“The spectrum of most frequent symptoms in the post-covid-19 condition includes fatigue, dyspnea (shortness of breath), changes in smell and taste, depression and anxiety and cognitive dysfunction”, adds the standard signed by the director-general of Health, Graça Freitas.

Also known as long covid, the post-covid-19 condition is defined by the spectrum of symptoms that occur in people with probable or confirmed infection by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, usually three months after the onset of the acute phase of infection and at least two months in duration.

“Symptoms can develop during or after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, have an impact on the affected person’s quality of life and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis,” says the standard.

Serious reprecussions

Long covid has potentially serious functional repercussions, which interfere with the quality of life and work capacity of the affected people, with obvious socioeconomic impact, the DGS also adds, which considers that the “persistence of symptoms beyond four weeks has been be understudied in primary health care, the follow-up site for most SARS-CoV-2 infections.”

According to the rules now published, the liaison teams between primary health care and hospital care “must optimise the articulation between the different levels of care”.

“At the hospital level, institutions should promote multidisciplinary and multispecialized work, through a circuit that allows for adequate articulation with primary health care, within the scope of the management of the post-covid-19 condition and from a perspective of continuity of care” , refers the DGS.

Early recognition

The main objective of the approach provided for in the standard to 'long covid' is the early recognition of symptoms and signs that may indicate "serious and life-threatening complications and symptomatic and functional recovery" of the affected person.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that between 10% and 20% of people with covid-19 suffer from symptoms after recovering from the acute phase of the infection, an “unpredictable and debilitating” condition that also affects mental health.