List of Covid symptoms expanded as free testing ends

The NHS has listed nine new symptoms on its website.

The NHS website states that signs of cough and cold could be Covid-19 (PA)
The NHS website states that signs of cough and cold could be Covid-19 (PA)
Leer en Español

The official list of Covid-19 symptoms has been expanded to include nine new signs of illness.

The extension of the symptoms list to include ailments such as sore throat, fatigue and headache could help to reduce infections, one expert said.

News that the symptoms list has been updated emerged just days after the Government ended the offer of free universal Covid-19 tests.

It comes as Covid infection levels have hit a record high in the UK, with almost five million people estimated to be currently infected.

PA Graphics

Downing Street defended axing free tests on Monday, saying lateral flow spending was “simply unsustainable”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “I think we need to look at where we are in the course of this pandemic.

“We know there is relatively high prevalence of Covid at the moment but, because of vaccines, because of therapeutics and other approaches, we are not seeing it have the knock-on impact when it comes to requiring the most intensive hospital treatment.

“At the same time the provision of free tests was costing taxpayers £2 billion a month and that is simply unsustainable.”

The spokesman said ministers expect the public to use their “good judgment” now on whether to go out if they have coronavirus-like symptoms.

“I think anyone, even pre-Covid, would recognise if they have symptoms of an infectious disease something like flu they should stay home and not infect their loved ones or colleagues and it is that sort of good judgment that we expect to see going forward,” he said.

The new symptoms have been added to the NHS website, along with the three traditional symptoms of a fever, a new and persistent cough, and a loss or change in taste or smell.

According to nhs.uk the signs of Covid-19 that people should look out for also include:

shortness of breath; feeling tired or exhausted; an aching body; a headache; a sore throat; a blocked or runny nose; loss of appetite; diarrhoea; feeling sick or being sick.

A note on website adds: “The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.”

Both the World Health Organisation and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US have had longer symptom lists for some time.

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

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 (COVID-19) have finally changed after 2 years of lobbying and Zoe app user input – hurrah! Pity they have the order wrong – but it’s a start and could help reduce infections. thanks ZOE loggers!”

In March Prof Spector was highly critical of the Government’s “refusal” to recognise a “wider array of symptoms”.

He suggested that not acknowledging the wider list of ailments afflicting people with the virus, along with the decision to drop isolation advice and withdraw free testing, could have driven up transmission rates.

Commenting on the updated symptom list, Prof Spector said: “The addition of more symptoms is definitely a step in the right direction and it could help reduce infections as we go forward.

“However, whilst this is good news, I’d like to see the order of the symptoms changed, as the NHS list puts far too much emphasis on symptoms like fever, and anosmia, which we know are much less common since the Omicron variant emerged.

“According to the Zoe Covid Study, the top five symptoms being reported by contributors with a positive Covid test are runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, headache and sneezing.”

On Friday the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said an estimated one in every 13 people in England had the virus in the week ending March 26.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in