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No Need to Panic: South African Medical Association

By Umamah Bakharia

In his Sunday address to the national, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country will remain on lockdown level 1 as government keeps an eye on developments.

Ramaphosa emphasized that people should adhere to safety regulations to curb the spread of the newly found variant, Omicron by vaccinating, wearing of masks and social distancing.

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has called on South African’s not to panic as fears rise because of increased infection rates and travel bans on Southern African countries.

SAMA’S chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee speaks to Radio Islam on what doctors have identified on the new Omicron variant.

South African Medical Associations chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee

The association says from their observation on cases with the new Omicron variant, the infected are showing mild symptoms that is easily recoverable.

However, it is uncertain on impact of the variant in future cases as it is spreading quickly.

“It is not as vigilant as the hype is across the world,” says Dr Coetzee.

She says vaccinated individuals have a less chance of transmitting the virus through talking or laughing then those that are not vaccinated.

SAMA supports the Ramaphosa on a possibility of mandatory vaccinations.

“The health of the nation plays a higher role than your own personal safety so it is [a] good [decision] for the rest of the country,” says Dr Coetzee.

Many countries such as the UK, US and European Union has banned travel from South Africa shortly after the new variant was discovered by South African scientist. This move was not supported by many African countries arguing that this was a haste decision.

“We will not give out information because of the threat of being villainised,” says Dr Coetzee.

She adds: “It is very premature and unacceptable at this stage,” says Dr Coetzee.

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