- Professor Shabir Madhi said the government's latest steps to fight the Covid-19 infections will not slow the rise of transmissions
- Madhi was referring to President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that taxis can now load 100% capacity
- Madhi said the infections will be made worse by the taxi industry which is already violating some regulations
South Africa's top scientist Professor Shabir Madhi has slammed the taxi regulations allowing the industry to load 100% capacity for short trips and 70% for long-distance trips.
Madhi said the new rules will increase the number of Covid-19 infections because of the close proximity of passengers to each other.
He added that this new regulation will do nothing to reduce the number of infections and the decision is not backed by science.
On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address announced an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol, introduced a curfew and also allowed taxis to load full capacity.
Madhi, professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, said government's taxi regulations are especially confusing in light of the fact that many people take more than one taxi to work.
Madhi is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) advising the government on the Covid-19 pandemic.
News24 reported that in an interview with the Madhi, who is currently busy with South Africa's first Covid-19 vaccine trials, the professor said he did not understand how the government was differentiating between long and short-distance trips.
"The reality is that, even in terms of local taxi transport, the time of exposure is usually about 15 to 20 minutes, which constitutes a close exposure. And in fact, the frequency of the close exposures are going to be even more common by taking short trips than taking long trips."
He said that the infections would be worst because some taxis are already breaking the regulations by not opening windows or enforcing masks to be worn.
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that two more 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.
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.
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 there is no reason for areas with low Covid-19 infections to close their alcohol industries because there is no pressure on their healthcare system.
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