Covid-19 update: Tobacco judgement reserved, KZN expected to peak soon

Covid-19 update: Tobacco judgement reserved, KZN expected to peak soon

The High Court has reserved judgement in BATSA's battle to see the tobacco ban overturned. Briefly.co.za explores the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in SA.

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The legal challenge to see the tobacco ban overturned has seen the court opting to reserve judgement on the matter.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned that KwaZulu-Natal will be reaching peak infections soon.

Briefly.co.za takes a look at the latest stories on the pandemic below:

1. Judgement reserved in BATSA tobacco ban battle

The High Court has opted to reserve judgement in British American Tobacco's court battle over the ban.

The government had defended its position on the matter, arguing that the ban was implemented to save lives and limit the spread of Covid-19.

BATSA, on the other hand, insists that the ban is unconstitutional and argued that the damage done by the ban outweighs the benefits by far. eNCA reports that Advocate Alfred Cockrell, arguing for British American Tobacco, told the full bench of judges:

“The rights to make those decisions include the right to make a decision that may be a wrong one, even if it is harmful to you.”
Covid-19 update: Tobacco judgement reserved, KZN expected to peak soon

Mkhize warned that KZN is expected to see more cases at its peak than the Western Cape. Image: GCIS
Source: UGC

READ ALSO: Ban the ban: Citizens reject government's tobacco, liquor restrictions

2. KZN will peak soon - Minister Mkhize

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says that KwaZulu-Natal is set to exceed the Western Cape in Covid-19 infections.

The province is set to reach its peak in coming weeks, according to the minister, who is conducting a two-day visit to ensure the region is ready to cope with the surge of cases.

Mkhize highlighted the importance of focusing on KZN after the province overtook Gauteng in the number of new cases:

"The trends of an early surge in the Western Cape and peak and plateau is confirmed as a reality. Numbers are increasing in KZN. The surge came about two weeks after the Eastern Cape and six or so behind the Western Cape. We must focus on KZN."

News24 reports that Mkhize had issued a warning that the province may become SA's new epicentre if infections continue to climb:

"During next week, KZN will have more positive patients than what the Western Cape had. In some of the [recent] days in KZN, there are more positive cases per 24 hours than Gauteng. The province needs to be ready. KZN is on course for a surge."

READ ALSO: Mkhize doesn't think SA is ready to lift liquor, tobacco bans

3. Mkhize updates SA on latest statistics

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has provided South Africa with an update on the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement issued by the Health Ministry on Thursday evening, Mkhize confirmed that:

"As of today, a cumulative total of 538 184 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa have been recorded."

In addition to the latest number of cases, the minister noted a rise in fatalities, commenting that:

"Regrettably we report 306 new Covid-19-related deaths: 66 from Eastern Cape, 75 from Gauteng, 78 from KwaZulu-Natal, 46 from Western Cape, 23 from Free State and 18 from Northern Cape. This brings the cumulative number of deaths to 9 604."

In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize insists that South Africa is not ready to lift the restrictions banning the sale of alcohol and tobacco products.

The minister says that, despite reduced pressure on hospitals and a high recovery rate, there is still a long journey to the point where the government can consider relaxing the ban:

"Our position is very simple. When we see that the numbers are improving and the need and pressure for beds is not so threatening to the lives of our people, we'll reconsider this. We haven't come to that point yet."

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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