Coronavirus symptoms: Medical Director for NHS England on new symptoms of the disease

Coronavirus symptoms include flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and sore throat, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Now Medical Director for NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, has addressed two new symptoms.

Leading ear, throat, nose and throat consultant, Professor Nirmal Kumar, said people could show a loss of smell or taste after contracting COVID-19.

At the daily Downing Street briefing, on Saturday March 21, Sky News’ Jon Craig posed a pointed question to Professor Powis about Professor Kumar’s comment.

Jon Craig asked: “A leading expert, Professor Kumar, has revealed new symptoms for the COVID-19, which include a loss of smell or taste.


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“Two of his senior colleagues have developed these symptoms and are suffering from. Are you aware of this? What actions are you taking to protect medics from these symptoms?”

In response, Professor Powis said: “Like many viruses that give infections of the upper respiratory tract, so that’s the nose and throat, there are a range of symptoms.

“The two commonest are, by far, cough and a fever.”

Defending the government’s official advice, he added that that’s “exactly why [a cough and fever] are the symptoms” people need to be aware of in regards to self isolation.

Current NHS guidelines state people presenting either a fever or a new, continuous cough need to self isolate at home for seven days.

For anybody who lives with someone displaying those symptoms (cough and fever) to stay at home and self isolate for 14 days.

The NHS defines a new, continuous cough as a symptom that appears a lot within one hour.

Specifically, it could be three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

A fever means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back – a thermometer isn’t needed for this.

Anybody showing signs of an infection from coronavirus do not need to get in contact with NHS 111.

Nor do they need to be tested for the disease while staying at home.

Answering how NHS staff, who are serving on the frontline, can protect themselves from catching the virus, Professor Powis said they should follow advice from Public Health England.


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Right now, bars, restaurants, pubs and leisure centres have been shut down.

This is the government’s current policy to help tackle the health crisis.

The idea behind such dramatic measures is to slow down the transmission of the disease.

Hopefully, this will mean less vulnerable people will be affected by the disease, easing pressure on the NHS.

Everybody is advised to abide by social distancing.

How successful this is – in terms of lowering the levels of the pandemic – will influence how long the current government measures will be in force.

Downing Street will continue to administer daily briefings on the issue.

These are unprecedented times, and nobody can say for sure what will happen in the next couple of months.

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