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18 May 2020, 11:37 | Updated: 18 May 2020, 11:38
People who have lost their sense of smell and taste should self-isolate, says new NHS guidelines.
After months of speculation that loss of smell and taste could be a symptom of COVID-19, the NHS has finally added this to their list of coronavirus symptoms.
England's deputy chief medical officer announced on May 18 that loss of smell and taste are now officially symptoms of the deadly virus, and so people who are suffering from both or either should self-isolate for seven days, while their family should remain indoors for 14 days.
People who have lost their sense of smell and taste, also known as anosmia, will also be able to get tested for COVID-19.
Prior to this addition to the official NHS coronavirus symptoms, only fever and a dry cough were reasons for self-isolating and testing.
Deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, said today: "Our basic case definition for some time has been a new continuous cough or fever.
"That will change to a new continuous cough, or fever, or anosmia."
He went on: "The reason for making the change now is that there has been a signal around the importance of anosmia as a symptom of Covid for a while now.
"It’s been important to continue to look at that and be sure that we consider it and introduce it at the right time when we think it’s going to make a difference to how we pick up cases.
"But let's be clear, this has been quite a difficult piece of science because there's a distinction between whether anosmia can occur with Covid-19 versus whether it occurs early enough to be a useful help in detecting more cases."
These changes have been made after scientific experts warned that the previous COVID-19 symptoms list was causing cases to be missed.