Between 60,000 and 100,000 people in Cyprus are estimated to be suffering from long Covid-19, the federation of patients’ associations (Osak) said on Wednesday as it announced the publication of manuals to help this patient group.

The government and the medical and scientific community should recognise there is an urgent need to promote collaboration and develop scientifically sound medical protocols to improve the quality of life of this large group, the federation said.

On the occasion of the Long Covid Syndrome Awareness Day, organised patient networks worldwide seek to inform community and authorities about this new condition caused by the pandemic.

Long covid is already affecting millions of people worldwide, in some cases severely limiting their family, social and professional life.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the federation said, the percentage of people infected with coronavirus who then develop long-term symptoms ranges between 10 to 20 per cent.

This means that around 70 million people worldwide are already suffering daily from the after-effects of coronavirus, with this number in Cyprus estimated to reach 60,000 and perhaps even exceed 100,000, Osak said.

“No possible treatments have yet been defined for the treatment of the prolonged symptoms left behind by Covid-19,” the announcement noted.

To make things worse, in many cases these patients experience intimidation and ridicule since although the WHO has already given the official definition of the syndrome, several countries have not yet implemented practices or even policies to provide facilities for patients.

The biggest gap, according to Osak, is in the workplace.

The Long Covid Cyprus network, which was created and operates under the Federation of Cyprus Patients’ Associations, has proceeded with a series of actions to inform both society and the state following careful recording of reports from its members and the findings of its doctors.

In the coming days, the federation said special manuals concerning the long Covid syndrome which have been prepared by scientists of different specialties will be released in Cyprus.

These manuals will include the diet that patients could follow to manage the symptoms that afflict them and the way in which patients should be treated in the workplace. Of great importance is the fact that the manual on work has been published with the cooperation of the Federation of Employers.

The term long Covid includes severe fatigue and/or dyspnoea, orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, nervous system disorders with a characteristic inability to concentrate and significant limitation in the ability to perform complex mental functions as well as memory loss, hair loss, myalgia and menstrual disorders.

Such prolonged symptoms which last over two years based on the data recorded internationally to date, do not usually manifest in other infections, Osak added.

The federation emphasised that this syndrome does not only occur in people who presented severe symptoms during their coronavirus infection but also in people who presented mild or no symptoms.