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‘Shortness of breath’ added as a symptom of COVID-19

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An additional symptom has been added to the ‘case definition’ of COVID-19. ‘Shortness of breath’ is now a consideration when assessing individuals for possible COVID-19.

The change was agreed today by the Department of Health and Social Care Clinical Advisory Group and is line with European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidance which was recently updated.

Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health, said:

'We are continuously learning about COVID-19 and monitoring the symptoms that those who have the virus present with, both globally and here in the Isle of Man. The ECDC is a leading body in infectious diseases, and we have updated our screening questions to include shortness of breath as a primary sign of COVID-19 in line with their guidance.


'If you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19, we recommend that you visit in the first instance to complete a screening assessment.'

The four primary symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A temperature of more than 37.8C (100F)
  • OR, a new and persistent cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • OR, anosmia – this is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell, which can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked
  • OR, shortness of breath.