Long Covid-19 emergency: UK government must act now

An alarming 1.8 million people in Britain are estimated to be living with long Covid, amounting to 2.8 percent of the population, new figures suggest.

This is up almost 6 per cent from the 1.7 million a month earlier, and includes 791,000 people who first had Covid-19, or suspected they had the virus, at least one year ago — the highest number so far, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released today.

Of the 1.8 million people who self-reported long Covid symptoms as of April 3, 1.2 million said the condition was negatively affecting their ability to undertake day-to-day activities.

The government was urged today to take control of the growing challenges posed by the new condition to businesses and public services.

“The government should be under no illusions about the enormity of the challenge this country now faces to deal with long Covid,” said Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus.

“Without action, the workforce challenges impacting businesses and public services will only get worse.

“It is essential that ministers take control by urgently increasing research funding to develop effective treatments and providing advice to employers.”

Fatigue continued to be the most common symptom reported by individuals, followed by shortness of breath, loss of smell and difficulties concentrating.

The ONS said the prevalence of long Covid was greatest among people aged 35 to 49 years, as well as women and people living in more deprived areas.

Teachers continued to be among the professions most affected by the condition, alongside social and healthcare workers.