A doctor who raised the alarm over the Omicron Covid variant says the symptoms are unusual - but mild.

Dr Angelique Coetzee says she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients at her Pretoria private practice had Covid symptoms that did not make sense.

They included young people from a range of different backgrounds all with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a high pulse rate.

None of them suffered from a loss of taste or smell, both symptoms which are heavily associated with 'traditional' Covid.

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who also chairs South Africa’s Medical Association.

Omicron has been dubbed a 'variant of concern' by the WHO (

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Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)

On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for Covid with complete exhaustion, she informed the country’s vaccine advisory committee.

She said in total about two dozen of her patients have tested positive Covid with symptoms of Omicron - which the world is now scrambling to contain with various travel bans.

They were mostly healthy men who turned up “feeling so tired" and about half of them had not even had a single dose - a prevalent issue in South Africa and in swathes of the African continent.

Dr Angelique Coetzee was one of the first to raise the Omicron alarm (

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BBC)

South African scientists say Omicron is behind a sharp rise of cases in the country’s Gauteng province.

In the UK, the government has slapped several southern Africa countries on the red travel list - although small numbers of cases have been reported across Europe.

There are two confirmed omicron cases in the UK.

All international arrivals will have to take a PCR test by the end of their second day in the UK, Boris Johnson announced yesterday evening as he prepared to reimpose measures to control the spread of coronavirus over fears the new strain could evade existing vaccines.

On Saturday evening Boris Johnson announced measures to try and curb the spread of the Omicron variant (

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Getty Images)

The Prime Minister said the "temporary and precautionary" measures will be reviewed in three weeks, while the Government's vaccine experts will be tasked with considering whether to extend booster jabs to all over-18s.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid will be questioned on the details of the restrictions, including on when exactly they will be introduced, during broadcast interviews on Sunday.

Mr Johnson announced the strengthening of England's rules at a Downing Street press conference, after two cases of Omicron were identified, in Nottingham and Brentwood, Essex, with both linked to travel to southern Africa.

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