New COVID Symptoms on Official List

covid lateral flow testThe UK Health Security Agency has updated its guidance by adding a series of additional symptoms to the list published on the government’s website.

Originally there were just 3 recognised signs of a Covid infection in the UK:

  • Fever
  • New continuous cough
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

However, it was widely recognised from the outset that there were other symptoms and the WHO (World Health Organisation) has used a longer list of symptoms for some time.

In the UK, the official list of 3 symptoms was originally maintained for simplicity and clarity; on the basis that these symptoms were widely present in Covid cases or else caused by the virus. Other symptoms such as headache, tiredness or nausea, could more easily be caused by other issues.

Now the government’s list has been expanded to include a much fuller list of potential symptoms:

Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:

  • continuous cough
  • high temperature, fever or chills
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick

Prof Tim Spector, from King’s College London said:

“Main symptoms of coronavirus have finally changed after two years of lobbying… hurrah.”

However, the Health Security Agency now lists the symptoms as being common to COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections. In practice, it can be very difficult to tell the difference and work out what you’ve actually got. Especially as most people can no longer access free testing for COVID-19. This makes it very difficult to know whether it is coronavirus or a ‘super cold‘, which many say is worse than coronavirus itself.

The advice reads:

“The symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections are very similar. It is not possible to tell if you have COVID-19, flu or another respiratory infection based on symptoms alone. Most people with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections will have a relatively mild illness, especially if they have been vaccinated.

“If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, you are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.”

The NHS website says:

“Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and either: you have a high temperature [or] you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities”

The general advice is to get plenty of rest and drink water to keep hydrated. Paracetamol is advised to relieve symptoms such as aches and fever. People worried about severe or worsening symptoms are advised to contact NHS 111 or 999 in case of emergency.

View full guidance at

NHS guidance at

COVID-19 Testing

For most people, free COVID-19 testing from the NHS ended on 31st March. This includes provision of free lateral flow tests (LFT) as well as the PCR test. The NHS say:

“If you still want to get tested and you’re not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself.”

Private coronavirus tests, London

For those who are keen to get a firm diagnosis, The Smart Clinics is still offering a range of coronavirus testing at 3 of its London clinics. There is a choice of tests:

  1. Simple Blood Test – Abbott IgG Antibody or Roche Antibody SPIKE Lab Test
  2. T-Spot COVID Test
  3. COVID ‘Fit to Fly’ PCR Swab Test

For more information see


The importance of vaccination

The best prevention against coronavirus is to take advantage of any immunisations offered, including all booster shots. This will not eliminate the risks, but it can be expected to reduce the likelihood of illness and severity of illness.

If you haven’t already done so, book your immunisation as early as possible.

Medical advice

Those in The Smart Clinics’ medical membership scheme have ready access to our private GPs. If you’re concerned about any aspect of your health or worrying about symptoms, then we can arrange an appointment with a doctor. We offer appointments via telephone or video call as well as in person, making the service highly accessible for our members.

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