New data has revealed that a record two million people in the UK are estimated to be suffering from long COVID symptoms.
The prevalence of long COVID in the UK has jumped sharply since the end of the Omicron variant wave – which infected millions of people over the winter – and now, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the condition is thought to be adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of around 1.4 million people nationwide, which is around seven in 10 of those who reported having COVID-19.
Since the beginning of 2022, the ONS said that 700,000 people have developed the condition – which is more than a third of the overall total.
Of the two million people with long COVID, 1.4 million said they first had coronavirus, or suspected they had the illness, at least 12 weeks previously, while 826,000 said first had it at least a year earlier.
Another 376,000 people said they first had COVID-19 at least two years previously.
The ONS said it found that, up until 1 May 2022, a total of 398,000 people – which equates to one in five – said that their ability to undertake day-to-day activities after contracting COVID-19 has been “limited a lot”.
Fatigue continues to be the most-common long COVID symptom, which is said to be currently experienced by 55% of people.
This is followed by 32% with shortness of breath, 23% with a cough, and 23% with muscle ache.
When it comes to the types of people more susceptible, the ONS added that the rates of long COVID were the highest among women, those aged 35 to 69 years, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, teaching and education or health care, and those with other health conditions or disabilities.
In response to the record figure and new ONS data, Layla Moran MP – Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus – said: “For nearly two years, we have been warning the UK government about the scale and dangers of the long COVID crisis… [and] after reaching this grim milestone, the government cannot bury their heads in the sand any longer.
“They must urgently classify long COVID as an occupational illness, provide formal guidance to employers, and increase funding for research into treatments.”
The new ONS figures are based on self-reported long COVID from a representative sample of 296,868 responses from people in private households in the four weeks to 1 May 2022.
Man arrested after Stockport homes were evacuated due to ‘suspected hazardous materials’
A man has been arrested after the discovery of “suspected hazardous materials” led to several homes being evacuated in Stockport.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) explained that the discovery of the so-called “suspected hazardous materials” was made by police yesterday (Thursday 1 June) during a search of a property on Middleton Road in the Reddish area of Stockport.
Officers attended the property in response to intelligence about the manufacturing of illegal fireworks.
No injuries have been reported following the discovery, GMP confirmed, and a 100-metre cordon is currently believed to still be in place around the area.
Residents of the several homes that were asked to evacuate yesterday have been relocated, either to the homes of their family and friends, or directed by Stockport Council to Houldsworth Village and Broadstone Road if they had no alternative accommodation.
The residents were told by GMP that, although they would be kept regularly updated, it was “unlikely they will be able to return home,” yesterday evening.
Following the discovery, GMP declared a major incident and instructed specially-trained representatives from relevant agencies to conduct the “timely and safe recovery” of the hazardous materials, all while asking members of the public to “avoid the area” so this could be carried out.
The arrested suspect, a 50-year-old man, is currently being held in police custody under Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act.
“We understand this news will have caused some concern in the community, not just amongst the residents who have unfortunately been displaced,” Chief Inspector Jamie Collins admitted in a statement addressing the ongoing situation yesterday.
“Our highest priority is keeping people safe, which is why we have put a cordon in place, evacuated properties, and warned members of the public to avoid the area.
With it being the first time the two Manchester clubs have battled it out for the trophy in the final in the 151-year-old football competition’s illustrious history, tens of thousands of fans are expected to make the journey down to the capital.
But with this influx of excitable rival fans, admittedly, comes a set of challenges.
This is why The FA and TfGM have decided to introduce some measures, and issue travel tips and guidance, in a bid to make sure everyone stays safe, while still soaking in all the atmosphere of the historic day at the same time.
Due to what TfGM has called “significant” coordinated strike action by rail unions RMT and Aslef on Saturday, all supporters heading to the FA Cup final are advised to avoid trains and “consider alternative travel arrangements” instead – making sure to allow “additional time for travel” and planning their journeys “ahead of time”.
Fans are also being asked to check the road network carefully, as it’s also highly likely that traditional routes to Wembley will be “busier than normal” as a result of rail strikes.
The FA has confirmed that it will be providing 60 coaches for both Manchester clubs to help supporters get to Wembley and return to Manchester once the game has finished, but aside from this, TfGM has suggested that “anyone without an official match ticket should not travel to the game”.
The two Manchester clubs have been advised to encourage fans to use separate travel routes to each other to avoid clashes, and a list of service stations for each team has now also been published – confirming all the rumours to be true.
Allocation of motorway service stations
Manchester City supporters
Manchester United supporters
When it comes to the travel routes supporters of each team are advised to take, TfGM is urging Manchester City fans to take the M62/M1 as the first port of call, or taking the M6/M1 or M6/M6 Toll/M1 as a back-up option.
Manchester United supporters are encouraged to take the M6/M42/M40.
On top of information on travel routes and service station allocations, TfGM has also shared tips for matchday parking, tube travel around London, and more.