How do people protect others from themselves

Protect yourself and others

The coronavirus pandemic continues (information on the current situation can be found in the daily status report of the Robert Koch Institute). It is therefore still important to protect yourself and others from being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and to observe the so-called AHA formula.

AHA means:

  • A.Stand firm - Keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people, for example on the way to work, when shopping or on a walk.
  • HObserve hygiene - wash your hands regularly with soap and observe the hygiene rules when coughing and sneezing.
  • A.Everyday with a mask - Always wear a mask if you cannot safely keep the minimum distance of 1.5 meters to others in public spaces. There are regulations for wearing surgical masks (mouth and nose protection) or FFP2 masks (or KN95 or N95 masks) in local public transport and when shopping. From a stable (on three consecutive days) incidence of 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 7 days, the "Federal Emergency Brake" applies in the corresponding region: In local and long-distance public transport, including taxis, an FFP2 mask is then required ( or KN95 or N95 mask). The page "Lockdown: Corona rules in times of many new infections" provides information about the further regulations of the federal emergency brake. Even if you are using a mask, you should still be careful to keep your distance from other people.

When people are indoors together, another measure is important: ventilation. The AHA formula is therefore around an L, which means regular L.üften stands, expanded to AHA + L.

The Corona warning app is the digital addition to this code of conduct. It informs users when they have had contact with an infected person. Therefore, the AHA formula has been expanded to include another A for corona warningA.pp and the recommendation applies: AHA + L + A!

Compliance with the AHA + L + A formula also protects against the new worrying virus variants and should therefore be implemented consistently.

Due to the high number of new infections, the Federal Emergency Brake (4th Civil Protection Act) came into force on April 23, 2021. The regulations apply in regions with a 7-day incidence of 100 or more, i.e. if at least 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants have occurred over a period of one week. You should act particularly cautiously in situations with an increased risk of infection. According to the COVID-19 Protective Measures Exceptions Ordinance, exceptions to contact and exit restrictions as well as quarantine obligations have been in effect for vaccinated and convalescent people under certain conditions since May 9, 2021. The AHA + L + A formula should, however, also be observed by those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered. The "Lockdown: Corona rules in times of many new infections" page provides information about currently applicable rules and in which situations special care is required.

Please also note the regionally applicable regulations, which you can read on the websites of the individual federal states or your city or municipality.

Further information on how you can protect yourself and help others can also be found on the website “Together against Corona” of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Status: 05/09/2021 (# 3761)

Information on the currently applicable rules of conduct and recommendations in various situations can be found on our topic pages under "How do I behave ...".

Please also note the federal emergency brake that has been in force since April 23, 2021. From a 7-day incidence of 100, which lasts for at least three days, special regulations apply. For vaccinated persons as well as for genesis who can be assumed to have a certain immunity, exceptions from the contact and exit restrictions as well as the quarantine obligations apply under certain conditions. The page "Lockdown: Corona rules in times of many new infections" provides information about currently applicable rules. Regional and local regulations can be found on the websites of the individual federal states or your city or municipality.


As of: May 9th, 2021 (# 4149)

The Corona-Warn-App is published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for the federal government and helps to contain the coronavirus pandemic. It is a useful digital supplement to the rules of conduct according to the AHA + L formula, which are for A.hold on, Hpay attention to hygiene, im A.Wear everyday mask and regular L.üften stands. The Corona-Warn-App enriches this formula with another A for "A.use pp ": AHA + L + A.

If you have installed and activated the Corona warning app, encounters are recorded in the background while you go about your everyday activities. The app automatically collects encrypted random codes from nearby smartphones via Bluetooth, which also use the app. These random codes are stored for 14 days exclusively on the smartphones of the users concerned who have met.

The Corona warning app has been expanded to include the possibility of documenting events that several people may have been infected with in order to identify so-called clusters. Users can register their participation in an event by scanning a QR code. The organizer will provide the QR code. By “event” we mean many possible activities. It can also be about shopping in retail, events or, for example, private meetings. No personal data is recorded here either. Rather, the “events” that have been attended are saved in the app's contact diary on the smartphone. If a risk notification (warning) is issued later, it can be seen whether the risk encounter took place in connection with a specific event.

The Corona warning app also offers a contact diary with which daily encounters with people as well as the places of encounter can be documented. Keeping the contact diary can help in the event of infection to quickly identify and inform yourself of your own contacts from the past 14 days.

The Corona warning app notifies you whether you have had risk encounters with people who have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Depending on the type of encounter, a low or increased risk of infection is indicated. The app also gives you relevant information on important hygiene and behavioral rules.

If you have tested positive for the coronavirus yourself, you can have other users notified - anonymously, of course. Positive results from rapid antigen tests can also be entered here so that contact persons can be informed. The poster “Tested positive? How to share your result via the Corona warning app "describes how the corona test is registered in the app and shared in the event of a positive result so that other users of the app can be warned.

The Corona-Warn-App offers an area on its homepage with statistics and important key figures on the current coronavirus infection in Germany. There is also how many people used the warning app to report their positive test result.

You can find more information about the Corona Warning App on the topic page "Using the Corona Warning App".

