'Ignoring this would be at our peril'- GPs ask Government to add these Covid-19 symptoms to UK's official list
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More than 140 doctors have signed an open letter to Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, asking for the UK to bring its official symptoms of the virus in line with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Published in the British Medical Journal, the letter says cold and flu symptoms such as a runny nose, a sore throat and a headache should be added to the list.
There are currently three key symptoms of coronavirus- a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to sense of taste or smell- according to the NHS.
The letter reads: “As GPs, we regularly review patients with mild symptoms – for example, a runny or blocked nose, sore throat, hoarseness, myalgia, fatigue, and headache – who subsequently turn out to be COVID-19 positive.”
The medics said that many patients with these symptoms have not self-isolated in the ‘crucial early days when they were most infectious’.
They also pointed out that only people with the three main symptoms are able to access an online coronavirus test through the NHS, meaning GPs often have to advise patients to be ‘dishonest to get a COVID-19 test’.
GPs said that bringing the symptoms in line with WHO would help identify more infectious cases, helping the UK ‘out of indefinite lockdown, as Covid-19 becomes increasingly endemic globally’.
“Ignoring this would be at our peril,” they added.
According to the NHS, these are the main symptoms of coronavirus:
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.