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28th Nov 2021

Omicron variant symptoms are mild so far, says doctor who discovered it

The doctor said that many people are panicking unnecessarily.

A South African doctor who discovered the Omicron variant has said that suspected cases of the new strain of Covid are presenting mild symptoms so far, RTE reports.

Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Dr. Angelique Coetzee agreed that many people are “panicking unnecessarily”.

She said that she first encountered the variant in a young man who presented with symptoms of tiredness and a mild headache, but wasn’t suffering from any of the other usual Covid symptoms.

Since then, dozens of her patients suspected of having the strain have also only shown mild symptoms and have even made full recoveries without hospitalisation.

“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.” she said.

When asked if the UK was “panicking unnecessarily”, she replied:

“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.”

She added: “I’m quite sure… a lot of people in Europe already have this virus.”

Meanwhile, South African Health Minister said that travel restrictions imposed on his country are “uncalled for”.

He said planned international travel restrictions will not stop the spread of the new variant and suggested regular testing and strict enforcement of mask wearing would be more effective measures.

South Africa was the first country to detect the new Omicron variant of Covid last week, leaving many world governments concerned.

Two cases were since confirmed in the UK on Saturday.

A health expert said that cases of Omicron are likely already in Ireland. Although none have been confirmed, Professor Anthony Staines told Newstalk that this is more likely to a lack of genetic sequencing than it not being present at all.