Infectious disease experts have issued a warning about assumptions around the severity of the new Covid-19 variant, saying this information isn't yet known.
Dr Richard Lessells, an infectious disease specialist who addressed parliament's health portfolio committee on Wednesday evening, said that though a majority of people were reporting mild symptoms it was still too early to tell how dangerous the Omicron variant was.
“Because we detected this so early, we don't really have a good sense of whether we will see severe cases or not. It's still early stages; this happened in the last week or two weeks, that's when cases started to rise.
“Though the virus is changing, a lot of the population is getting immunity either from vaccination or having got it before, so it’s hard to tell. It’s a completely different genetic from the Delta and other previous variants.
“We don’t know if this variant has a different incubation period. The average is five days, for some people it might be different,” Lessells said.