Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has issued a warning over liquor as the Eastern Cape continues to record large quantities of infections. Briefly.co.za explores the latest Covid-19 updates amid the pandemic.
Alcohol during the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown has been something of a controversial topic.
While bans were imposed on both liquor and tobacco during higher levels of the lockdown, the restrictions have been lifted and Dr Zweli Mkhize has once again weighed in.
Briefly.co.za explores the latest stories on the pandemic in SA.
1. Mkhize issued warning over booze in Eastern Cape
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize recently visited Nelson Mandela Bay amid concerns over the outbreak in the Eastern Cape.
Mkhize requested statistics for alcohol linked injuries and admissions in the metro, committing to announcing steps after the data is made available to him.
At Livingstone Hospital, the allocated facility aimed at treating Covid-19, officials lamented the strain of the increase in cases.
Shane Brown, head of the area's disaster management forum, says that there had been a spike in alcohol-linked injuries and accidents, straining an already trembling health care system.
Mkhize raised concerns over staff members, who he said should also feel safe as they carry the burden of the pandemic.
The Minister urged citizens to support medical professionals and called for understanding:
“Anybody who had a loved one in hospital with Covid-19 would know that there is nothing as difficult as those walls between the patient and their family. Nurses must stand in for all of this. We understand the problem. We must give support.”
2. Mkhize on latest statistics
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has weighed in on the Covid-19 pandemic, providing SA with an update on the latest figures.
In a statement issued by the Health Ministry on Tuesday evening, Mkhize commented that:
"As of today, the cumulative number of detected COVID-19 cases is 754 256 with 1 987 new cases identified since the last report."
The Minister also noted the latest number of fatalities in South Africa, reporting that:
"Regrettably, 119 more COVID-19 deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 36, Free State 22, Gauteng 42, Kwa-Zulu Natal 7, Mpumalanga 1 and Western Cape 11 which brings the total reported deaths to 20 433. Of the 118 deaths, 7 reportedly occurred in the past 48 hours: 3 in the Free State and 4 in the Western Cape."
Mkhize noted that recoveries now stand at 696 820 which translates to a recovery rate of 92,4%.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Mkhize had been vocal amid talks of the liquor ban being lifted ahead of the relaxation.
At the time, the Minister had insisted that the priority of the government should be ensuring hospitals can cope with the demand for space:
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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