- On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a ban on alcohol sales while also allowing taxis to load 100% capacity
- Two experts who are also part of the Ministerial Advisory Committee have slammed these latest steps to try and reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus
- The experts questioned why the alcohol industry had to be closed while increasing risk with full taxi loads
On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol. The resident also introduced a 9pm to 4am curfew that kicked in on Monday night.
Ramaphosa announced that these measures were put in place in order to try and curb the spread of Covid-10 infections, which are soaring. Ramaphosa said alcohol-linked cases were straining the healthcare system.
The announcement on the reinstatement of the ban on booze took everyone by surprise, including the alcohol industry, which says they were blindsided. While banning alcohol, Ramaphosa also announced that taxis would now be allowed to ferry passengers at 100% for short trips and 70% for long-distance trips.
Two medical experts have expressed concern following government's puzzling renewed ban on alcohol sales and regulations on taxi capacity.
The experts, who also serve on the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), said government needs to come up with a more comprehensive plan on how to manage the increase in Covid-19 infections.
News24 reported that Dr Angelique Coetzee, the president of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) and member of the MAC, said the ban on alcohol would impact workers' livelihoods and a better plan to deal with the virus was needed.
She added that the country has a problem of alcohol abuse and this contributed to the rise in alcohol-linked trauma cases in hospitals.
Coetzee said the government needed to come up with a solution that was "less harsh". She questioned why the government could risk loading 100% on taxis but not risk coming up with a better solution than closing the alcohol industry.
Professor Francois Venter, the head of the Ezintsha Health Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand and member of the MAC, said there were more creative ways to relieve some pressure on the healthcare system other than an alcohol ban.
Venter said while an argument could be made to ban alcohol in hard-hit provinces like Gauteng, "there is no reason" the ban should apply in areas which did not have high Covid-19 infections as healthcare systems in these areas were under less stress.
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has defended the ban on alcohol.
Dlamini-Zuma said the ban on booze wasn't to limit individual rights but rather to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Dlamini-Zuma claimed that there was evidence to support their decision, but she simply wasn’t in possession of it at that moment.
She said that alcohol brings people together and when this happens, there is no social distancing or sanitising. She added that they have received many letters from doctors who are complaining about the strain on the healthcare system because of alcohol cases.
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