Home Australia WHO: Most Omicron cases are ‘mild’ or symptomless and existing vaccines should provide protection #englishheadline #Omicron #cases #mild #symptomless #existing #vaccines #provide #protection

WHO: Most Omicron cases are ‘mild’ or symptomless and existing vaccines should provide protection #englishheadline #Omicron #cases #mild #symptomless #existing #vaccines #provide #protection

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Most Omicron cases are ‘mild’ and there is no evidence the new variant has any impact on vaccine effectiveness against serious illness, a World Health Organization official has claimed.

A spokesperson for the global health agency said early data suggests the mutant strain is better at infecting people than Delta, even the fully vaccinated.

But there is no signal that existing vaccines will be any less effective at preventing hospitalisations and deaths. 

It is the first official hint that the Omicron super-strain may not wreak as much havoc as initially feared.

Botswana today revealed that 85 per cent of its Omicron cases so far were asymptomatic and South African doctors say patients are presenting with milder symptoms.  

Hospitalisations have surged in the South African epicentre of Gauteng in the last week, but only a quarter of its population is vaccinated. 

It recorded 580 hospitalisations this week, in a jump of 330 per cent from 135 hospital admissions two week ago, according to the official data.

For comparison, 70 per cent of people in the UK are double-jabbed and the figure is as high as 80 per cent in some European nations.

Last night, Israeli officials claimed that a booster dose of Pfizer’s vaccine provides up to 90 per cent protection against severe illness from Omicron.

But experts warn it will be at least two weeks until they have a better understanding of what impact the variant could have.

And SAGE, No10’s scientific advisors, warned Britain should brace for a ‘potentially very significant wave with associated hospitalisations’ this winter if the worst estimates about Omicron turn out to be true.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association and the first person to spot the new variant in a patient, said her patients infected with Omicron reported different and much milder symptoms, including tiredness, muscle aches, a sore head and a dry cough. But none reported the tell-tale symptoms of a loss of smell or taste or breathing difficulties

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association and the first person to spot the new variant in a patient, said her patients infected with Omicron reported different and much milder symptoms, including tiredness, muscle aches, a sore head and a dry cough. But none reported the tell-tale symptoms of a loss of smell or taste or breathing difficulties 

Vaccine-makers Moderna and Pfizer are already working on Covid vaccines that could tackle the Omicron strain, if it poses a problem for the current crop of vaccines, but they won't be ready until mid-2022

Vaccine-makers Moderna and Pfizer are already working on Covid vaccines that could tackle the Omicron strain, if it poses a problem for the current crop of vaccines, but they won’t be ready until mid-2022

Boosters ARE effective against Omicron: Israeli scientists claim Pfizer’s jab provides up to 90% protection

People who get a booster Pfizer Covid vaccine or who had their second jab within six months should still be highly protected against Omicron, Israeli health chiefs claim.

Without citing any data, Health minister Nitzan Horowitz yesterday said there was ‘room for optimism’ and that existing vaccines will shield against severe illness from the super-strain, based on ‘initial indications’.

Hours later, a report by an Israeli news channel claimed the Pfizer jab was 90 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron, only slightly less than Delta. 

The Channel 12 news broadcast also claimed the super variant is just 30 per cent more infectious than Delta — much lower than initially feared.

or comparison, Delta is 70 per cent more infectious than the Alpha strain, which it outpaced earlier this year.  

The unnamed WHO official said there is lots unknown about the virus, but most cases are ‘mild’.

It comes after Botswana’s health ministry revealed it had detected 19 Omnicron cases in the country and 16 among the group had no symptoms of the virus.

Dr Pamela Smith-Lawrence, acting director of Health in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, said the majority of the 19 infected people have already tested negative. 

And the two people who reported feeling unwell had ‘very, very mild’ symptoms, she said.

It is ‘unfair’ to treat Botswana as ground zero of the new variant, Dr Smith-Lawrence added.

And doctors in South Africa, where most confirmed cases are concentrated, last week reported that Omnicron cases were suffering mild symptoms.  

