ALMOST one in seven people who test positive for Covid-19 are still suffering symptoms three months later, according to new UK figures.

The study on long Covid from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), found people with coronavirus are significantly more likely than the general population to report ongoing issues, which can include muscle pain and fatigue.

Among a sample of more than 20,000 people who tested positive for Covid-19 between April, 2020 and March this year, 13.7% continued to experience symptoms for at least 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, findings from a larger sample estmated that 1.1 million people in the UK have experienced long Covid in the four weeks to March 6. An estimated 697,000 first had Covid-19 – or suspected they had Covid-19 – at least 12 weeks previously, while 70,000 first had the virus or suspected they had the virus at least one year ago.

Of those who tested positive, 21% still had coronavirus symptoms five weeks after their test.

Women were also more likely than men to report long Covid at the 12-week point – with 14.7% doing so compared with 12.7% of men. While rrevalence of long Covid was highest among those aged 25 to 34 (18.2%) than other age groups.

READ MORE: Scotland has highest infection rate in UK due to 'lower exposure' earlier in pandemic, says top medic

Long Covid was estimated to be adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of 674,000 people, with 196,000 reporting that their ability to undertake day-to-day activities had been limited a lot.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “very worried” about the impact of long Covid and that the Government is investing more in tackling and understanding the condition.

He told Sky News: “We can see the impact in these new statistics shown today and I understand the impact it has had on hundreds of thousands of people.

“It’s one of the many damaging problems of this virus.

“We’re putting more research money into tackling and understanding long Covid because it appears to be several different syndromes.”

Mr Hancock added that while people should “enjoy the sunshine”, it is “yet another reason for everybody to be cautious”.


In February, the the World Health Organisation’s Europe director told a briefing that the burden of long Covid “is real and it is significant”.

Dr Hans Kluge said that as the pandemic had evolved, professionals and patients “have mapped a path in the dark” and stories of people with ongoing “debilitating symptoms” have emerged.

“Regrettably, some were met with disbelief, or lack of understanding,” he said, adding that disability following coronavirus infection can linger for months “with severe social, economic, health and occupational consequences”.

He added: “We need to listen and we need to understand. The sufferers of post-Covid conditions need to be heard if we are to understand the long-term consequences and recovery from Covid-19.”