- Doctors say that the reimplementation of the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol has already shown positive effects
- Trauma units have already noted a decrease in the number of patients being admitted as a result of the restrictions
- With Covid-19 placing pressure on an already-burdened healthcare sector, this seems to have been a move in the right direction
Just a few days after the return of the controversial ban on alcohol products under Level 3, hospitals are already reporting some relief. The effectiveness of the ban alongside a night-time curfew was debated by Dr Patricia Saffy, who heads the trauma unit at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg.
Saffy revealed that the decrease in trauma-related incidents and motor vehicle collisions was somewhat dramatic. Speaking to 702 on radio, Saffy confirmed that there had been a sudden plunge in incidents being admitted to her unit:
“This week we only saw 36 assaults, so there has been a massive drop. From a 100 per week to just 36 assaults. The trauma statistics have reduced tremendously due to the ban and curfew."
TimesLIVE reports that Carmen Miller, who heads the Groote Schuur Hospital, had confirmed the same:
“Our trauma patients have decreased since the alcohol ban, and that has made a difference. However, we must also think about our staff. Some of our staff are also testing positive and we need to accommodate them also.
"The week before the ban was reinstated we were seeing up to 123 patients a day and since the ban the assaults and gunshot wound cases have decreased amazingly."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za had reported that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize had called for the return of the ban, urging the National Coronavirus Command Council to reconsider its earlier decision to lift the prohibition.
Mkhize had justified this call by noting the increased pressure on hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients as well as liquor-related injuries:
“Studies have shown that the lifting of the lockdown and alcohol restrictions has actually led to a 40-50% increase in the number of people who are in the casualty wards and the spaces that we need in the theatres. It is actually overloading the staff.”
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