be negative. Further suspected cases are expected in the coming days, and these will each have to be clarified in turn.

Cantonal physician Thomas Steffen: “It does not make sense to publish information about unconfirmed cases. If they are diagnosed as positive, the Department of Health together with the Federal Office of Public Health will communicate this quickly and proactively and take the necessary measures.” According to the Epidemic Diseases Act, the government (Federal Office of Public Health FOPH) is the highest authority in the event of an epidemic. The Department of Health is in close contact with the Federal Office of Public Health and the University Hospital of Basel.

According to the latest estimates, Switzerland and Europe are not at risk of a pandemic, since the risk of infection is currently very low. Nevertheless, the way in which the coronavirus develops and spreads must be closely monitored. The Canton of Basel-Stadt is well prepared for emergencies.

Helpful information has been posted on the Department of Health’s website for anybody who is interested in learning more:

The emergency centre and the University Hospital of Basel’s polyclinics are currently admitting extremely high numbers of patients. Andreas Widmer, Head of the Hospital Hygiene Department at the University Hospital of Basel says: “As things are now, infections in the Basel region from the new coronavirus can almost be completely ruled out. The causes are different in practically every case where the patient is suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms. We ask that the local residents only come to the university Hospital of Basel if they are in need of urgent medical attention.”

Staff at the University Hospital of Basel are trained in dealing with infectious diseases. Thanks to their experience in similar situations, their preparatory measures are completely up-to-date.


Cantonal medical duties relating to the communication and screening of the affected environments.

  • Responding to general queries from individuals and institutions regarding the current situation
  • Process reports of possible cases and coordinate the follow-on measures
  • In the event of a positive diagnosis: Quickly ascertain the affected person’s environment and network and identify all individuals who could have been exposed
  • In the event of a positive diagnosis: Talk to the contacts and hospitalize them if necessary
  • In the event of a positive diagnosis: Inform everybody in the patient’s social network
  • Objectives of the information provided by the cantonal physicians in the case of a positive diagnosis:
    • Social network (family and workplace) must be able to classify the incident
    • They must know what to do should symptoms arise
    • They must know what information to give to the medical staff to prevent the virus spreading even further.

Duties of the University Hospital of Basel with regard to communication

  • Inform the authorities about suspected cases and actual illnesses
  • Provide the press with technical information (in in coordination with the Department of Health)
  • Professional exchanges with other specialists in Switzerland and around the world
  • Information on the patients and relatives in the hospital
  • Information on the staff working at the University Hospital of Basel