Covid-19 update: Ramaphosa tackles liquor, Shoprite closes branches

Covid-19 update: Ramaphosa tackles liquor, Shoprite closes branches

President Cyril Ramaphosa has hinted at the possibility of the current alcohol restrictions being relaxed. explores this and four other updates on the situation in South Africa.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says a meeting will be held later this week over the controversial ban on alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown.

Meanwhile, two Shoprite branches have closed after employees contracted the virus in Cape Town. explores these stories and other updates on the crisis.

1. Covid-19: Ramaphosa hints at possible concession over liquor ban

President Cyril Ramaphosa's legal team have asked the Gauteng Liquor Board to hold off on their case.

The forum seeks to challenge the current restrictions on alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown, but it seems that the government may well already be contemplating changing the rules.

In a letter responding to the forum, the Presidency confirmed that the subject would be discussed in an upcoming meeting:

"The National Command Council, the Presidency and other relevant parties are meeting again this week, specifically to discuss the details of Government's economic assistance programme. This includes assistance offered to small businesses such as those of your clients, and other measures to mitigate the effects of the lockdown extension."

2. Covid-19: Shoprite closes two stores after employees test positive

Two Shoprite stores in Cape Town have been forced to take action and close after employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Bothasig branch closed last week while the Athlone store closed its doors on Sunday and will remain closed until further notice.

A Somerset West Pick n Pay has also been affected after a staff member was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The store was temporarily closed to allow for deep cleaning before operations resumed.

3. Covid-19: Reserve Bank cuts interest rates by 1% amid pandemic

The Reserve Bank has announced that it has cut interest rates by one percentage point on Tuesday.

This is the second time in less than a month, bringing the repo rate down to 4.25% with the 100 basis point cut.

In total, the Reserve Bank has cut the rate with 225 basis points this year with the latest cut closely following President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the coronavirus lockdown would be extended.

4. Covid-19: Expert warns lockdown will continue if cases aren't reduced

Professor Salim Abdool Karim has warned against ending the lockdown in a hurry, pointing out that lifting all regulations could see all the efforts put in rendered useless.

Part of the ministerial committee tackling the virus, Karim is already discussing a possible extension on the 34-day lockdown.

Karim says that if the number of infections exceeds 90 on a daily basis between 10 and 16 April the lockdown would need to be continued.

Either way, the professor says a systematic plan is needed to ease the lockdown when it comes to an end.

5. Covid-19: Mkhize announces 2 415 cases, Eastern Cape sees influx

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has risen to 2 415.

The number of tests carried out since the beginning of the outbreak is now nearing the 90 000 mark.

The minister received another donation of essential goods from China and thanked the country for standing by us during this 'difficult time'.

Mkhize says that the relations between South Africa and China have been strengthened in the face of the crisis:

"Today we mark the arrival of yet another consignment delivery of critical and essential cargo. The Chinese South African kinship is strengthened through the joint partnership in the fight against coronavirus."

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