Plan for the long term for Covid recovery
By Rob Freeman | 5th February 2021
Employers have been urged to plan for the effects of long Covid with a growing number of cases raising the prospect of staffing problems.
The Office of National Statistics said in November around one in five people who tested positive for Covid-19 had symptoms which last at least five weeks with 10 per cent seeing them last for 12 weeks or longer.
And a study published in The Lancet revealed 76 per cent of adults recovering from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, reported at least one post-viral symptom.
Ongoing symptoms include chronic and recurring fatigue, muscle pains, internal organ damage and breathlessness
Angela West, a senior associate at Davies and Partners Solicitors in Gloucester, said long Covid has no medical definition.
She said the prospect many who have contracted Covid are experiencing longer-term effects is another element of the pandemic employers should plan for now.
She said: "Covid-19 has had an unprecedented effect on every aspect of life as we know it and while we all strive to adjust to the new norm, the effects of long Covid will likely be presenting challenges to employers and employees alike, extensively after any programme of vaccination.
"If the symptoms of long Covid mean the employee has a 'physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities', it is more likely than not long Covid will be considered a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.
"Until more is known about long Covid, employers should be reasonable and be proactive in communicating with employees who report they have long Covid."
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