COVID-19 General Information

About COVID-19

COVID-19 (Novel Corona Virus Disease 2019)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). First identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the 2019-20 outbreak a pandemic.


COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

Most common symptoms: fever, dry cough & tiredness.

Less common symptoms: aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.

Serious symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure and loss of speech or movement

Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility.

People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.

On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.

How it Spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.


Protect yourself and others around you by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions. Follow advice provided by your local health authority.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention. Call the helpline Numbers provided here.

Calling in advance allows your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This protects you, and prevents the spread of viruses and other infections.

Use of Masks

Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others. Masks alone do not protect against COVID-19, and should be combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene. Follow the advice provided by your local health authority.

More on the types of masks, how to choose them, and how to wear them is available here:

COVID-19 Testing - When & How?

All individuals need not be tested, because the disease is primarily reported in individuals with travel history to affected areas or those in close contact with positivecases.

Who are tested?

All symptomatic people who

  • have travel history to affected areas
  • had come in contact with confirmed cases
  • are healthcare workers
  • are hospitalised patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) or Influenza Like Illness (ILI) or severe pneumonia

Asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of confirmed cases should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact. Direct and high-risk contact include:

  • Those living in same household with a confirmed cases
  • Healthcare workers who examined a confirmed case without adequate protection as per WHO recommendations

If you have any of the symptoms and have travelled to any of the COVID-19 affected areas or you are a contact of a laboratory confirmed positive case, immediately call the State/District Helpline Numbers or Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India’s 24×7 helpline (011-2397 8046)

The helpline service will note down your contact details and contact you with the testing protocols of COVID-19. If you qualify as a case for testing as per the protocol, you will be tested at a Government approved lab only.

List of labs (Govt. & Private) can be accessed at:



How it Spreads






Wear a Mask. Save Lives.




Protect Yourself and Others!

Follow these Do’s and Don’ts


  • Practice frequent hand washing. Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol based hand rub. Wash hands even if they are visibly clean.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with handkerchief/tissue while sneezing and coughing
  • Throw used tissues into closed bins immediately after use
  • See a doctor if you feel unwell (fever, difficult breathing and cough). While visiting doctor wear a mask/cloth to cover your mouth and nose
  • If you have these signs/symptoms please call State helpline number or Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s 24X7 helpline at 011-23978046 Avoid participating in large gatherings


  • Have a close contact with anyone, if you’re experiencing cough and fever Touch your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Spit in publicCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). First identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the 2019-20 outbreak a pandemic.


Travel Advice

Who should not travel?

People with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19 cases should be in isolation and not traveling. Anyone who has had contact with someone else confirmed with COVID-19 cases should be in quarantine and not travel. People aged 60 and over, and those with serious chronic illnesses or underlying health conditions should try to postpone travel, or take special precautions and wear a medical face mask continuously throughout the travel. Check the destination country for policies on what kind of tourism travel is allowed.

What is meant by “essential travel”?

Essential travel is travel for emergencies and humanitarian actions (including emergency medical flights and medical evacuation). It includes essential personnel (including emergency responders and providers of public health technical support, critical personnel in transport sector such as seafarers and diplomatic officers) and repatriation to a home country.

What precautions should I take during travel?

During travel, everyone should clean hands frequently, cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue, and try to maintain a physical distance of at least one metre from others. Travelers should follow the recommendations of the travel authorities regarding policies in the airport and of the airline for the flight.

