Covid-19: Omicron variant results in 'mild illness', says South African health official

'Infected people do not have a lack of taste or smell,' asserts president of country's top medical body


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Published: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 7:03 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 7:23 AM

New omicron version of coronavirus results in mild disease, without major syndromes, Angelique Koetzi, president of the South African Medical Association, told Sputnik on Saturday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday identified the new South African strain as a cause for concern, as it has a high number of mutations – 32 – which could make it more contagious and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.


"It presents a mild illness with symptoms such as muscle aches and feeling tired for a day or two. So far, we have found that infected people do not have a lack of taste or smell. They may have a mild cough. There are no known symptoms. Some of the infected are currently at home. Treatment is underway," Koetzi said.

She added that omicron-fected patients have not placed any extra burden on hospitals and no new strains have been detected in vaccinated people. However, the situation may be different for those who have not been vaccinated.

"We'll find out in two weeks. Yes, it's broadcastable, but for now, as physicians, we don't know why there's so much hype that we're still watching it. We'll know in two weeks. There are some patients admitted and these are young people in their 40s and younger, "Koetzi added.

Following reports about the new variant, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Israel, Australia and other countries have banned travel to many South African nations due to health concerns.

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