Loss of sense of smell or taste have been added to the official list of coronavirus symptoms in the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care said Monday.
A government statement said “from today all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia.”
Anosmia refers to the loss of or changes in a person’s sense of smell. According to the department of health, “it can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.”
The Chief Medical Officers for the four nations of the United Kingdom endorsed this expansion of symptoms, saying that they “have been closely monitoring the emerging data and evidence on Covid-19 and, after thorough consideration… are now confident enough to recommend this new measure,” the statement said.
Anosmia emerged as a potential Covid-19 symptom in March, when doctors in the United States called forit to be added to the “list of screening tools” for Covid-19.
Around the same time, ENT UK, a professional organization representing UK ear, nose and throat surgeons, said in a statement on its website that anosmia could be another symptom of infection with the virus.
Up to 70,000 cases could have been undiagnosed: The announcement comes after the head of the UK’s coronavirus symptom app, Professor Tim Spector, criticized the government’s failure to expand their list of symptoms. Spector estimated that an additional 50,000-70,000 cases in the UK have gone undiagnosed due to the lack of recognition of other symptoms such as anosmia.