Advisory for the persons travelling into Meghalaya State for official purposes:
  • Get yourself registered with the competent authority/ Department before your entry into the state.
  • Report any symptoms/ disease you are suffering from at the entry point. Any false information provided by you will lead to penalty/ legal action(s).
  • Avoid going to crowded areas, gatherings where large number of people are congested together as far as possible.
  • Person must avoid direct physical contact with any other person (like handshake/ hug) and try to maintain at least 2 metres physical distance from other people.
  • If you are to stand in a line/ queue, stand in a single file (straight line) pattern, keeping at least 2 metres distance from each other.
  • Person should use triple layer (3-ply) medical mask in place of work or in public places at all times. Discard the mask after 6 hours of continuous use or earlier if it becomes moist/ wet or gets visibly soiled. Never re-use the disposable masks. Cloth masks can be re-used after washing with soap and warm water and drying in the sun.
  • Masks should be discarded only after cutting and disinfecting it. Masks should be stored in a zip lock plastic pouch till it can be safely disposed.
  • Hands must be washed often with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or cleaned with alcohol based sanitizer (containing ≥70% absolute alcohol content). This is mandatory before/ after eating, use of washrooms, use of elevators, touching of railings, visiting public places, etc.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible. If needed, ensure proper hand hygiene before touching your face.
  • Follow respiratory etiquettes all the time. This includes covering your mouth with tissue/ handkerchief/ covered part of the crook of your elbow when coughing/sneezing. Disposal of the used tissues must be done in a covered bin only. Avoid coughing/ sneezing at or being coughed/ sneezed at by any person near or around you.
  • Don’t share your personal items with other people like clothes, towels, mobile phone, pen, etc.
  • Don’t borrow/ share bidis/cigarettes, betel nut/ leaf, chewing tobacco, etc. with others.
  • In the place of stay, ensure that you are staying in single room with separate toilet facility. If sharing the room, there should be at least 2 metres distance from your bed with other beds.
  • If sharing the same toilet facility, keep your own bucket and mug. Avoid using the toilet for 30 minutes after it has been used by other person. Clean toilet with bleaching solution (30 grams dissolved in a litre of water, prepared freshly and daily.
  • The person will self-monitor his/her health with daily temperature monitoring and report to the nearest health facility promptly if they develop any symptoms like fever, uneasiness, weakness, sore throat, cough, or difficulty in breathing, etc.



Questions & Answers

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

In addition to everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread locally and across the country and world.

Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. About 20% of those who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and require oxygen, with 5% becoming critically ill and needing intensive care.

Complications leading to death may include respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock, thromboembolism, and/or multiorgan failure, including injury of the heart, liver or kidneys.

In rare situations, children can develop a severe inflammatory syndrome a few weeks after infection

In most situations, a molecular test is used to detect SARS-CoV-2 and confirm COVID-19. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the most commonly used molecular test. Samples are collected from the nose and/or throat with a swab. Molecular tests detect virus in the sample by amplifying viral genetic material to detectable levels. For this reason, a molecular test is used to confirm an active infection, usually within a few days of exposure and around the time that symptoms may begin. RT–PCR is a variation of PCR, the two techniques use the same process except that RT–PCR has an added step of reverse transcription of RNA to DNA, or RT, to allow for amplification.

Rapid tests (sometimes known as a rapid diagnostic test – RDT) detect viral proteins (known as antigens). Samples are collected from the nose and/or throat with a swab. These tests are cheaper than PCR and will offer results more quickly, although they are generally less accurate. We are still learning about how well they perform and when to use them. In India, these tests are reffered to as RATI (Rapid Antibody Test of India) or simply Antigen Test.

Antibody tests can tell us whether someone has had an infection in the past, even if they have not had symptoms. Also known as serological tests and usually done on a blood sample, these tests detect antibodies produced in response to an infection. In most people, antibodies start to develop after days to weeks and can indicate if a person has had recent (IgM type antibodies) or past infection (IgG type). Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19 in the early stages of infection or disease. They also cannot alone confirm immunity or duration of protection from reinfection.

Both isolation and quarantine are methods of preventing the spread of the disease.

Quarantine means restricting activities and/or separating people who are not ill but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The quarantine can take place in a designated facility or at home for 14 days.

Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have tested positive.

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

Home Quarantine is intended for anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 and are required to be home quarantined to prevent community transmission.

When & How to Discontinue Home Quarantine

Migrant Workers / Students who have returned home can stop home quarantine after 14 days of and do not have any symptoms.

Even if you don't develop any coronavirus symptoms during the two-week quarantine period, you're not totally off the hook when it ends.

It is just as important to continue washing your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, avoid touching your face and wipe down doorknobs and other surfaces frequently touched by many people — to help keep yourself and others healthy.

