More than a million Brits have reported suffering with Long Covid.
The Office for National Statistics estimated 1.1 million people are battling lasting symptoms of Covid-19 such as fatigue, muscle pain and difficulty concentrating.
Its survey suggested 674,000 people had debilitating symptoms that affected their daily life and 196,000 reported that their ability to undertake everyday tasks had been “limited a lot”.
Many people have reported breathlessness after just going upstairs or popping out for a walk.
One in every 28 health and care staff reported having Long Covid which was the highest rate of any employment role.
Prevalence was higher in women and greatest among people aged between 35 and 49.
Layla Moran MP, chair of the APPG on Coronavirus
“For too long Covid patients have felt like the forgotten victims of this pandemic.
“The government must end the current postcode lottery of rehabilitation services and ensure all those who need long-term treatment can access it.
“We also need a compensation scheme for key workers with long Covid, who have worked tirelessly on the frontline against the pandemic and are now paying a heavy price.
“The government must recognise long Covid as an occupational disease and provide formal guidance to employers, to ensure that workers suffering symptoms are treated fairly and given proper support.”
The ONS figures were reported over a four-week period to 6 March.
The overall prevalence was 1.7% of the UK population, of which 1.1% had, or suspected they had Covid-19 at least 12 weeks earlier.
The rate was 1.9% in women compared to 1.5% in men.
Healthcare workers had the highest rate at 3.6% followed by social care workers at 3.1%. The next highest employment group was personal services at 2.8%, followed by civil servants at 2.7% and then teachers at 2.5%.
Ben Humberstone, ONS head of health, said: “The ONS estimates that over a million people in the UK were reporting symptoms associated with long Covid at the beginning of March 2021, with over two-thirds of these individuals having had, or suspected they had Covid-19 at least 12 weeks earlier.
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“An estimated 674,000 people reported that their symptoms have negatively impacted on their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities.
“People who tested positive for Covid-19 are around eight times more likely to suffer prolonged symptoms than observed in the general population.”
Of the estimated 1.1 million Long Covid sufferers, 932,000 lived in England, 56,000 in Wales, 79,000 in Scotland, and 26,000 in Northern Ireland.
The age group most likely to report Long Covid was 35 to 49 years, at 2.5%. This was followed by 2.4% of 50 to 69 year olds.
A report out last week revealed that seven in 10 people taken to hospital with Covid-19 have not fully recovered after five months.