New Covid Symptoms List as Free Testing Ends

Young woman sitting on sofa covered with blanket blowing running nose into tissue

New Covid Symptoms List as Free Testing Ends

Free Covid testing ended in England on April 1st for most people, meaning that quick lateral flow tests will now only be available for a fee. This move has caused consternation within the childcare sector as it has coincided with a recognition by the government that covid symptoms frequently represent a common cold. The government has now updated its list of Covid symptoms to include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Aching body
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

For anyone familiar with working with children, the difficulty is obvious. All of these symptoms can occur with an ordinary cold, of the sort to which children are very prone. While parents and settings may wish children with Covid to stay at home, they may be less accommodating to absences caused by less severe diseases. Some sector voices are arguing that the move away from free testing could exacerbate the problem.

Although vaccines and boosters have certainly reduced the risk of Covid and in many ways, society has returned to something approaching normal, it is a stark reminder that the virus may be with us for some time yet. Not only that, but its impact will likely be felt much further into the future.

You can read the government’s latest guidance here: