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Alcohol Ban As COVID-19 Cases Surge In South Africa

NEWS: The government of South Africa bans the sale and distribution of alcohol during the nationwide lockdown. This comes after the volume of trauma patients has spiked at hospitals critically impacting the number of available beds for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. President Ramaphosa has stated, with the advice of expert health officials, has warned of a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen units and healthcare workers as South Africa approaches their peak of COVID-19 cases.

According to Johns Hopkins University, South Africa ranks at the 9th country with the most affected by the coronavirus with an increase of over 10,000 confirmed cases. It was in June 2020 that the National Coronavirus Command Council had rolled out the relaxation of the Level 5 hard-lockdown. The unbanning of the sale and distribution of alcohol allowed liquor outlets to operate Monday to Thursday. Within weeks, the country’s health officials noted a surge in hospitalisation and COVID-19 cases, prompting the government to reimpose the ban on alcohol sales.

In his nation-address on Sunday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa has also imposed a nighttime curfew as a preventative measure. The number of traffic-related accidents has also contributed to the volume of casualty patients. Prior to the impact of COVID-19 in the country, alcohol-related incidents make up 40 per cent of hospital admissions at South African hospitals, with an average of 34,000 trauma cases at emergency casualty units. Ramaphosa also hit back at irresponsible South Africans who have flouted the guidelines in respect to large social gatherings, parties and overcrowded funerals, saying these gatherings have contributed significantly to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

Disgruntled liquor outlet owners take to the streets over the reintroduction of alcohol ban, while consumers are protesting in and around Durban after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the latest ban on booze sales. Dheven Govindasami from the Private Security Company PT Tactical spoke to SABC Newsbreak regarding the situation on the ground.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has announced the new lockdown regulations after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared an extension of the State of Disaster to curb the coronavirus. The country will remain on lockdown level three. Director of the Anti-Drug Forum SA at Chatsworth south of Durban – Sam Pillay, says even though the government has now reintroduced the ban on the sale of alcohol- the black market trade will thrive and people will still be able to access their favourite drink.

South Africa remains under level 3 lockdown. On the continent, Africa’s 54 countries report 577,904 cases, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The continent’s confirmed cases are concentrated in four countries – South Africa, Egypt with 81,158 cases, Nigeria with 31,987 cases, and Algeria with 18,712 cases, which together make up more than 65 percent of the continent’s total cases.

Source inputs: SABC NEWS | National Institute for Communicable Diseases. (NICD)

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