'Staggering' number of long Covid cases, MP warns

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Layla Moran says 300,000 people are now living with the long term effects of coronavirus in the UK

The number of people affected by long Covid is "staggering", an MP has warned.

Opening a debate in the Commons, Layla Moran said 300,000 people were now living with the long-term effects of the virus in the UK.

Health Minister Nadine Dorries said 12 more long Covid clinics would open in England, bringing the total to 81.

The All-Party Group on Coronavirus is calling for long Covid to be recognised as an occupational disease.

It was set up in July to scrutinise the government's handling of the pandemic.

Ms Moran, who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon and chair of the group, said frontline workers should have access to a compensation scheme if they are unable to return to work.

"It is believed that there are 300,000 people living with long Covid already in the UK, seven million worldwide," she said.

Ms Moran also warned more than half of people hospitalised experienced ongoing symptoms six months later.

For those not hospitalised, one in 10 people still showed symptoms three months later, she added.

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More than half of people hospitalised with coronavirus experience ongoing symptoms six months later, studies have found

MP and practising doctor Dan Poulter said young people were "very often the victims" of long Covid.

The Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich said it could have a "life-changing impact".

Labour's Andrew Gwynne said he was still feeling the effects of the coronavirus after first displaying symptoms in March.

The MP for Denton and Reddish added: "I've had to learn to pace myself, trying to push my limits would set me back. I still have to remind myself not to overdo it.

"The lasting symptom is still brain fog. When it's bad, taking in information and processing it is so difficult and physically and mentally tiring, often triggering headaches, dizziness and vertigo."

Ms Dorries told the Commons the NHS and wider scientific community were working to better understand long Covid.

She said the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and UK Research and Innovation had invested £8.4m into a post-hospitalisation Covid-19 study at the University of Leicester.

She called it "one of the world's largest comprehensive studies into the long-term health impacts".

The new long Covid clinics will launch in the East Midlands, Lancashire, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.

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