Government Now Orders People To Self-Isolate If They Lose Their Sense Of Smell And Taste
Loss of taste and smell has now been added to the official list of coronavirus symptoms, it was confirmed this morning.
Anyone experiencing loss of taste and smell - also known as anosmia - should now self-isolate for seven days, under the new guidance.
As well as a fever and a new continuous cough, those suffering with anosmia are now eligible for a coronavirus test even if they have no other symptoms.
Up until now, a fever or a new, continuous cough were the only official warning signs for people to self-isolate.
However, the change to advice comes after a large number of patients around the globe reported experiencing a loss of taste and smell, despite having no other symptoms of the virus.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer said: "Our basic case definition for some time has been a new continuous cough or fever.
"That will change to a new continuous cough, or fever, or anosmia."
It comes after a number of ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists have been warning there could be more, less obvious symptoms of COVID-19.
Back in March, evidence compiled by rhinologists in the UK suggests that even if you have no symptoms making you feel unwell (for example, a cough or fever), experiencing anosmia could indicate you have the virus - which means you could easily pass it on.
Added to that, members of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) have been investigating the symptom since the early stages of the outbreak.
It's also believed that the Covid Symptom Study app - used by millions of Brits and run by Professor Tim Spector from King's College London - has seen many patients reporting suffering from anosmia as well as a fever and cough.
Professor Van-Tam explained that adding anosmia as a symptom could mean a further two per cent of cases are picked up. According to studies, between 13-50 per cent of Covid-19 patients experience a loss of taste and smell.
A statement from the four UK Chief Medical Officers reads: "From today, all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia.
"Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
"We have been closely monitoring the emerging data and evidence on Covid-19 and after thorough consideration, we are now confident enough to recommend this new measure.
"The individual's household should also self-isolate for 14 days as per the current guidelines and the individual should stay at home for 7 days, or longer if they still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell or taste."
Featured Image Credit: PA