Omicron coronavirus severity appears ‘mild’ so far, Asia Pacific health ministries say with caution


Several health ministries in the Asia Pacific region have said that while it’s too early to make firm conclusions, Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant appear to be “mild.”

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a news conference on Friday that while there is “no doubt” that the Omicron variant is transmissible, there is “no real evidence … of an increase in severity” compared to previous variants of Covid-19.

Of the 25 Omicron cases confirmed in the Australian state of New South Wales, the state most heavily impacted by the new variant, none were admitted to hospital for Covid-related care, officials said Monday.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s health agency, the KDCA, warned that while it is staying cautious, all of the country’s confirmed Omicron cases were “stable and mild so far.”

The country has so far reported 24 confirmed cases of the variant, one of the highest numbers recorded in Asia Pacific.

In addition, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said on Sunday that while “it is early days to conclude on the severity of the disease,” cases globally “have mostly displayed mild symptoms,” including a “sore throat, tiredness and cough.”

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also published a statement saying that while the evidence is evolving, “the severity of the disease is anticipated to be low.”

In Hong Kong, three of the Omicron cases confirmed there are being treated in hospital, which is a requirement of all people who test positive for Covid-19. Those infected and in the hospital are stable, the hospital authority said in a statement. Another patient has already been discharged and is in 14-day isolation, it added.