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Just when we were beginning to relax, planning end of year celebrations and long-awaited holidays, SARS-CoV-2 has mutated into a new variant that has shattered the complacency of the past few months.

While there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth SA scientists did the right thing in announcing to the world they had identified a new variant of concern on Thursday afternoon and classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday as Omicron a variant of concern. There is a lot we don't know about Omicron, but markets have been forced to reassess the global growth outlook. Pfizer expects to know within two weeks if Omicron is resistant to its current vaccine, others suggest it may take several weeks. Until then, markets are likely to remain jittery.

Is the hype justified and what does it mean for business into December? To find out, Michael Avery is joined by Prof Adrian Puren, head of the Centre for HIV and STIs and currently acting director at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD); Dr Stavros Nicolaou, head of the health working group for Business for SA (B4SA); Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) CEO; and Dr Angelique Coetzee, the head of the SA Medical Association.

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