COVID-19 - Contingency Plan



NOVA University Lisbon suspends face-to-face classes

On the day that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, NOVA University Lisbon decided, starting next Monday, March 16, 2020, to suspend all face-to-face classes that have not yet been replaced by teaching through digital platforms.

More detailed information about the ongoing adaptation process will be provided by the Schools / Institutes.

In the absence of any new development, the situation will be reassessed by the University on April 13, 2020. NOVA is constantly monitoring, and with the utmost attention, the evolution of the pandemic. The decision aims to reduce the risk of contagion and safeguard the safety of the NOVA community and is taken in line with the recommendations of the health authorities, who are responsible for deciding which measures to implement at any given moment.

Attentive and vigilant as the situation in the country evolves, NOVA will regularly update the information, adapting the necessary response measures to combat the pandemic.

The main concern of NOVA is the safety of its academic community.




What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus known for causing disease in humans and are common across the world. COVID-19 is a disease causes by a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City (China) in December 2019.
The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is unlikely that they have been infected.
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever

Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune system, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

How is COVID-19 spread?

From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.
Droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes (termed respiratory secretions) containing the virus are most likely to be the most important means of transmission.
There are two routes by which people could become infected:

  • Secretions can be directly transferred into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs;
  • It is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching a door knob or shaking hands then touching own face).

How can I prevent the spread of infection?

here is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Washing your hands often – with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing. If a disposable tissue is not available, cough or sneeze to your elbow. Never sneeze or cough to your hands or to open air.
  • People who have symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty in breathing) should stay at home and should not attend work or any education, childcare or health care setting.
  • Students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
    • Before leaving home
    • On arrival at Faculty/Institute/School  
    • After using the toilet
    • After  breaks and sporting activities
    • Before eating any food, including snacks
    • Before leaving Faculty/Institute/School 
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who have the following symptoms: cough, fever, difficulty in breathing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are worried about your symptoms of you have any questions, please call SNS24808 24 24 24. Do not go directly to a doctor or other healthcare setting.
  • Check regularly for updated information.

Face masks for the general public, students or staff are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.


I recently traveled abroad. What should I do?

NOVA takes into consideration the guidelines of the Portuguese Directorate-General for Health (Direção-Geral de Saúde - SNS) and the World Health Organization on COVID-19. According to the University's Contingency Plan, all students and staff returning from an area with active community transmission of the new coronavirus, including:

  • Northern Italy (regions: Emiglia-Romagna, Lombardia, Piemonte, Veneto)
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Singapore

    must respect, as a precautionary principle of Public Health, a home prophylactic isolation period of 14 days after their return, during which they will monitor the emergence of any symptoms.

    All people in these circumstances, during that period, have to:

  • Be aware of symptom onset: fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, in them or their cohabitants;
  • Measure their body temperature twice a day and take note;
  • Wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the toilet;
  • If they or their cohabitants experience any of the symptoms above, call SNS24 (808 24 24 24).


What to do if students or staff become unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 (either through travel to a specified country/area or contact with a confirmed case)?

Please consult the document "General Procedure in Case of Detection of Suspected Cases of Coronavirus Disease".



(Information in Portuguese)

Consulte informação sobre o Plano de Contingência da Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.