What are the most common symptoms?

The onset of upper respiratory symptoms (sore throat, dry cough) is often preceded by gastroenterological symptoms (nausea, diarrhea). Typical symptoms are fever, depression, muscle pain, loss of smell and taste, headache, shortness of breath. If you experience any combination of the above symptoms, contact your GP by phone.

What to do if you experience symptoms? (general public)

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, do not meet other people, stay at home and contact your GP by phone.

What to do if you experience symptoms and you are a Semmelweis citizen (employee, student)?

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, do not meet other people and do not enter the premises of the university. Semmelweis University provides free PCR testing for staff and students. Please notify your employer as soon as possible, and as a student, follow the instructions sent in Neptun to find out where and when you will have a PCR test and how to book an appointment. If you have further questions, send an email to info.corona@semmelweis-univ.hu. Employees and students can also call the information line at +36 20 825 0000 during working hours (Monday-Thursday: 8-16, Friday:8-14:30).


The patient may be infectious 2 days before the onset of symptoms and 2 days before giving a positive PCR test. The virus can be detected in the infected person with high accuracy 5 to 7 days after infection/contact.


High risk contacts (close relationship):

  • A person living in the same household with the person infected with COVID-19;
  • A person who has been in direct physical contact with a COVID-19 patient e.g. by shaking hands;
  • A person who has been in contact with the infectious secretions of a COVID-19 patient without using protective equipment, e.g. someone who has been coughed on or touched a used tissue with bare hands;
  • A person who has got into personal contact with a COVID-19 patient (less than 2 metres of distance for a time longer than 15 minutes, e.g. eating together, having a coffee, smoking);
  • A person staying in a confined space with COVID-19 infected person (less than 2 metres of distance for a time longer than 15 minutes, e.g. school classroom, office meeting, hospital waiting room);
  • A healthcare worker involved in the direct care of a COVID-19 patient without the use of the required personal protective equipment or a laboratory worker who treated samples of a COVID19 patient in the same way;

Low risk contacts (occasional, short contact):

  • A person staying in an enclosed space with a COVID-19 infected person for less than 15 minutes or outside a distance of 2 meters;
  • A person traveling together with a COVID-19 infected person on any means of transport while wearing a mask.

How can you protect yourself from the infection?

Keep distance from others (1.5-2 metres of distance is recommended except in case of those living in the same household with us), avoid large-scale events where you can get into close contact with others. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and running water for 30-40 seconds or clean your hands with alcohol based hand sanitizer. It is recommended to wash or disinfect your hands every half hour in all cases when you meet several people (e.g. at work, at school, in shops or while travelling). Wash or disinfect your hands as soon as you arrive at work or return home, before meals, after sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose and before and after contact with patients.

A video on proper hand washing is available here →

  • If you are away from home, indoors, or where you can meet several people, wear a multi-layered, washable textile mask covering both your nose and mouth  (A guide to homemade masks is available here →)
  • Do not otuch your eyes, mouth and face without washing your hands
  • Air the room regularly
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly (e.g.: tables, door handles, swithches, toilets, taps, sinks, remote controls, mobilephones
  • Wash the exposed textiles at a minimum temperature of 60 °C
  • Perform daily disinfection on toys and tools used by children
  • Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces!
  • If possible, reduce or eliminate contact with people who show gastroenterological or upper respiratory symptoms

How to take care of your environment?

If you are ill, do not go to work and do not allow your children go to school or kindergarten. When coughing or sneezing, use disposable tissues which should be discarded immediately after use. If you do not have a tissue, do not cough or sneez into the palm of your hand but into the crook of your arm. Wear a mask and keep a polite distance (1.5m – 2m) from others.

  • If you are ill, keep your distance from others
    • Avoid close physical contact with others
    • Use a separate toilet and sink, if possible. If it is not possible, disinfection is recommended after every use
    • Use separate tablewear
    • Use separate towels

What test shows if you have gone through the infection?

Serological, or blood test is required to determine, whether a person has gone through the infection even without having symptoms.

What test show if you are infected with the coronaviru?

The so-called PCR testing is the most reliable way to screen for the virus that as this test is able to detect the hereditary material of the virus.

What is PCR testing?

PCR testing is able to detect the hereditary material of the virus. Qualified professionals take samples from the patient’s airways (pharynx and nose) with a sampling stick, place it in a special tube and detect the presence of the virus with special genetic tests. The procedure is inconvenient for a few seconds but it causes no pain. It is important that sampling is performed by a trained professional, the necessary sample cannot be taken by the patients themselves.

What should be taken into account before PCR testing?

Do not eat 2 hours before the screening but you can drink water directly before testing.

Where can PCR testing be requested? What should be taken into consideration when choosing paid services?

It is recommended to choose a sampling site where testing is performed by qualified professionals and sampling is carried out by trained staff. Semmelweis University also offers paid services, see at the bottom of the page.

When is it worth having a PCR test done?

  • If you have been in close contact with a person who is confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (see above: high risk contact)
  • If you experience upper respiratory symptoms after gastroenterological symptoms
  • In case of the onset of the loss of taste and smell, fever or gastroenterolocial/upper respiratory symptoms
  • In case of fever, depression and deteriorating condition

Where can you request screening as a Semmelweis citizen (employee, student)?

In justified cases, the employer may request PCR screening at the Clinical Centre at the provided contacts. Students have to follow the instructions sent to them in the Neputn system.

Where can the screening be requested (general population)?

Semmelweis University performs 1,000 – 2,000 free PCR screenings daily, testing patients, employees, students and inpatients who are associated with the potential to form airway aerosols during procedures or examinations, e.g. intubation, bronchoscopy, etc. In addition the screening of the parents of inpatient children is also provided by the university. If you are not sure whether you or your child need PCR testing before the procedure, please ask your doctor.

Paid services at Semmelweis University

In addition to the above, Semmelweis University, as a designated laboratory, is one of the institutions in the capital where the conditions for paid screening services have to be provided. This allows anybody to book paid coronavirus screening services. However, the university can only accept those who book their appointments in advance within working hours and arrive on time.

The university’s screening points are the following:

Semmelweis University, Városmajor Heart and Vascular Centre
Book your appointment: +36 1 458 6812/ext. 6817; ambulancia@kardio.sote.hu
Office hours: 10:00 – 12:00 on workdays 

Semmelweis University, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Book your appointment: +36 20 825 9600
Office hours: 8:00-11:00 on workdays

Semmelweis University, Department of Pulmonology
Book your appoitment: +36 20 666 3220
Office hours: 10:00 – 11:00 on workdays

Appointments for screening can only be requested in office hours.

Where can you get your PCR results?

The lab results are entered into the Electronic Health Service Space (Elektronikus Egészségügyi Szolgáltatási Tér, EESZT) system, which can be accessed through the customer portal and your GP can help you access the information. It is also possible to send the results to a previously provided email address in case you requested it and provided oral consent at patient admission prior to testing.

What to do if the PCR test result comes back positive?

If your PCR test is positive, the first and most important thing to do is to stay at home, do not go out and isolate yourself. The microbiology laboratory reports the results ot the National Centre for Public Health. According to the current procedure of the Centre, the patient is considered recovered if he has not had a fever for at least 3 days, there are no respiratory symptoms and at least 10 days have passed since the onset of the symptoms. The isolation of asymptomatic infected patients can be resolved on day 10 after the confirmation of the infection.

Further information: https://koronavirus.gov.hu/