Dr Angelique Coetzee, the head of the South African Medical Association, says she understands the Plan B measures Boris Johnson is introducing but insists there is no need to plunge millions into lockdown again.
She added that the Omicron variant is mild.
“There’s no reason you can’t trust us when we say this to you.” Dr Angelique Coetzee said.
There were 1,239 new Omicron infections confirmed in the UK yesterday, Dec. 12 – a record daily figure, and almost double the previous high on Saturday.
Speaking to LBC, Dr Coetzee said all experts in South Africa would “tell you the same story”.
She said: “This is now our fourth week, there’s no reason you can’t trust us when we say to you ‘it’s mild disease’.
“We’re not saying there won’t be sick patients, we’re saying the majority is mild.
“There is no need to hospitalise any of these mild cases. These patients recover within about five days, whether you are a child or 80 years of age, whether you’ve been vaccinated, this is what we see.
“This is real life, this is the experience that we are having. Everyone was afraid we might see severe disease two or three weeks later but in primary healthcare, we haven’t seen it.
“Again, it’s highly contagious – you could have a million cases, you could have even more than that.
“But the severity of the disease is mild. Our ICU wards are not full. One or two of our hospitals say they’ve seen an increase, but not a lot.”
South Africa has curfew measures and limits on large events in place, but after one month the case rate is already decreasing, Dr Coetzee said.