As chair of the South African Medical Association and a GP of 33 years’ standing, I have seen a lot over my medical career.
But nothing has prepared me for the extraordinary global reaction that met my announcement this week that I had seen a young man in my surgery who had a case of Covid that turned out to be the Omicron variant.
This version of the virus had been circulating in southern Africa for some time, having been previously identified in Botswana.
But given my public-facing role, by announcing its presence in my own patient, I unwittingly brought it to global attention.
Quite simply, I have been stunned at the response – and especially from Britain.
And let me be clear: nothing I have seen about this new variant warrants the extreme action the UK government has taken in response to it.
No one here in South Africa is known to have been hospitalised with the Omicron variant, nor is anyone here believed to have fallen seriously ill with it.
Read more: I’ve seen nothing in this variant that warrants Britain’s extreme response to it: Dr AngeIque Coetzee, the doctor who alerted the world to the Omicron ‘Covid’ variant, says we are over-reacting to the threat