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Omicron cases outside South Africa no deadlier, Australian official says

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Thursday 02 Dec 2021

Omicron cases outside South Africa no deadlier, Australian official says

(Sharecast News) - On current evidence, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 did not yet appear to be any deadlier than previous ones, Australian health officials said.
"In fact. the opposite may well be true," Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, said.

In a recorded message posted overnight to Twitter, Kelly explained that: "Of the over 300 [Omicron] cases that have now been diagnosed in many countries, they have all been very mild or in fact had no symptoms at all."

Nevertheless, he conceded that most of the cases so far outside of South Africa had been in young fit travellers.

Do vaccines work? "We have no information from labs, clinical studies or population studies which suggest that vaccines do not work," he said.

"What we do know is that many of the cases that have been diagnosed in many countries around the world from travellers almost exclusively form Southern Africa have been doubly vaccinated.

"But again, they have not had severe disease, so we need to wait and watch and gather more information."

Australia had imposed a two-week quarantine on travellers from southern Africa but not on the rest and Kelly said that lockdowns were "not the plan" and he hoped that it would not be the case.

In the background meanwhile, in remarks to Bloomberg TV, Pfizer's vice-president of vaccines for international developed markets, Rene Reinert, told Bloomberg TV that the company did not expect a "significant drop in effectiveness".

"But again, this is speculation. We will check this. We will have the data in the next couple of weeks."

-- More to follow --

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