Government list of coronavirus symptoms is 'dodgy' and 'inadequate', says health adviser

Yahoo News UK
The government's list of coronavirus symptoms is 'inadequate', according to a government adviser. (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
The government's list of coronavirus symptoms is 'inadequate', according to a government adviser. (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

`The UK government’s current list of possible coronavirus symptoms has been described as “inadequate” and “dodgy” by a government adviser.

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Dr Nick Summerton, who has acted as an adviser to the government during the pandemic, said the list of potential symptoms should be expanded, the Sunday Times reported.

Currently people are advised to dial 111 if they have either a persistent cough or a high temperature.

But Dr Summerton said the list should be widened to include symptoms like loss of smell or taste, breathlessness, and fatigue or extreme tiredness, according to the Sunday Times.

“These two basic symptoms aren’t good enough,” Dr Summerton told the newspaper.

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The World Health Organization includes a more extensive list of symptoms, including fever, dry cough, and tiredness but adds: “Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhoea.”

The United States has also expanded its list of possible symptoms.

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Summerton told the Sunday Times that he had raised the alarm at least three times to government bosses but had “not received any response”.

He said he wanted to speak out because he was concerned that the situation could stop the UK from getting “a grip on the epidemic”.

He told the newspaper that there is a danger of people not self-isolating if they don’t have one of the government’s two symptoms, meaning they could then pass the virus on to other people without realising it.

Another issue is people waiting too long before they ask for help if they don’t have two symptoms, he said.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries has previously said the government is trying to reach a “balance between understanding the key symptoms while not confusing people”.

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