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01st Dec 2021

Most Omicron cases ‘mild’ and no evidence vaccines may be less effective – WHO official

Steve Hopkins

Some mutations of Omicron indicate an increased risk of quicker transmission

Omicron cases are “mild” and there is no evidence to suggest it lowers the efficiency of vaccines, according to early indications, a World Health Organisation official has said.

The official did say, however, that some mutations of the Covid variant indicate an increased risk of quicker transmission, Sky News reported, and that 40 different mutations had been identified with the Omicron variant.

The WHO official, quoted by Reuters, added there is still a lot unknown about the new strain, but the early indications suggest that most cases are “mild”.

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The suggestion comes as advisers to the government from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), warned Omicron could trigger a surge in virus infections bigger than previous waves in the UK with a risk it may overwhelm the NHS.

The South African doctor who first raised the alarm over Omicron, Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, earlier said symptoms linked to the strain were “extremely mild”.

She told the BBC on Sunday that she started to see patients around 18 November presenting with “unusual symptoms” that differed slightly from those associated with the delta variant.

“It actually started with a male patient who’s around the age of 33 … and he said to me that he’s just [been] extremely tired for the past few days and he’s got these body aches and pains with a bit of a headache,” she said.

Sajid Javid said Wednesday that new rules brought in by the government to tackle the Omicron could last less than three weeks.