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Latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest 3.1 percent of the population are affected by problems lasting more than four weeks after infection.

Some 376,000 people who first caught coronavirus around the start of the pandemic were thought to have had symptoms lasting at least two years – and 1.4 million for at least three months.

The figures were based on self-reporting by almost 300,000 people who completed an ONS survey.

The most common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cough and muscle ache.

Sarah Woolnough, CEO of charity Asthma + Lung UK, called the total a “grim milestone” and warned there was a lack of treatments ansupport, plus long wait times for specialist care for the condition – which can affect health, zocor indications use work and relationships.

She said: “The government must invest more to find new treatments.”

Estimates for long Covid in the UK have risen sharply recently. It is likely to reflect the impact of the Omicron variant, which saw record levels of infection across the country in spring.

Of the two million people with self-reported long Covid, 619,000 first had the virus or suspected they had it during the Omicron period.

One in five of those suffering said their ability to undertake day-to-day activities had been “limited a lot” by their lingering symptoms.

Prevalence was highest among women, people aged 35 to 49, those in deprived areas, people with underlying health conditions, and those working in teaching or healthcare.

Ondine Sherwood, of the Long Covid SOS campaign, said: “There are now no measures in place to prevent infection. Anyone who gets Covid is vulnerable to developing long Covid, irrespective of their age or health.”

Covid-19 infections in the UK have dropped to their lowest level for eight months, according to the ONS survey.

Some 953,900 people in private households were estimated to have had the virus last week, down from 1.1 million the previous week.

●Asthma+Lung UK helpline: 0300 222 5800 or visit blf.org.uk/support-for-you/long-covid

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