Top doc who raised Omicron Covid alarm warns mutations symptoms are unusual

The top doctor who first raised the alarm over the Omicron Covid variant has warned the mutation's symptoms are 'unusual'.

Dr Angelique Coetzee says she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients at her private practice in South Africa had Covid symptoms that did not make sense.

They included young people from a range of different backgrounds all with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a high pulse rate.

None of them suffered from a loss of taste or smell, both symptoms heavily associated with Covid, the Mirror reports.

Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who also chairs South Africa’s Medical Association, said the patients seen so far have had "extremely mild symptoms".

But she warned more time is needed before we know the seriousness of the disease for vulnerable people.

She said: “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before."

On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for Covid with complete exhaustion, she informed the country’s vaccine advisory committee.

She said around two dozen of her patients have tested positive Covid with symptoms of the Omicron strain, which has an unprecedented 32 mutations.

They were mostly healthy men who turned up 'feeling so tired' and about half of them had not even had a single vaccine dose.

South African scientists say Omicron is behind a sharp rise of cases in the country’s Gauteng province.

In the UK, the government has slapped several southern Africa countries on the red travel list.

There are two confirmed omicron cases in the UK, one in Nottingham and the other in Brentwood, Essex.

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Both cases are said to be linked to travel to southern Africa.

All international arrivals will have to take a PCR test by the end of their second day in the UK, Boris Johnson announced on Saturday.

The Prime Minister said the "temporary and precautionary" measures will be reviewed in three weeks, while the Government's vaccine experts will be tasked with considering whether to extend booster jabs to all over-18s.

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