Report any symptoms to the Helpline immediately and seek medical attention.

Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.

The decision to use masks for children aged 6-11 should be based on the following factors:

  • Whether there is widespread transmission in the area where the child resides
  • The ability of the child to safely and appropriately use a mask
  • Access to masks, as well as laundering and replacement of masks in certain settings (such as schools and childcare services)
  • Adequate adult supervision and instructions to the child on how to put on, take off and safely wear masks
  • Potential impact of wearing a mask on learning and psychosocial development, in consultation with teachers, parents/caregivers and/or medical providers
  • Specific settings and interactions the child has with other people who are at high risk of developing serious illness, such as the elderly and those with other underlying health conditions

Children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.

More on the types of masks, how to choose them, and how to wear them is available here:

Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. These people are called contacts. Contact tracing for COVID-19 requires identifying people who may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and following them daily for 14 days. The goal is to stop transmission of the virus by reducing the number of people who are circulating with the virus.

Contact tracing is a process that includes several steps:

  • Defining contacts: a contact is a person who has been exposed to someone else infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, from 2 days before to 14 days after the person started to show symptoms.
  • Identifying contacts: this is done through an interview with the person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 to find out who they have been in contact with.
  • Informing contacts: each contact should be contacted by phone or in person to determine if they meet the definition and then be monitored. Each person confirmed as a contact should be informed about the goal of contact tracing, the process (including how their personal data will be protected) and who to contact with any concerns or questions. Additional essential information should be provided on how and when to quarantine, symptoms to look for, and what to do if the person becomes unwell.
  • Managing and monitoring contacts daily: the contact person identified should be encouraged and supported to stay in quarantine, which means to separate from others in order to limit the possibility of exposing other people to infection should they become ill. During the quarantine period, daily monitoring should be implemented to monitor their health for any sign of illness. The monitoring ends 14 days after the person was last in contact with the person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Data processes and analysis: The information on each contact person is gathered in a database and updated daily monitoring on the person’s health status.

Any situation in which people are in close proximity to one another for long periods of time increases the risk of transmission. Indoor locations, especially settings where there is poor or no ventilation, are riskier than outdoor locations.

Transmission can occur more easily in the “Three C’s”:

  • Crowded places with many people nearby;
  • Close-contact settings, especially where people have conversations very near each other;
  • Confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

The risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher in places where these “3Cs” overlap.


Myth Busters - Myths v/s Facts


Drinking alcohol DOES NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous. The harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems.

The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.

* Medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are flat or pleated; they are affixed to the head with straps or have ear loops.

Thermal scanners CANNOT detect COVID-19. Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature). They cannot detect people who are infected with COVID-19. There are many causes of fever. Call your healthcare provider if you need assistance or seek immediate medical care if you have fever and live in an area with malaria or dengue.

5G mobile networks DOES NOT spread COVID-19. Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

Antibiotics work only against bacteria, not viruses.

COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and therefore antibiotics should not be used for prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for COVID-19, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

People should NOT wear masks when exercising, as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably.

Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms. The important preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least one meter from others.

Older people and younger people can be infected by the COVID-19 virus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Studies show hydroxychloroquine DOES NOT have clinical benefits in treating COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, a treatment for malaria, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis, has been under study as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Current data shows that this drug does not reduce deaths among hospitalised COVID-19 patients, nor help people with moderate disease.*

The use of hydoxychloroquine and chloroquine is accepted as generally safe for patients with malaria and autoimmune diseases, but its use where not indicated and without medical supervision can cause serious side effects and should be avoided.

* More decisive research is needed to assess its value in patients with mild disease or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis in patients exposed to COVID-19.

Micronutrients, such as vitamins D and C and zinc, are critical for a well-functioning immune system and play a vital role in promoting health and nutritional well-being. There is currently no guidance on the use of micronutrient supplements as a treatment of COVID-19.

WHO is coordinating efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19.




VANI - Virtual Assistant of NIC

The site is still a work in progress, please bear with us. Any comments and suggestions will be appreciated.