Boris Johnson must take into account the “untold human suffering” of long Covid as he eases lockdown restrictions after having “largely overlooked” the long term impacts of the disease during the pandemic, a group of politicians has said.
The cross-party group of more than 65 MPs and peers warned that long-term measures must be in place to control the virus and it would be “unforgivable to make the same mistake again”, as England’s Covid restraints begin to lessen.
It is estimated that more than a million people in the UK are suffering with the extended effects of a coronavirus infection, with symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
The group of politicians, including Tory MP Dr Dan Poulter, issued the fresh warning in a letter to the Prime Minister.
“The impact of this condition and the untold human suffering it causes must be properly taken into account when decisions are being made to lift restrictions and introduce long-term measures to contain the spread of the virus,” they said.
“Those suffering from long Covid were largely overlooked during the first and second waves in this pandemic. Given what we now know about this condition, it would be unforgivable to make the same mistake again.”
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has noted that while vaccines are expected to keep deaths down, it is unclear whether they will have an impact on long Covid.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock cited the dangers of long Covid on Thursday as a reason why young people should come forward for a vaccine even if they have concerns of side effects.
“I would say that the risk of severe consequences from long Covid are very significant for young people,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“The likelihood of you getting long Covid is more or less the same in all age groups and can be debilitating, it can impact your mental health, it can make it very difficult to do any physical activity for months.”
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who arranged the letter and chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, noted the Prime Minister has promised to be “guided by data not dates”.
“That must include publishing regular figures on long Covid cases and factoring them into the Government’s road map out of the current lockdown,” she added.
Additional reporting by PA
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies