New symptoms added to official Covid-19 list

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A host of new symptoms have been added to the official Covid-19 list. 

Updated guidelines from the UK Health Security Agency contain nine additional symptoms, including a sore throat, diarrhoea and muscle aches. The original list of symptoms included fever, a new, persistent cough and loss of taste and smell. 

The new guidelines have been published as infection rates reach an all-time high and free testing ends in England. 

The list now includes headaches, shortness of breath, tiredness, muscle pain, a sore throat, a blocked or runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting and a loss of appetite. The NHS has warned that many of the symptoms are caused by common colds and says that people should only stay ay home if they have the symptoms listed above as well as a high temperature or their symptoms are so severe that they can’t work. 

Prof Tim Spector, from King’s College London, called for the official list of Covid symptoms to be expanded a long time ago. Prof Spector and a team of researchers have been tracking symptoms through the Zoe Covid app during the pandemic, which has provided valuable insight into how the virus affects people. 

The latest figures from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) show that around 4.9 million people in the UK currently have Covid. This equates to 1 in 13 people. Free testing ended in England last week and there is no longer a legal requirement to isolate following a positive test. However, the advice from ministers and health professionals is to stay at home after a positive result to prevent the virus from spreading. 

The updated guidelines show that Covid-19 can cause a wide range of symptoms. The virus can also impact people in different ways. Some people may have no symptoms, most will have mild symptoms and others will develop severe disease. High vaccination rates have helped to keep hospitalisation rates relatively low.