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Experts say there needs to be constant vigilance against Long COVID; HSE to consider formulation of a national policy

DUBLIN: A UK study has found that one in ten people affected by COVID-19 still does not recover after 12 weeks. They are unable to go to work as they have not fully recovered from the illness. Dr. Liam Townsend, Specialist Registrar Infectious Diseases St James’s Hospital, said that there are still many people who are still quite symptomatic.

“We are seeing other patients who have concentration issues or memory problems or often called brain fog,” Dr. Townsend said. According to Dr. Townsend, Long COVID is the failure to return to full health following a COVID-19 infection.

He says a national policy approach to confronting Long COVID has not yet been formulated. Those who still struggle with COVID problems in this way need special care and attention. He said there should be a national program or a framework for Long COVID.

Meanwhile, Claire Twomey, founder of the Long COVID Support Group, complains that members are currently facing difficulties in accessing treatment. Those who have been ill for a year do not get sick leave or sick pay.

The group already has more than 1,500 members. All of them are in great despair as they have been suffering from the disease for so long. For some, the disease can be completely cured in just 14 days. But Ms Twomey points out that others have been living with unanswered questions for at least a year.

There are not enough Long COVID clinics in our country and therefore it is not possible to understand and treat those who show chronic symptoms. She also said that the situation of Long COVID sufferers will worsen if more post-COVID clinics are not opened and special guidelines are given to GPs.

HSE says Long COVID policy is being considered

Meanwhile, the HSE said that there are no accurate data on how many people in Ireland are experiencing prolonged symptoms of COVID-19. The health consequences can be only detected through longer-term observational studies. It also said that the GP should be contacted if any symptoms persist. Appropriate team needs to be deployed to follow up those discharged from the hospital. HSE said it was considering formulating a national policy in this regard.

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