Banbury man with new variant Covid calls on government to update coronavirus site to include the different symptoms

A man in the Banbury area has expressed shock that the Government has not updated its Coronavirus symptoms to include the new variant from which he is suffering.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 1st February 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:10 pm
Coronavirus which has killed over 100,000 people across the country. A Banbury man is calling for the official list of symptoms to be updated on the Gov.uk website. Picture by Getty
Coronavirus which has killed over 100,000 people across the country. A Banbury man is calling for the official list of symptoms to be updated on the Gov.uk website. Picture by Getty

The man, who does not want to be identified, has joined a chorus of people - including some doctors - in calling on Public Health England to list the symptoms known to indicate that a patient potentially has the highly-infectious new variant of Covid-19, also known as B117 or VUI 202012/0.

He says that because there was no information about the new symptoms, he and his wife did not self-isolate when they should have.

The man contacted the Banbury Guardian and said: "My wife and I both had Covid-19 early last summer. She went to the Banbury testing centre some days ago to have a test and 36 hours later received two emails. One told her her test was negative; the other said she had been in close contact with someone at the centre who had been confirmed positive.

"We both went down with headaches and aches. As the symptoms are different with the new variant, as publicised last week, we initially thought we’d caught something else. But I still have symptoms which come and go - an intermittent cough, headaches, dizziness, weakness, muscle aches and a long-lasting sore throat.

"The Irish Times did a story about two weeks ago with Irish GPs describing very similar symptoms. Unfortunately the NHS site is still showing the old symptoms."

Symptoms for the new variant also include sore eyes. The man said he was eating bananas, thought to be a good supplement for those with Covid-19, and avoiding dairy products, which cause the body to create mucus.

The BMJ released an article last week which said: "People infected with the new variant of Covid-19 discovered in the south east of England (known as B117 or VUI 202012/01) are more likely to have a cough, sore throat, fatigue, or myalgia than those infected with other variants, the Office for National Statistics has reported.

"The data, published 27 January, also show that people with the new variant are less likely to experience a loss of sense of smell or taste. These findings have prompted some doctors to call for the official Covid-19 symptom list to be reviewed and potentially expanded—something that has not happened since May 2020. The UK government currently advises that people get tested for covid-19 if they have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste."

A Department of Health and Social Care Spokesperson said: “An expert and independent scientific group keeps the list of symptoms of Covid-19 under constant review as our understanding of the virus continues to evolve.

“Anyone experiencing the main symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible.”

The spokesman said: "Since the start of the epidemic we have acknowledged that Covid-19 has a much longer list of symptoms than the ones we use in the case definition.

"The symptoms promoted are those that capture those most likely to have Covid-19, while not capturing a great number of people who do not. The expert group identifies the most appropriate balance of symptoms.

"We have launched community testing to help stop the spread of the virus. The identified symptoms serve a specific purpose. Hence why if you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus you must stay at home and get a test.