If you glanced at a TV or news website this weekend, you would have seen some terrifying headlines all featuring the word 'Omicron.'
That's the name of the new variant of COVID-19 that has popped up, prompting countries around the world — including ours — to enforce new travel restrictions.
Given COVID-19 has ruled our lives in the past two years, any mention of the word 'lockdown' or 'restriction' or 'new variant that might not respond to vaccines' is scary.
In response to Omicron concerns, any international arrivals into Victoria, ACT and NSW will now be required to self-isolate for at least 72 hours, regardless of vaccination status. https://t.co/DqnuAIwP60— Mamamia (@Mamamia) November 28, 2021
I didn't read all the details on the weekend. I couldn't bring myself to. It meant that I just saw the sensationalised headlines that, without any context, can very much feel like we're at the end of the world.
But when you actually do read the detail and listen to the experts, it's relieving, not worrying.
Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, was amongst the first to spot the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
She says the panic we've seen from countries closing down travel avenues is unnecessary, because even though the new variant appears to be highly transmissible, "we don't see severely ill patients."
'The hype that's been created currently out there doesn't correlate with the clinical picture.'— GB News (@GBNEWS) November 28, 2021
A South African doctor who was amongst the first in the country to spot the Omicron Covid-19 variant says the UK has panicked unnecessarily. pic.twitter.com/ZywuKSEe3H