In December 2019, following an accumulation of respiratory diseases with an unclear cause, a novel coronavirus was identified in China (province of Hubei), initially named 2019-nCoV. Genome analyses showed a close relationship with the SARS virus discovered in 2002. Since February 2020, the virus is therefore called SARS-CoV-2 (= Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2). The disease caused by the virus is called COVID-19 (= Coronavirus Disease 19). To replicate, spike proteins of the virus bind to receptors on the host cell surface (ACE2). SARS-CoV-2 also requires the body's own protease TMPRSS2 to enter human host cells. The new coronavirus is mainly transmitted by droplet infection and can enter the body via the respiratory tract, eyes, mouth and nose. The virus primarily affects the respiratory tract, but can also cause damage to other organs. Even people without symptoms or with a mild course of the disease can transmit the virus.
You can find up-to-date information and behaviour rules concerning COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 here: