Anyone infected with the novel omicron variant of the coronavirus in South Africa is not currently seriously ill. This reports the president of the country’s medical association, Angélique Coetzee.
There is great concern around the world about ‘omicron’, the latest type of coronavirus first observed in South Africa. Although much research is still required, the omicron variant appears to be more contagious and facilitates the avoidance of immunity from current vaccines.
However, there are also less alarming reports. According to Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association, the symptoms of the latest variant of the Covid virus are “very different, but much milder than in the people I treated before”.
“Most patients complain of body aches, fatigue and extreme tiredness,” Coetzee told the BBC. She received no complaints about loss of taste or smell. “We see it mainly in the younger generation, not in the elderly.” These patients will not be taken to hospital immediately, either.
According to virologist Marc van Ranst, the new form could be “extremely positive” news. If the omicron variant is indeed more contagious but less pathogenic, it can replace the delta variant taking more victims.
Side note: Coetzee told The Telegraph that one should worry about older adults who also have diabetes or heart disease. They will be more affected by the new variant.
However, worldwide efforts are being made to reduce the prevalence of the omicron variant. On Friday, the European Commission decided on Friday Temporarily suspending air traffic from South Africa. The Belgian government has also issued a ban on entry to non-Belgians residing in Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. For Belgians returning from those countries, a ten-day quarantine obligation applies.
However, the first European case of the omicron variant was already identified in our country on Friday. Meanwhile, cases have also emerged from Germany to Italy to the Czech Republic. And all over the world from Israel via Hong Kong to Australia.
Foreign Affairs: Belgians can return with commercial flights
The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs advises Belgians detained in South Africa to contact a travel agency or tour operator. They can find a solution to go back to Belgium.
“For now, there are still commercial options for one-way flights between South Africa and Belgium,” a Federal Government Service spokesperson said. He explained that air travel also includes a mandatory quarantine phase.
In the event of a problem, it is always possible to contact our embassies or consulates on site. It is open and available. And read our travel tips.
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