In addition, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) provides answers to frequently asked questions as well as current key figures for the app (e.g. download numbers). Information in various languages ​​is available on the Federal Government's website. You can also find more information at

Status: May 12, 2021 (# 4292)

In order for a contact to be rated as a risk encounter by the Corona warning app, there must have been a risk of infection. The Bluetooth technology with which the app works takes into account, among other things, how long it has been since the user met a person who tested positive for Corona, the duration of an encounter and the distance between users. If the corresponding measured values ​​exceed certain threshold values, an encounter with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus is considered a risk encounter.

Depending on the type of encounter, the user is shown a corresponding risk of infection. The app differentiates between low and high risk and gives appropriate recommendations for action:

Status display "low risk": The user is informed that no encounters with people who tested positive for the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus were recorded or that any encounters were not above the defined threshold value. The user is informed about generally applicable rules of conduct and hygiene recommendations.

Status display "increased risk": The user is informed of an increased risk of infection because risk encounters with at least one person who tested positive have taken place within the past 14 days. The user is informed about rules of conduct and hygiene and is asked to go home or stay at home if possible and to contact the family doctor, the medical on-call service on tel. 116117 or the health department and the rest To coordinate the procedure.

Further information on the Corona warning app can be found on our topic page "Using the Corona Warning App", on the Together against Corona page of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Information in various languages ​​is available on the Federal Government's website.

Status: May 12, 2021 (# 4359)

A basic distinction must be made between mouth and nose covers (everyday masks), medical mouth and nose protection (surgical masks) and FFP masks.

Mouth and nose coverings (Everyday masks) usually consist of commercially available materials and are only intended for private use. In addition to textile mouth and nose covers, non-medical disposable masks are also available. Mouth and nose covers help protect other people from fine droplets and particles that are expelled when talking, coughing or sneezing, for example. The correct wearing of mouth and nose covers can significantly reduce the risk of pathogen-containing droplets. The protective effect depends on the density and quality of the material used, the adaptation to the shape of the face and the number of layers. Tightly woven fabrics are better suited to protecting against droplets than lightly woven fabrics. However, there are no legal requirements or technical standards for textile mouth and nose covers and non-medical disposable masks - in contrast to medical mouth and nose protection and FFP masks, whose filter properties are defined and proven on the basis of legal requirements and technical standards can usually be recognized by the corresponding markings on the packaging or on the mask itself.

A special group of everyday masks are masks that are manufactured according to the European standard "CEN Workshop Agreement CWA 17553" and have a corresponding mark as a quality feature. Depending on the category, they must filter at least 70 or 90 percent of particles with a diameter of 3 (± 0.5) micrometers.

Medical mouth and nose protection (MNS, surgical masks, surgical masks, medical face masks) as a medical product corresponds to a test standard and is CE certified. The filter properties are defined and checked. They can be recognized by the CE marking on the packaging. Mouth and nose protection provides protection for the other person from potentially infectious droplets (external protection). There is less protection against droplets that others expel when breathing (self-protection).

FFP masks (filtering face piece, particle filtering half masks) are items of personal protective equipment in the context of occupational safety and have the purpose of protecting the wearer from droplets and aerosols. Like medical mouth and nose protection (surgical mask), FFP masks must meet legal requirements and technical standards. Depending on the filter performance, FFP masks are divided into protection levels FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. In tests with aerosols, FFP2 masks must filter at least 94 percent and FFP3 masks at least 99 percent of the aerosols. It has therefore been proven that they offer effective protection against aerosols. The test standard and a CE mark with a four-digit identification number of the test center are printed on the surface of the FFP mask.

There are FFP masks with and without a valve. Masks without a valve filter both the inhaled and exhaled air and therefore offer not only self-protection but also external protection, i.e. H. they also protect the people in the vicinity of the wearer. On the other hand, masks with a valve filter the inhaled air and therefore only offer reduced protection against others. They are therefore only intended for very few areas of application in clinics.

In addition to FFP, KN95 and N95 are further protection class designations for particle-filtering half masks. These come from different countries. FFP2 is a German standard. N95 is an American standard. KN95 masks have been approved according to a Chinese standard. The filter performance of masks of these three standards is comparable.

Status: 02/01/2021 (# 4666)

Since the end of April 2020, it has been mandatory to cover your mouth and nose in certain situations in public spaces. According to the Infection Protection Act, a surgical mask (mouth and nose protection) or an FFP2 mask (or KN95 or N95 mask) should be worn on public transport and when shopping (see also question: "What types of masks are there and how do they differ?“).

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends the general wearing of a face-to-face mask (everyday mask) or face-to-face mask (surgical mask) in certain situations in public spaces as a supplement to other protective measures to prevent the spread of Slowing down COVID-19. This recommendation is based on studies that show that a relevant proportion of SARS-CoV-2 transmissions go unnoticed, i.e. H. at a point in time before the first symptoms appear or even if no symptoms are noticed. Wearing a mask is particularly important in situations in which people meet in public space and stay there for a longer period of time or cannot safely adhere to the distance rules.

