Clinical experts have for the first time identified the 28 common symptoms of long Covid, including breathlessness, fatigue, joint pain and dizziness.
The signs of long Covid had, up to this point, remained an elusive subject for medics - they had largely been based on patients' narratives on the symptoms they suffered after contracting Covid-19.
But for the first time, a conclusive list of signs indicating the long-term effects of coronavirus has been published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Long Covid, although not a medical term, is the name applied so far by experts grappling with the issue of longer-term effects of coronavirus.
The latest official guidelines in Britain use two definitions: people may have “ongoing symptomatic Covid-19” if symptoms persist from four to 12 weeks, and could have “post-Covid-19 syndrome” if they do not resolve after 12 weeks.
The symptoms of long Covid are highly variable and wide ranging - the most common 28 symptoms include (but are not limited to) the following:
Cognitive impairment ('brain fog', loss of concentration or memory issues)
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms (pins and needles and numbness)
Delirium (in older populations)
Anorexia and reduced appetite (in older populations)
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of anxiety
Ear, nose and throat symptoms
Loss of taste and/or smell
The Office for National Statistics published figures on Wednesday examining long Covid, finding that a fifth of people have symptoms for five weeks or more while around one in 10 are affected for 12 weeks or more.
Overall, around 186,000 people in private households in England in the week beginning November 22 were living with Covid-19 symptoms that had persisted for between five and 12 weeks, the ONS said.
When looking at symptoms among people, five weeks after they had tested positive for Covid-19, the ONS estimated that 11.5% of respondents were still experiencing fatigue, 11.4% had a cough and 10.1% had a headache.
England now has 69 clinics to address long Covid, harnessing doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to offer physical and psychological assessments and refer patients to the right treatment and rehabilitation services.
A further 12 sites are due to launch in January.