‘Long COVID’ Ruled as a Disability by UK Employment Tribunal

21 January 2022, Lower Saxony, Bad Rothenfelde: Nurse Rüdiger Fels sits in front of a bodyplethysmograph, for examining lung parameters, in a room at the Teutoburger Wald Clinic, a rehab clinic for post-Covid sufferers. Lower Saxony's Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD, l) visits the facility. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa (Photo by …
Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Experts are predicting an explosion in claims after a UK employment tribunal ruled that so-called “Long COVID” constitutes a disability.

“Long COVID”, or the continuation of symptoms weeks or months after a person catches COVID-19, has been ruled as a disability by an employment tribunal.

The decision by the body is now expected to lead to a “snowballing” of claims surrounding the affliction, as officials across Europe begin to once again sound alarm bells about the disease.

According to a report by The Telegraph, the tribunal ruled that a charity worker has permission to bring a case of disability discrimination against his employer after being let go from his position allegedly due to the condition.

Terence Burke, the worker at the centre of the case, had failed to turn up for work for nine months allegedly due to exhaustion caused by “Long COVID”.

Speaking on the ruling, an employment specialist told The Telegraph that the tribunal’s decision was likely to be “very significant”.

“The ruling could have a potential snowballing effect which may lead to a significant increase in the number of claims,” the expert reportedly said.

Being linked to up to 200 different symptoms according to some claims, the extent and true nature of post-COVID-19 syndrome or “Long COVID” is ultimately unknown, with percentage estimates as to the number of those infected with COVID who end up with the syndrome also varying wildly.

However, the issue of “Long COVID” is only a small part of the picture, with officials in Europe once again starting to drum up fear over a possible resurgence of the disease.

For example, the EU is in the process of renewing its COVID-19 passport for yet another year, while ministers in Germany and Ireland have now repeatedly warned that they may in the future restore lockdown rules, such as forced masking.

“It’s not where we’re at, but you can never say never,” Ireland’s Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said last week, while his German counterpart has confirmed that his government is working on legislation to bring back nationwide mask mandates from between October and Easter.

“We are currently preparing the rules for autumn,” Germany’s Karl Lauterbach remarked, comparing forced masking to rules regarding the forced use of winter tires in the country during certain periods of the year.

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