UK’s Official COVID-19 Symptoms List Expands With 9 New Entries

The list of COVID-19 symptoms has gotten bigger after experts added nine more entries to it this week. 

On Monday, the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) updated its list of COVID-19 symptoms to include nine more signs that could help people tell if they have contracted the novel coronavirus. 

COVID-19 Symptoms List 

The original signs of a COVID-19 infection recognized by experts in the U.K. were fever, continuous cough, and loss of smell or taste, even though the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came up with a much longer list in the early days of the pandemic. 

The updated symptoms list now includes shortness of breath, feeling tired or exhausted, body ache, headache, sore throat, blocked or runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and feeling sick or being sick. 

The public health service indicated that the newly included symptoms could be mistaken for other conditions since they are very similar to cold and flu symptoms. 

Previously, people in the U.K. only became eligible for a PCR test if they manifested one of the three original symptoms, as per The Guardian. With the expanded list, more people would qualify for PCR testing if they have the symptoms.

COVID Cases In The U.K.

England offered free testing for all until last week. The U.K. then hit a record level of transmissions, with 4.9 million people testing positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the BBC

The NHS said people should follow precautionary measures if they start developing COVID-19 symptoms. They should stay at home and avoid others if their symptoms have gotten so bad that they are unable to work. 

Tim Spector, a professor at King’s College London and lead scientist of the Zoe COVID-19 symptom tracker app, praised the decision to finally update the symptoms list after two years. 

“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,” Spector wrote on Twitter

The news comes amid the discovery of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant in the U.K., dubbed XE. It is said to be a “recombinant” of the omicron variant and the BA.2 strain. 

Based on the latest figures, XE represents less than 1% of all COVID-19 cases in the country. But it is still unknown if the newer strain is more contagious than stealth omicron

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