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, said her patients infected with Omicron reported different and less severe symptoms than those infected with Delta.

Symptoms included tiredness, muscle aches, a sore head and a dry cough. But no patients reported the tell-tale symptoms of a loss of smell or taste or breathing difficulties, she said. 

But hospitalisations in South Africa have soared 403 per cent in a week, which leading virologist Tulio de Oliveira described the surge in infections as ‘scary’. 

A total of 42,664 tests were conducted in yesterday, with 4,373 new cases reported, data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa revealed — equating to a 10 per cent positivity rate. 

The figure is a 92 per cent increase compared to the 2,273 cases recorded on Monday and a massive 403 per cent week-on-week increase, with 868 cases recorded last Tuesday.

Scientists in the country have warned that the vast majority of people who end up being hospitalised with the Omicron variant are unvaccinated. 

In total 22 cases of the Omicron varaint have been detected in the UK. The nine in Scotland are linked to one event. The 13 in England are all linked to foreign travel

In total 22 cases of the Omicron varaint have been detected in the UK. The nine in Scotland are linked to one event. The 13 in England are all linked to foreign travel

It comes after Israeli health minister Nitzan Horowitz yesterday said there was ‘room for optimism’ about the variant and existing vaccines will shield against severe illness from the super-strain, based on ‘initial indications’.   

Hours later, a report by an Israeli news channel claimed the Pfizer jab was 90 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron, only slightly less than Delta. 

SAGE calls for compulsory five-day isolation and ‘fit to fly’ tests for all UK arrivals

All UK arrivals should be forced to quarantine for five days and take a pre-departure PCR test even if they are vaccinated, SAGE has advised.

The expert panel warned the current travel curbs were allowing ‘significant’ numbers of infected people to slip through the cracks.

Currently, fully vaccinated people coming into the UK need to take a PCR test within the first two days of returning to the UK.

There is nothing stopping them taking this as soon as they land and getting a result on the same day, releasing them from isolation in hours.

SAGE scientists said this might not give enough time for the virus to incubate. They also called for ministers to bring in day five and day eight tests.

Only unvaccinated people coming into the UK have to take ‘fit to fly’ tests before getting on a plane back to Britain.

SAGE’s new advice was leaked from minutes of an emergency meeting about the new Omicron variant held on Monday.

More than 30 scientists attended the video conference on November 29, led by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty. 

The Channel 12 news broadcast also claimed the super variant is just 30 per cent more infectious than Delta — much lower than initially feared.  

For comparison, Delta is 70 per cent more infectious than the Alpha strain, which it outpaced earlier this year. 

A spokesperson for the country’s Health Ministry last night said it was not yet in possession of this data. 

But if the reports are confirmed it will be a massive relief to the UK which last night launched a mammoth booster programme for all adults, using Pfizer and Moderna’s jabs, with the hope of curbing the mutant variant.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all 53million adults in the UK will be offered a third dose by the end of January.

Some 22 Omicron cases have been detected in the UK. The figure is expected to grow and there is thought to be transmission of the strain within the community already. 

Meanwhile, No10’s scientific advisors SAGE today warned Omicron could cause a ‘significant wave’ on hospitalisations in a worst-case scenario.

The expert panel called for all UK arrivals to quarantine for five days and take a pre-departure PCR test even if they are vaccinated, because current travel curbs are allowing a ‘significant’ numbers of infected people to slip through the cracks.

Currently, fully vaccinated people coming into the UK need to take a PCR test within the first two days of returning to the UK.

There is nothing stopping them taking this as soon as they land and getting a result on the same day, releasing them from isolation in hours.

SAGE scientists said this might not give enough time for the virus to incubate. They also called for ministers to bring in day five and day eight tests.

Only unvaccinated people coming into the UK have to take ‘fit to fly’ tests before getting on a plane back to Britain.

SAGE’s new advice was leaked from minutes of an emergency meeting about the new Omicron variant held on Monday.

More than 30 scientists attended the video conference on November 29, led by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty. 



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#Omicron #cases #mild #symptomless #existing #vaccines #provide #protection

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