What are the new Covid symptoms? NHS adds nine official signs of coronavirus as free testing ends in UK

The NHS has added nine official symptoms of Covid-19 to its list.

Until now, the UK officially recognized just three coronavirus symptoms; a new, continuous cough, fever and a change to or loss of sense of taste and smell.

The change comes after the Government ended its provision of free Covid tests.

It also comes with infection levels at a record high, following the emergence of new Omicron strains and the end of restrictions. Almost five million people are estimated to currently be infected.

Here are the new symptoms explained, and what to do if you think you may have the virus.

What are the new Covid symptoms?

The NHS now lists the following as official Covid symptoms:

  • High temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • New, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • aching body
  • Headache
  • sore throat
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • Feeling sick or being sick

The NHS says: “The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.”

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US have had longer symptom lists for some time.

But the UK had just three symptoms on the list for almost two years.

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It is understood that the Government’s chief medical officer would have needed to sign off on the expanded list of symptoms.

Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist of the Zoe Covid-19 symptom tracker app, wrote on Twitter: “NHS official main symptoms of coronavirus have finally changed after two years of lobbying and Zoe app user input – hurrah!

“Pity they have the wrong order – but it’s a start and could help reduce infections. thanks Zoe loggers!”

He had previously criticized the Government’s refusal to expand the list of symptoms, saying last month: “The Government’s refusal to recognize the wide array of symptoms and to drop isolation advice and testing is likely driving the incredible number of cases we see today.

“Many people are no longer isolating when they have symptoms, either because they feel they don’t have to anymore or because they or their employers still don’t recognize symptoms like runny nose or sore throat as Covid.”

What should I do if I have symptoms?

In England and Wales people are no longer legally required to self-isolate after experiencing Covid symptoms or testing positive. Scotland and Northern Ireland still have mandatory isolation in place.

However, the Government is continuing to advise people with Covid to stay at home and avoid contact with others.

The NHS advises: “You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.”

Previously, people were advised to leave isolation after five full days if they tested negative two days in a row, or after 10 days if they were continuing to test positive.

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However, free testing from the NHS has ended for most people.

“If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you are no longer required to do a rapid lateral flow or PCR test,” the NHS says.

If you still want to get tested and you’re not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a test yourself.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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