The UK’s official Covid-19 symptoms list has been expanded to include nine new signs of illness, including a sore throat, a headache and feeling or being sick.
While many of the new symptoms have been widely reported as possible signs of the virus for quite some time, this is the first time the NHS has officially recognised them.
The new signs are listed in addition to the three classic Covid-19 symptoms previously reported: a fever, a new and persistent cough, and a loss or change in taste and smell.
The nine new symptoms are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- An aching body
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick
The release of the updated list comes just days after the government ended its free universal Covid-19 testing scheme, meaning most people now need to pay for a test to confirm they have the virus.
This is despite the fact that Covid-19 infections are estimated to have hit an all-time high in the UK, with new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggesting that almost 5 million people had the virus last week.
Some experts have warned that ending free testing at a time when the number of people with the virus is so high could lead to a further surge in infections, but others are still hopeful that the updated symptoms list could go some of the way to negating this impact.
Indeed, in a tweet posted this morning, Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the ZOE Covid-19 symptom tracker app, said he was hopeful that the changes to the symptoms list could help to reduce infections by making people more aware of the key signs.
“NHS official main symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) have finally changed after two years of lobbying and Zoe app user input – hurrah!” he wrote. “Pity they have the order wrong – but it’s a start and could help reduce infections. Thanks ZOE loggers!”
The current surge in infections is believed to have been caused by two new Covid-19 subvariants – Deltacron and Stealth Omicron – which are also thought to be the cause of China’s first deaths in a year, record numbers of infections in South Korea and a 14% jump in cases in Africa.
For more information about the new variants, you can check out our guide to what you need to know.