You can find detailed information on our topic page "Wearing a mask in everyday life". The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) also provides an overview of the various types of masks, their properties and their intended use, as well as information on handling and care.

It is important in everyday life to implement all the measures of the AHA + L + A formula as far as possible: keep your distance - observe hygiene - wear a mask in everyday life as well as regular ventilation and use the Corona warning app. Please also note the other rules of conduct that currently apply.

Status: 04/26/2021 (# 3770)

According to the Infection Protection Act, a surgical mask (mouth and nose protection) or an FFP2 mask (or KN95 or N95 mask) should be worn in certain situations.

The protective effect of an FFP2 mask is only fully guaranteed if it is worn tightly, i.e. H. to match the shape of the face and finally on the skin. As part of occupational safety, the tight fit of the mask is therefore also ensured by a previous test. When FFP2 masks are worn correctly, there is increased breathing resistance, which makes breathing difficult. According to the requirements of occupational health and safety, the wearing time of FFP2 masks in healthy people is limited in time (see manufacturer information, usually 75 minutes followed by a 30-minute break).

So far, no scientific studies have been carried out on possible health effects and possibly also long-term effects of the use of FFP2 masks outside of the health system, for example in risk groups or children. For people with impaired lung function or the elderly, for example, health effects from the use of FFP2 masks cannot be ruled out.

If you belong to a risk group, it is best to seek advice from your doctor or health care professional as to whether FFP2 masks are suitable for you, how to handle them correctly and how long you can wear them.

Information on the correct use of FFP2 masks can also be found on the website of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).

Status: 04/26/2021 (# 4654)

In order to achieve the best possible protection, you should pay attention to good hygiene and correct handling when handling masks:

  • Before putting on the mask, you should wash your hands thoroughly if possible (at least 20 seconds with soap).
  • The first time you use it, you should test that the mask lets in enough air to prevent normal breathing as much as possible.
  • When putting on the mask, make sure that the mask completely covers your mouth and nose and that it is as close and tight as possible to the edges. An existing nasal clip should be pressed on. In this way, people who wear glasses can also prevent their glasses from fogging up.If you use medical mouth and nose protection, you can improve the fit by adjusting the ear loops, for example by knotting or crossing them.
  • Avoid touching and moving the mask while wearing it.
  • A soaked mask should be changed.
  • The best way to remove the mask is to take hold of the straps on the sides.
  • After removing the mask, wash your hands as soon as you can.
  • Store everyday textile masks temporarily in a separate bag. At home, you can also hang the mouth and nose covering to dry until it is washed.
  • Wash everyday textile masks in the washing machine at at least 60 ° C as soon as possible. Use a heavy-duty detergent for this. Let everyday textile masks dry completely after washing.

Please also note the information on private use of FFP2 masks.

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) provides further information on the use of the various mask types and on the question of multiple use.

Status: 02/01/2021 (# 4269)

Different manufacturers advertise the use of visors instead of a mask. However, according to the assessment of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), visors cannot be used as an equivalent alternative to mouth and nose covers (everyday masks), surgical masks (mouth and nose protection). or FFP2 masks (or KN95 or N95 masks).

Mouth and nose covers, surgical masks and FFP2 masks must be properly placed over the mouth, nose and cheeks and be as close as possible to the edges to prevent air from flowing past them. However, you can usually breathe freely past face visors and shields. They only serve as a splash guard against drops and splashes of liquids that hit directly.

The intended use of visors in healthcare facilities (as part of personal protective equipment and in connection with respiratory protection) is not affected by this assessment.

As of: 04/26/2021 (# 4275)

Answers on the subject of vaccinations against the coronavirus can be found in the FAQ on the subject.

Status: December 16, 2020 (# 4501)

In order to keep the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace low, a number of measures should be taken and rules of conduct should be observed. On the topic page “What should be observed in everyday working life?” You will find information about what requirements are currently placed on companies, what employees should pay attention to and what to do if they suspect an infection or if they are ill. It also gives recommendations for carefully cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) is not responsible for legal questions about occupational safety. Requirements for the technical, organizational and personal measures in companies can be found in the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS), which is available in several languages. The general occupational safety measures that are additionally required for the period of the corona pandemic and described in the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard are specified in the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety rule and placed in a binding legal framework. In addition, the federal cabinet has passed a SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety ordinance with additional measures.

The aim is to reduce the risk of infection for employees and to prevent new infections in day-to-day operations. Keep your distance, observe hygiene, wear a mask and regular airing remain important measures (see also the topic page on AHA + L + A formula).

The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) has compiled extensive answers to frequently asked questions, which specify the special technical, organizational and personal measures for various industries and work areas. The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) also provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about occupational health and safety regulations.

Status: 04/15/2021 (# 4265)

Even in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) estimates that the use of disinfectants in private households does not have any general hygienic benefits. It should also be borne in mind here that the products involve health risks such as poisoning and allergies as well as the risk of developing resistance. Therefore, basic hygiene measures such as thorough hand washing with soap and regular cleaning with household detergents and cleaning agents containing surfactants are to be preferred. These measures usually offer sufficient protection against the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through a smear infection via contaminated surfaces and hands.