Reaction to Omicron 'totally over the top', says South Africa top doc

28 November 2021, 12:01 | Updated: 29 November 2021, 13:52

By Seán Hickey

The head of the South Africa Medical Association tells LBC the global reaction to the Omicron variant 'does not reflect' the reality of the situation.

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"We are working in the epicentre" Dr Angelique Coetzee told Tom Swarbrick after the UK placed South Africa on the travel red list in response to the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Read more: Face masks to be compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday

She declared that people she has seen with the variant display "very very mild symptoms" of Covid-19 which she claimed were "very similar to the Beta variant".

Dr Coetzee added that in her particular jurisdiction there haven't been any patients admitted to hospital with Omicron and have been "treated conservatively at home."

Read more: Universities fuelled Omicron outbreak, says South African Health Minister

The head of South Africa's Medical Association was disappointed by the international reaction to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Read more: Scientific adviser: We don’t yet know if Omicron resists vaccines or is more contagious

"What is happening out in the world there does not refer to what we're seeing in our surgeries" she insisted.

"It's totally over the top," Dr Coetzee went on, adding that she is not disputing that "the picture might change" eventually.

Read more: David Lammy hits out at PM's mask-wearing track record

Dr Coetzee stressed her bafflement at the decision to shut off travel from South Africa: "I would understand if we were seeing extremely sick patients from the word go", she said, but there currently are no signs of concern.

"It doesn't warrant what is currently happening to South Africa" she concluded.

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