Nine new signs of coronavirus have been added to the official list of Covid symptoms, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced.

The updated guidance now includes muscle pains, diarrhea and a sore throat - and the NHS has warned the symptoms can be very similar to other illnesses such as colds and flu.

The news comes just days after free testing in England was axed.

The original signs of Covid recognised in the UK included a fever, a new continuous cough and loss of smell or taste.

It was known since the beginning of the pandemic that there were more signs of the infection and the World Health Organisation and other countries had longer lists.

But there had been debate in the UK over which symptoms should be recognised and qualify somebody for a Covid test.

Fever, cough or loss of smell or taste were settled on because they were either present in most Covid cases or almost exclusively caused by the virus.

The full list of symptoms now include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills)
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick.

Covid infections are at record levels in the UK and it is estimated one in 13 people currently have the virus according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

The NHS says people should stay at home and avoid others only if they have Covid symptoms and a high temperature, or if symptoms are so bad that they not well enough to work.

Downing Street defended axing universal free coronavirus tests as new symptoms for Covid-19 were announced, saying lateral flow spending was “simply unsustainable”.