Omicron Variant Symptoms ‘Unusual but Mild’: South African Medical Association Head

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • The first South African doctor to alert the authorities about patients with the “Omicron” variant, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, told The Telegraph that the symptoms of the new variant are unusual but mild.
  • Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with symptoms such as fatigue, rapid pulse, but no loss of taste or smell.
  • “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” she said.
  • South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday that imposing restrictions on travelers from the country because of the new variant was “unjustified,” after a British ban on flights from southern African countries that others have followed, Nation News reports.
  • “The kind of knee-jerk reaction, it really doesn’t make sense,” Phaahla said at a media briefing, adding that travel bans violate the norms and standards of the World Health Organization.
  • “Covid-19 is a global health emergency. We must work together, not punish each other,” he went on to say. “Witch hunts don’t benefit anyone. South Africa wants to be an honest player in the world, to share health info not just of benefit to South Africans and citizens of the world.”
  • Phaahla went on to call travel bans enacted against the country “Draconian” and “misdirected.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The media has been criticizing Joe Biden for imposing travel restrictions on South Africa amid fears of spreading the Omicron variant when he criticized Donald Trump for doing the same.

Jon Fleetwood is Managing Editor for American Faith and author of “An American Revival: Why American Christianity Is Failing & How to Fix It.“

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