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Alcohol Banned With “Immediate Effect” – Ramaphosa

Article by: Natalie Müller

President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed the nation at 20:00 this evening, Sunday 12 July 2020, on the developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19.

The President’s address follows a number of meetings of the Cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council and the President’s Coordinating Council.

Ramaphosa has unexpectedly announced that the sale and transportation of alcohol in South Africa has been banned with immediate effect.

This stemming from what the President stressed as, an anticipation of the surge in Covid-19 patients requiring hospital admission. Since the uplifting of the ban on alcohol sales, the healthcare system has reportedly seen an increase in trauma unit patients, admitted on alcohol related incidents.

He further said government has been working hard to ensure health care facilities across the country have the resources and capacity to care for the sick.

With coronavirus cases reaching record highs across the country, additional measures are being implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the pressure on our health system – Ramaphosa

The Sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol has been suspended with immediate effect and a Curfew will be implemented from 9pm to 4am tomorrow. Social gatherings and family visits remain prohibited said Ramaphosa in his speech.

Regulations reintroduced with immediate effect

Among these is a re-ban on the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol as well as the reintroduction of a curfew between 9pm and 4am. While interprovincial taxi capacity will remain at 70%, local taxis will now be able to ferry 100% loads. However, operators will be expected to follow new risk mitigation protocols related to masks, vehicle sanitising and open windows.

Regulations on the wearing of masks, which has been mandatory, will be strengthened.

“As we head towards the peak of infections, it is vital that we do not burden our clinics and hospitals with alcohol-related injuries that could have been avoided. This is a fight to save every life and we need to save every bed,” said Ramaphosa.

He said Cabinet has resorted to this measure in an effort to conserve hospital capacity as evidence had illustrated that the resumption of alcohol sales has resulted in a substantial pressure on the country’s hospitals.

“Most of these and other trauma injuries occur at night,” the President said.

Cabinet has resorted to these as both public and private hospitals were beginning to take strain.

The country has to date conducted two million tests and 20 million screenings. In the past three months, 28 000 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients have been availed, while functional field hospitals across the country have also been constructed.

“We now have over 37 000 quarantine beds in private and public facilities across the country, ready to isolate those who cannot do so at home. We have secured 1 700 additional ventilators, and companies in South Africa are in the process of producing another 12 000 ventilation devices for delivery between the end of July and the end of August.”

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