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

28 November 2021, 12:01 | Updated: 29 November 2021, 13:52

By Seán Hickey

The head of the South Africa Medical Association tells LBC the global reaction to the Omicron variant 'does not reflect' the reality of the situation.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

"We are working in the epicentre" Dr Angelique Coetzee told Tom Swarbrick after the UK placed South Africa on the travel red list in response to the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Read more: Face masks to be compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday

She declared that people she has seen with the variant display "very very mild symptoms" of Covid-19 which she claimed were "very similar to the Beta variant".

Dr Coetzee added that in her particular jurisdiction there haven't been any patients admitted to hospital with Omicron and have been "treated conservatively at home."

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

The head of South Africa's Medical Association was disappointed by the international reaction to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Read more: Scientific adviser: We don’t yet know if Omicron resists vaccines or is more contagious

"What is happening out in the world there does not refer to what we're seeing in our surgeries" she insisted.

"It's totally over the top," Dr Coetzee went on, adding that she is not disputing that "the picture might change" eventually.

Read more: David Lammy hits out at PM's mask-wearing track record

Dr Coetzee stressed her bafflement at the decision to shut off travel from South Africa: "I would understand if we were seeing extremely sick patients from the word go", she said, but there currently are no signs of concern.

"It doesn't warrant what is currently happening to South Africa" she concluded.

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

'Boris Johnson is Boris Johnson': Minister defends PM after pledge not to change

'Boris Johnson is Boris Johnson': Minister defends PM after pledge not to change

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 26/6 | Watch again

RMT boss declares rail strikes are 'absolutely' a class struggle

RMT boss declares rail strikes are 'absolutely' a class struggle

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch defended the union's strike action this week.

Train strikes until Xmas! Millions face travel misery as rail unions demand 7% pay hike

Worst 'yet to come' for food price rises that could last over a year - Ex-Sainsbury's CEO

Worst 'yet to come' for food price rises that could last over a year - Ex-Sainsbury's CEO

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 19/6 | Watch again

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch defended the union's strike action this week.

Rail workers demand 7% raise as union 'gunning' for strike set to bring misery to millions

UK to take 'most vulnerable' refugees from Rwanda under deal, says scheme's negotiator

UK to take 'most vulnerable' refugees from Rwanda under deal, says scheme's negotiator

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 12/6 | Watch again

Jailed geologist's 15-year prison term is 'worse than a death sentence', say son-in-law

Geologist's 15-year prison term in Iraq 'worse than death sentence', says son-in-law

Queen could block Boris Johnson calling General Election, expert tells LBC

Queen could block Boris Johnson calling General Election, expert tells LBC

Sadiq Khan: Platinum Jubilee is the 'catalyst' for English economic recovery

Sadiq Khan: Platinum Jubilee is the 'catalyst' for English economic recovery

'The City of London is a major drain on productive economic activity in Britain'

'The City of London is a major drain on productive economic activity in Britain'

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 29/05 | Watch again

'Nonsense' to suggest Brexit to blame for surge in inflation, says Dr Liam Fox

'Nonsense' to suggest Brexit to blame for surge in inflation, says Tory MP

Turkey could block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO claims Erdogan ally

Turkey could block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO, claims ex-Erdogan aide