PEOPLE with symptomless Covid-19 could be driving the spread of the virus, researchers have said.
Experts said that people who are infected but have no symptoms may have "comparable potential" for spreading the virus as those who have symptoms - including fever, a new and persistent cough and a new loss or change of taste or smell.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Experts in South Korea have claimed that people who are infected but have no symptoms may have “comparable potential” for spreading the virus.
The study’s lead author Professor Sung-Han Kim said the findings support the use of face coverings among the general public.
At present in the UK you are required to wear masks or coverings in shops and when using public transport.
Cases of the virus are on the up in the UK and London Mayor Sadiq Khan said there has been a noticeable increase in London.
He said there should be a new plan for Londoners which includes people working from home and wearing masks in public.
Today Boris Johnson increased the fine for people not wearing masks and coverings to £200 and said this would also apply to customers who are not sat at tables at pubs and restaurants.
It comes as he issued a curfew on pubs and restaurants, which will now, by law, have to close at 10pm.
The researchers examined people who were at a community facility designated for the isolation of patients with mild Covid-19 in South Korea.
There were 213 patients without severe symptoms. Of these, 19 per cent were asymptomatic.
SKIN DEEPSkin rash IS Covid symptom, experts warn - the 8 different types revealed
‘IMPLAUSIBLE’ Experts blast warning UK could see 50k Covid cases a day by October
STAY SAFEVulnerable Brits will NOT have to shield from Covid unless in lockdown areas
SYMPTOM CHECKERCan I go to work if I have a cough or cold?
'I STAND BY IT'Professor Lockdown doubles down on 500k UK coronavirus deaths
VIRAL SPREADCoronavirus map of England revealed - as cases rise for majority of country
The study, published in the journal Thorax, concludes: "Asymptomatic individuals were frequent among those infected with SARS-CoV-2, but harboured a comparable viral load compared with that of symptomatic patients and may thus act as a meaningful driving force for the community spread of Covid-19."
In a linked podcast, lead author Professor Sung-Han Kim said the findings "support the possibility asymptomatic individuals are contributing to the ongoing community spread of Covid-19.
"The viral load was similar between asymptomatic individuals and symptomatic patients. This suggests that asymptomatic with a Sars-CoV-2 infection have a comparable potential for spreading the virus as symptomatic patients.
"Our data add further support to the general public use of face masks, regardless of the presence of symptoms, and suggest that the scope of SARS-CoV-2 testing should be expanded to include asymptomatic individuals in high-risk settings, such as nursing homes or healthcare facilities."