Omicron variant symptoms are "mild" so far, says doctor who discovered it
The doctor said that many people are panicking unnecessarily.
The 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, RTÉ News reports.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Dr Angelique Coetzee agreed that many people are “panicking unnecessarily”.
Coetzee said that she first encountered the variant in a young man who presented with symptoms of tiredness and a mild headache, but he 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 people in the UK were “panicking unnecessarily” following confirmation of the first cases of the Omicron variant on Saturday, 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 Joe Phaala 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, leaving many world leaders concerned.
Meanwhile, a public health expert has said that cases of Omicron are "probably" already in Ireland.
Although none have been confirmed as of yet, Professor Anthony Staines told Newstalk that this is more likely to a lack of genetic sequencing than it not being present at all.