Your COVID-19 questions, answered.
As part of Allianz Care’s mission to keep you well, and well informed, throughout the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we’ve answered some of your most commonly asked medical and cover related questions.
Is it true that COVID-19 does not affect children?
No, this is not true. Children can be infected with COVID-19 and it is believed they are able to transmit coronavirus, even if they do not have symptoms. Children experience less severe forms of the disease. It is important that children adhere to hand washing guidelines, cough etiquette and practice social distancing, even if they appear healthy.
Can I get COVID-19 from my pets?
There is little evidence that an animal can transmit COVID-19 to humans. To date, there has been one recorded instance where a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for the coronavirus. This is believed to be the first known case of an animal infected by a human with COVID-19.
Is coronavirus airborne?
This is an area of continuing research, however, currently there is no evidence that the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 is airborne. Coronavirus is spread via human to human transmission. When a person coughs or sneezes, the droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. When sneezing or coughing, an “aerosol” is created, which can infect others standing closer than 2 metres. Hence the recommendation of social distancing. The virus is transmitted when people touch their mouth, nose or eyes with infected hands.
Can I catch COVID-19 from someone who has recovered from the virus?
Again, this is a question which is the subject of ongoing research. Research does indicate that a person can remain infectious after recovering from COVID-19, however, it is unknown how long they will remain infectious. Estimates range from 10 days and longer after symptoms have disappeared.
How long does it take for me to become ill if I am infected by coronavirus?
The incubation period for COVID-19 is still being investigated. Estimates range from 2 to 14 days. Most commonly, people begin to show symptoms of COVID-19 around 5 days after catching the virus. Most people (about 80 per cent) will have mild symptoms and will not require hospitalisation.
Can I get coronavirus from handling groceries?
The risk of coronavirus transmission via food and food packaging is low. There is a risk of transmission when visiting the supermarket to shop for groceries, through contact with others and with high-touch surfaces like shopping carts. Adhere to hand washing guidelines, cough etiquette and practice social distancing while shopping in the supermarket. Standard food hygiene and food safety standards should be adhered to when preparing, cooking and eating perishable foodstuffs, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables.
How long does the virus live on surfaces?
Although it is unknown how long the virus which causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, it is believed to behave like other coronaviruses. Laboratory tests have shown that coronaviruses may survive for up to 24 hours on porous surfaces such as cardboard and paper, and for up to 72 hours on hard, shiny surfaces such as glass and steel.In real world conditions, the length of time a coronavirus survives on a surface will vary depending on other factors such as temperature, humidity etc.
How long will it take before there is a vaccine for COVID-19?
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. Possible vaccines and specific drug treatments are being tested through clinical trials. However, it is unknown how long it will be before there is a vaccine.
“Patients with MERS-CoV infection are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19.”
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Once you’ve had coronavirus, are you immune?
Generally, once a person has had a coronavirus they are immune to repeat infection, and initial research papers from the outbreak in China confirm this. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the immune response to COVID-19 is not yet completely understood.
Are anti-malarial drugs effective in treating Coronavirus?
Neither chloroquine nor any other anti-malarial drug has been approved for treating those infected with COVID-19. There are ongoing clinical trials to determine how chloroquine behaves in people with COVID-19.1.10 Are there any medicines that prevent or cure COVID-19?There is no evidence that any currently available medicines can prevent or cure COVID-19. However, there are medicines under investigation which are being tested through clinical trials.
About the support tools available to you
A medical helpline available day and night
Any customers concerned about COVID-19 can contact our 24/7 medical advice line. Staffed by an experienced medical team, Medi-24 provides advice in English, German, French and Italian:
+44 (0) 208 416 3929
Helpline for cover or claim related questions
Our multi-lingual helpline is available day and night, if you have questions around cover or claims.
A digital COVID-19 symptom checker
Available by clicking here.
We’re also running free webinars for our customers, where they get the chance to ask questions of our experts. To ensure you never miss any of our upcoming webinars, you can subscribe to our webinar channel here.
Support for mental, financial, physical and emotional wellbeing
Customers can make use of our Assistance Programme. Designed to help you with all of life’s questions, issues and concerns, the service is delivered by professionals who provide multilingual and confidential support.
About what you’re covered for
Do you cover treatments related to COVID-19?
Yes. All insured members are covered for treatment of COVID-19 until discharge from home or hospital for this acute event.
