Two-thirds of UK workers suffering from long COVID treated unfairly: report

LONDON, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Two-thirds of workers in the United Kingdom (UK) suffering long COVID symptoms claimed they were treated unfairly at their workplace, and one in seven had lost their job, said a report released on Monday.

The report, released by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the charity Long COVID Support, shows the results of the responses of a total of 3,097 long COVID sufferers who shared their experiences of work.

According to the report, one in seven respondents to the survey, or 14 percent stated they had lost their job because of reasons connected with long COVID.

Two-thirds, or 66 percent said they had experienced one or more types of unfair treatment at work, said the report.

In addition, half of the respondents, or 49 percent said they had reason to believe they had contracted COVID-19 at work.

The unfair treatment at work, according to the report, ranged from harassment to being disbelieved about their symptoms or threatened with disciplinary action.

"Workers with long COVID have been badly let down. Many of these are the key workers who carried us through the pandemic -- yet now some are being forced out of their jobs," the TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said.

People suffering from long COVID experience a wide range of symptoms including breathing difficulties, chronic fatigue and cognitive dysfunction, which can last months or even years.

Over half of respondents reported pain-related symptoms including muscle pain, headaches, joint pain and chest pain, the report said.

The most common length of time that respondents had been experiencing symptoms was over 24 months (29 percent of respondents), followed by seven to 12 months (23 percent), the report added. Sixty percent of respondents stated they had been experiencing symptoms for over a year.

The respondents also expressed frustration at employers not understanding that symptoms would continue and fluctuate.

Nearly a quarter of the respondents to the survey or 23 percent declared that their employer had questioned whether they had long COVID, or the impact of their symptoms.

Moreover, half of the long COVID sufferers participating in the survey said they believed they had originally contracted COVID-19 in the workplace.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) in UK reported that the most recent data from January 2, 2023, shows that 2 million people in the country were experiencing self-reported long COVID.

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