South Africa top doc stresses that Omicron brings 'mild illness'

12 December 2021, 16:05

By Seán Hickey

The head of the South African Medical Association refreshed her claims that the Omicron variant is 'mild' having spent one month treating patients with it.

Dr Angelique Coetzee spoke to Tom Swarbrick a fortnight after her initial appearance on LBC where she told him that the West was overreacting to Omicron.

She echoed her initial claims that Omicron is a relatively "mild" variant of coronavirus, which sees greater transmission yet lower rates of hospitalisation.

Read more: Daily lateral flow tests for a week for double jabbed Covid contacts

Tom defended the UK's new rules for the sake of argument: "We don't know, and so the most cautionary thing to do is to make sure that hospitals are not overwhelmed if it's not mild, and so we put in these additional measures.

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

"Do you think that's a reasonable response?"

"This is now our fourth week, there's no reason you can't trust us when we say to you 'it's mild disease!'" Dr Coetzee insisted.

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

She said that whilst she understands the precautions the UK is taking, "there's really no need" to reenter lockdown over the Omicron variant.

"Yes, you can have a million cases, you can have even more than that, but the severity of the disease is mild", she said again.

Read more: Covid booster jabs extended to over 30s as NHS steps up fight against Omicron

Tom wondered what restrictions South Africa was under while Omicron spread, suggestying that such measures may be behind the lack of severe reaction.

Dr Coetzee said that her country had curfew measures and limits on large events in place, but added that after one month the case rate in South Africa is already decreasing.

"It's mild disease. Speak with our specialists in our hospitals, private sector and public sector, you will hear the same story."

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

Ben Kentish

Swarbrick On Sunday with Ben Kentish 7/8 | Watch again

Exclusive
Former Director of the CIA General David Patraeus tells Tom Swarbrick that the UK's response to the war in Ukraine has been 'the manifestation of Global Britain'.

UK response to Ukraine war 'the manifestation of Global Britain', says ex CIA boss

Tom Swarbrick will be the new host of LBC's Drivetime programme

Tom Swarbrick to present LBC's Drivetime programme

Swarbrick on Sunday

Swarbrick On Sunday 31/7 | Watch again

The Russian ambassador told Tom Swarbrick the row over Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a "non-story"

Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a 'non-story', says Russian ambassador

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 24/7 | Watch again

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 17/7 | Watch again

Tory MP backs Penny Mourdant for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV

Tory MP backs Penny Mordaunt for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV show

'Tory members won't vote Rishi Sunak for PM due to racism', alleges caller

'Tories won't vote Rishi Sunak for PM due to racism', alleges caller

Etonian blasts Tories over 'absurd, subsidised' charitable status for private schools

Etonian backs Starmer over 'absurd' charitable status for private schools

Private school no longer a golden ticket to 'elite society' says Tom Swarbrick

Private school no longer a golden ticket to 'elite society' says Tom Swarbrick

Putin blockades Ukraine because he wants to 'create new migrant crisis through starvation'

Caller who illegally arrived in UK wedged between train carriages shares story with LBC

Exclusive
Sunak's former tutor admits he wouldn't vote for him as PM

Sunak's former tutor admits he wouldn't vote for him as PM

Britain must take in 100,000 asylum seekers a year, says immigration lawyer

Britain must take in 100,000 asylum seekers a year, says immigration lawyer

Tory MP backs Sajid Javid for PM due to his 'outstanding integrity'

Tory MP backs Sajid Javid for PM due to his 'outstanding integrity'

Exclusive
Jeremy Hunt speaks to LBC's Tom Swarbrick.

Jeremy Hunt backs Rwanda-style plan and hits out at 'unfunded tax cuts' promised by rivals