Have you introduced any new exclusions in relation to COVID-19?
Do you cover test for COVID-19?
Customers who have symptoms of fever and cough, and have consulted a doctor who prescribed a test are covered for the PCR virus detecting tests. Only reasonable and customary test costs are covered. Rapid antibody testing is not covered – they are population screening tests for use by health authorities to monitor herd immunity. Treatment for COVID-19 infection and any resulting complications is covered, within the limits of the policy. When you make your medical claim, please also send in the medical prescription which confirms the doctor’s suspicion that you have COVID-19.
If I go to hospital because of possible symptoms of the virus, is medical care covered?
Yes, if you’ve been advised by a doctor to go to hospital, care in the hospital and in transit (i.e. in an ambulance if medically necessary) is covered.
Do you cover COVID-19 treatments regardless of whether it’s a case of isolation or non-isolation?
All COVID-19 infections have to be treated in isolation either at home or in hospital.
Is telemedicine covered?
Yes, including reasonable and customary cost of local medication delivery.
Are telehealth consultations covered?
If you have an out-patient plan and benefit and in countries/regions where it is compliant with the local healthcare regulations, your out-patient Telehealth consultations will be covered during this emergency period, for example having a consultation via Skype or FaceTime.
Do you cover the cost of hand sanitizers and protective clothing?
No, this is not covered.
If we’re in a country outside our area of cover and can’t travel due to the pandemic will you extend our emergency medical cover for the period where we can’t travel?
Yes, to support our customers during this difficult time, emergency medical treatment outside of region of cover has been temporarily extended from six weeks to 150 days and our normal terms and conditions apply.
About evacuations and repatriations
Does COVID-19 have an impact on medical evacuations e.g. government restrictions on normal evaluations?
Potentially yes. If you are covered for medical evacuations, then this will be arranged if suitable treatment is not available locally. We have already identified Air Ambulance providers who have confirmed capability to transport COVID-19 infected patients via a negative pressure “Bubble” which they install in the aircraft. This protects the medical staff and flight personnel. However, some local governments may prohibit international evacuations and insist on local treatment. This is outside of our control. If no nearby country will accept our evacuated customer, we will evacuate you to your home country.
Am I covered for medical evacuation for a non-COVID-19 condition, when access to treatment is not available locally because the medical facility is full or overcrowded?
Yes. If you are covered for medical evacuations then this will be arranged if all of the points below apply:
- You have a negative COVID-19 test result.
- The local health authorities allow evacuation of non-infected persons.
- The receiving country accepts the evacuation of non-infected persons.
About your medical claims
Has the reimbursement of my claim(s) been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis?
In general no, however due to COVID-19 and the related quarantine and mitigation measures, some banks around the world have had issues processing payments in local currency and in some cases they may have delays. This appears to be a minor issue affecting very few countries. We will still process the payment and it will be issued from our bank account as usual but payment to your account will be dependent on the banking system in the country operating as normal. Please note that we’re temporarily unable to pay claims by cheque, however these claims will be paid by bank transfer in the meantime.
Please use our MyHealth Digital Services to submit your claims. These will be processed faster than claims sent by post, due to possible disruption of the postal service in places and the fact that our claims team is currently working remotely.
About the impact on your business and services
Are you experiencing any impact on your ability to provide services to customers?
No. Currently all of customer services are working as normal. For their own protection, the majority of our staff are working from home. They were already set up to do this, to cater for a scenario such as this, and it is working very well. We have a robust business continuity plan in place.
What are you doing as a company to help fight Coronavirus?
We’re playing an active role in the fight against coronavirus, not only through the preventative measures we’re all taking by working from home, but also in the efforts we’re making as a responsible corporate citizen.
- As well as caring for our own customers’ needs, our medical professionals have been working on the frontline, volunteering at local hospitals during their free time.
- Our colleagues in Italy have created and donated €60,164 to a crowdfunding campaign to build a new hospital in Milan dedicated to the care of COVID-19 patients.
- While in the U.S., China and Malaysia, colleagues have donated thousands of face masks to frontline medical staff.
- Our colleagues in Dublin raised €3,400 for a number of Irish hospitals and foundations, supporting healthcare workers on the COVID-19 frontline, through a ‘formal Friday’ initiative. Staff dressed up in their formalwear and sent in photos of themselves doing day to day tasks such as mowing the lawn, or vacuuming. Watch our video here.