Loss of smell and associated changes in sense of taste should now be considered a symptom of Covid-19, the UK’s four chief medical officers have advised.
Anosmia has today been added alongside a new continuous cough and a high temperature to the list symptoms that would require self-isolation.
“We are now confident enough to recommend this new measure”
Chief medical officers
The guidance was issued by Professor Chris Whitty, Dr Michael McBride, Dr Gregor Smith and Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officers of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales respectively.
They said the change to the guidelines reflected latest available evidence.
In a joint statement, the chief medical officers said: “From today, all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia.
“Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
“We have been closely monitoring the emerging data and evidence on Covid-19 and after thorough consideration, we are now confident enough to recommend this new measure.”
Meanwhile, the self-isolation rules remain the same, noted the chief medical officers.
Individuals suspected of having Covid-19 should stay at home for seven days from the onset of symptoms or longer if still have a high temperature after that time, unless they receive a negative test result.
Any other members of the household must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person became ill.
Anyone else in the household who develops symptoms must self-isolate for seven days from when their symptoms appeared.