What are the new Covid symptoms?

The UKHSA has updated the official guidance to add nine new Covid symptoms to the already existing list of indicators.

As the UK moves forward with its ‘living with Covid’ strategy, free Covid tests have been discontinued in England for almost everyone, while all other precautionary restrictions have also been lifted.

While the new changes are meant to restore the pre-Covid status quo to everyday life, the fact remains that the pandemic is still active and present.

Shortly after the end of free Covid tests, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revised its official guidance for Covid to add new symptoms.

A Woman Suffering from the Covid Symptoms

The existing Covid symptoms

Since the pandemic started, for more than two years, the UK categorized three indicators as the official symptoms of Covid:

  • New and continuous cough
  • Change in/loss of smell or taste
  • Fever or high temperature

Until the recent changes to the UKHSA’s Covid guidance, individuals experiencing any or all three of the symptoms were advised to take a Covid test. In the earlier days of the pandemic, people exhibiting any of these symptoms were told to self-isolate immediately and take a confirmatory Covid test.

UKHSA’s new Covid symptoms

The new list adds nine more symptoms to the pre-existing ones. The newly added Covid symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Exhaustion or feelings of tiredness
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling (or being) sick

Long before this revision to the officially recognized symptoms in the UK, other countries, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), have had a much longer list of Covid symptoms.

New and continuous cough, loss of smell or taste, and fever were settled upon in the UK following a debate on which symptoms a person must exhibit in order to qualify for a Covid test.

A headache has been known to be a confirmed sign of Covid. However, due to its pervasiveness, the headache was ruled out as a reason for taking a Covid test.

The initially listed three symptoms were officially recognized as qualifying factors for taking a Covid test (or self-isolating) as they were either exclusively caused by SARS-CoV-2 or present in the majority of cases.

A Happy Family Living with Covid

What to do if you start showing symptoms

According to the NHS, the new Covid symptoms ‘are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.’

The current Covid guidance in England no longer enforces taking Covid tests or entering quarantine on exhibiting symptoms. However, if you do receive a positive result from a privately acquired test, you are advised to stay home and avoid contact with other people for five days from your test date.

Symptomatic people in Scotland and Northern Ireland are still encouraged to take a PCR test, while people with symptoms in Wales are advised to take a lateral flow test.

When should you stay home?

The NHS advises staying home and avoiding contact with people if Covid symptoms are experienced with a high temperature or ‘you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities.’

In such circumstances, if you must leave your home, you are advised to wear a face mask, avoid crowded public spaces, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, and frequently wash your hands.

Hands Being Washed with Soap

People at higher risk from Covid

If you are experiencing Covid symptoms, no matter how mild, it is crucial that you avoid contact with people in high-risk groups.

People who are considered to be at a higher risk from Covid and other respiratory infections include:

  • Older people
  • Pregnant individuals
  • Unvaccinated individuals
  • Individuals with a severely weakened immune system
  • Individuals with certain long-term medical conditions.


If you or somebody in your household have Covid symptoms or have reason to suspect an infection, you can now purchase lateral flow tests from VIVO Clinic.

Order non-travel Lateral Flow tests