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Scratchy throat, unfamiliar symptoms: South African doctor reveals details of Omicron cases

The Omicron patients reported extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches, a scratchy throat and dry cough, the doctor told AFP. Only a few had a slightly high temperature.
South African doctor said the disease caused by Omicron variant has been mild in the cases that she treated. (AP)
Updated on Nov 29, 2021 11:27 AM IST
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Amid worldwide concerns over Covid's new variant Omicron, which is believed to be more transmissible than the previous variants, a South African doctor who raised the alarm over this new variant revealed that the patients she treated had unfamiliar symptoms. 

However, the symptoms were mild and her patients recovered fully without hospitalisation. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told AFP she had seen around 30 patients over the past 10 days who tested positive for Covid-19 but had unfamiliar symptoms.

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The Omicron patients reported extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches, a scratchy throat and dry cough, the doctor told AFP. Only a few had a slightly high temperature.

Coetzee had alerted the health officials that the clinical picture was not fitting Delta, the dominant variant of South Africa. By that time, scientists have already picked up the variant and were working on it.

Omicron: Why the new coronavirus variant is so scary? Experts explain

"We are not saying that there will not be severe disease coming forward. But for now, even the patients that we have seen who are not vaccinated have mild symptoms. "I'm quite sure... a lot of people in Europe already have this virus," Coetzee said.

The patients that Coetzee treated were mostly men aged under 40 and under half of them were vaccinated.

The variant has brought much ignominy to South Africa and countries have started isolating South Africa by imposing a blanket ban on travellers. South Africa's top health federation has termed this as a 'knee-jerk' reaction.

Angelique Coetzee who is also the chairperson of the South African Medical Association said South Africa should instead be lauded and not vilified for the alertness the scientists have shown. "My suspicion is that because our scientists are very alert and doing a lot of sequencing in the background, maybe those European countries missed it because of the symptoms," Coetzee told TV news channel Newzroom Afrika.

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