Omicron symptoms are ‘extremely mild' says doctor who discovered it

The doctor who discovered Omicron says symptoms from the variant are “extremely mild” and has accused the UK of “panicking unnecessarily”.

Omicron symptoms are ‘extremely mild’ says doctor who discovered it
© PA Archive Coronavirus – Wed Apr 14, 2021

The UK government announced the reintroduction of masks in indoor spaces and imposed travel restrictions on several southern African countries after two case of Omicron were detected in Britain.

Omicron, first detected in Botswana, has sparked alarm among scientists over fears that it could be more contagious than other variants and resistant to vaccines.

But Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, said the UK is overreacting, adding that symptoms are “extremely mild”.

She told the Andrew Marr Show that she first discovered the variant in a man in his early 30s who displayed symptoms of tiredness and a mild headache.

Dr Coetzee said: “What we are seeing clinically in south Africa, and remember I’m at the epicentre – that’s where I’m practising – it’s extremely mild. For us, that’s mild cases.”

When asked if the UK was “panicking unnecessarily”, she said: “I think you already have it there in your country and you’re not knowing it, and I would say, yes, at this stage I would say definitely.

“Two weeks from now maybe we will say something different.”

On Saturday, two cases of the new variant were confirmed in Nottingham and Essex.

At a press conference on Saturday Boris Johnson said that masks will be reintroduced in shops and on public transport and that all travellers into the UK would have to take a PCR test on the second day after arrival.

On Sunday, health secretary Sajid Javid said the new rules about mask-wearing would come in on Tuesday.

Speaking about face coverings he said: “I hope this is something that we can remove within weeks.

“But I do think in terms of making progress, we want life to go back towards normal, but at this point in time, given what we know about this variant, and the expert advice that has been received, I think it is right to take some proportionate and balanced action.”

Experts are worried about the Omicron variant because it has a large number mutations which mean the current vaccines may not work against it.”

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