- Medical experts warn that the healthcare system will still be under strain even beyond the peak of Covid-19
- They have suggested keeping the restrictions on alcohol in order to reduce the strain on healthcare
- The experts are also proposing an increase on alcohol tax in order to discourage alcohol abuse in the country
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Medical experts at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) have warned that alcohol abuse will continue to have a serious impact on the country’s healthcare sector, even after the peak of the Covid-19 virus.
Presenting in parliament on 15 July, the SAMRC’s Professor Charles Parry revealed how around 31% of South Africans drink alcohol, with approximately 43.2% of males being drinkers and 19.4% of females.
Parry said the average South African drinks around 65 grams of alcohol per day, which equates to about five or six drinks per drinker each day. 59% of drinkers binge drink at least once a month.
Between 6-8% of all deaths in the country can also be attributed to alcohol. This is equivalent to 171 deaths a day or 62 300 in a year.
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BusinessTech reported that in his presentation, Parry showed how Covid-19 cases went up from the start of June when the country moved to lockdown Level 3.
Parry said that there is clear evidence of the impact of alcohol on the healthcare sector. Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health has agreed to formulate an ‘action plan’ around the issue of alcohol abuse in South Africa.
Parry also presented information on possible alternatives as well as further restrictions to the full-blown ban on alcohol sales which has been introduced.
He suggested that to curb the alcohol abuse in the country, the government should look at further taxes for beer and spirits and also raising the legal drinking age to 19.
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that the restaurant industry will be taking to the streets next week to call to attention the repercussions the national lockdown has had on the sector.
The restaurant sector is planning a nationwide protest on Wednesday, 22 July. Restaurant workers will be blocking roads outside their premises to call attention to the struggles they are facing.
The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) has sent a letter to the SAPS informing them of the protest.
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