Nairobi News


Loss of sense of smell or taste added to official list of coronavirus symptoms

The Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom has added the loss of sense of smell or taste to the official list of coronavirus symptoms.

Until now, the rules to classify coronavirus cases have said the virus should only be suspected if a person has a new continuous cough or fever, but the new clinical advice adds “anosmia” to the list.

“From today all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia,” a government statement said.

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.


Deputy Chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam said the addition would mean identifying up to 3 per cent more cases of the virus in the community.

Cough and loss of smell or taste can persist after seven days. You do not need to keep self-isolating after seven days unless you have a high temperature or are unwell, says the advice.

Loss of smell and taste may still be signs of other respiratory infections, such as the common cold. Experts say fever and cough remain important symptoms of coronavirus to look out for.