New Delhi: In an interesting development, Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, has said that the new variant of the B.1.1.529, also known as the ‘Omicron variant’, results in “mild disease without prominent symptoms”, as per Sputnik.
“It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer the loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home”, Coetzee told the news agency.
The official also added that the hospitals are not yet overburdened with the patients carrying this variant. Coetzee said that the variant won’t affect people who are fully vaccinated but the situation “might be different” for the unvaccinated.
The chairwoman also criticised the countries that have put a travel ban after learning about the new variant. Earlier on Saturday, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa held a formal discussion with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking the removal of South Africa from the travel ban list. “I have put South Africa’s case to Johnson which he understood very well,” he said at a press conference.
Omicron was discovered in Southern Africa earlier this month and has more mutations that all the previously known coronavirus variants. However, scientists have said more studies are needed before concrete results are established about the new variant and its behaviour.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared the new coronavirus strain, first found in South Africa, as a ‘variant of concern’ and named it Omicron. It has a large number of mutations, and early evidence suggests an increased reinfection risk, the WHO said. The Omicron or B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the WHO by South Africa on November 24, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel. After WHO designated the new strain as one of concern, several countries around the world decided to ban or restrict travel to and from southern Africa.
(With Inputs from ANI)