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South African medical association: Omicron variant causes ‘mild disease’

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The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus results in mild disease, without prominent symptoms, according to the South African Medical Association.

As the world reacts with concern to the new variant of COVID-19, officials in South Africa have called for calm.

Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, says the symptoms of the new variant aren’t as severe as the original.

“It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer loss of taste or smell.”

“They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home,” Coetzee said.

Vaccination hope

The official noted that hospitals have not been overburdened by Omicron patients and that the new strain is not been detected in vaccinated persons. However, the situation might be different for the unvaccinated. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations.

The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. 

“We will only know this after two weeks. Yes, it is transmissible, but for now, as medical practitioners, we do not know why so much hype is being driven as we are still looking into it.”

“We will only know after two to three weeks as there are some patients admitted and these are young people aged 40 and younger,” Coetzee added. 

The chairwoman also criticised the decision by some countries to ban flights from South Africa is premature.

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Tonga welcomes more foreign aid as recovery continues

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Aid is trickling into Tonga from around the world, as more governments deploy ships and flights to the island nation following the massive tsunami on Saturday

The underwater volcano explosion triggered tsunami waves across the Pacific, claiming the lives of at least three people in Tonga.

The wild weather event caused significant damage and crippled communications – the true extent of the damage is still unknown.

A New Zealand vessel which is expected to arrive on Friday is the first major supply ship to pending to dock.

The captain of the HMNZS Aotearoa had earlier told ticker NEWS partner Reuters that the ship was carrying 250,000 litres of water, along with other supplies. The UN says clean water supplies are the top priority for the Pacific nation.

Australia has also deployed its largest ship, the HMAS Adelaide.

The vessel set sail bound for Tonga on Friday. The ship can carry helicopters which can be deployed from the ship to bring supplies to Tonga’s smaller outer islands.

That vessel is due to arrive mid-next week.

The UK also announced on Friday it was also redeploying its HMS Spey to the Tongan response and had sent aid supplies ahead with the Australian ship.

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17 dead after immense explosion rocks western Ghana

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17 people have died in Western Ghana after a truck carrying mining explosives collided with a motorcycle sparking an explosion

The explosion has left hundreds of buildings destroyed, many feared to be trapped among the rubble.

The accident happened around midday, near the mining city of Bogoso, 300km west of the West African country’s capital of Accra.

The exact number of casualties so far stands at 17, with authorities on the ground confirming another 59 are in hospital.

However, the head of the Prestea Huni-Valley municipal government where the explosion took place, Isaac Dsamani, told local media that officials had counted “about 17 dead bodies” so far.

According to reports, at least 57 who were injured had been taken to local hospitals.

More than 500 buildings have been destroyed.

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Ivanka Trump to be investigated

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The US House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots is now requesting to speak with Ivanka Trump

Ivanka is Donald Trump’s daughter and was a senior White House advisor during the insurrection.

The request marks a major step forward in the investigation, as the panel closes in on the former president and his inner circle.

The committee publicly released a letter addressed to Ivanka… seeking “voluntary cooperation”.

The letter also includes testimony regarding Trump’s efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of the attack.

A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump has refused to respond as to whether the former president’s daughter will cooperate.

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