OREANDA-NEWS. Symptoms of the Omicron coronavirus strain have so far been mild and similar to those of influenza. Unben Pillay, a doctor in South Africa, told Bloomberg.

"We have seen patients with flu symptoms - dry cough, fever, night sweats and general body aches,"- he said.

All of these symptoms are similar to those seen in other waves of COVID-19, the doctor said, but research into the new strain is just beginning.

Earlier, on 28 November, South African doctor Angelique Coetzee also reported that the symptoms of the new strain, unlike earlier strains, were mild. She added that those infected often complained of severe fatigue.

The new variant COVID-19 was first identified in South Africa on 11 November, the country's health minister Joe Faala reported. On 26 November the WHO gave B.1.1.529 the name "omicron" and declared it a global threat because of its spread.

In addition to South Africa, cases of infection with the omicron strain have also been found in Botswana, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Hong Kong and other countries. Some states, including Morocco, Israel and Japan, have temporarily closed their borders to foreigners.

Rospotrebnadzor head Anna Popova has announced that those returning to Russia from countries where a high risk of being infected with the Omicron strain has been identified will have to spend 14 days in quarantine. In addition, PCR tests in Russia will be shortened to 48 hours because of the new strain.