South Africa‘s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has been marked by one rather unique recurrence: the banning of the sale of alcohol out of fear that inebriation would lead to loss of inhibitions and then trigger the spread of the virus.
Alcohol sales are also very popular at most pubs and entertainment centers that bring South Africans in the major cities together.
On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa reimposed a ban on the sale of alcohol following a spike in the number of daily recorded cases in the Rainbow Nation. South Africa has also recorded the new variant of the coronavirus that was first detected in the United Kingdom.
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“Reckless behavior due to alcohol intoxication has contributed to increased transmission. Alcohol-related accidents and violence are putting pressure on our hospital emergency units.” the president said.
South African bars, beaches and swimming pools are also expected to close down in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban where the coronavirus has spread the most in the country. The country will also observe a curfew between 9 pm and 6 am.
Ramaphosa added: “Nearly 27,000 South Africans are known to have died from COVID-19. The number of new coronavirus infections is climbing at an unprecedented rate. More than 50,000 new cases have been reported since Christmas Eve.”
The alcohol sale ban was first imposed in April 2020 when the country first underwent a lockdown. Tobacco sales were also prohibited.
Meanwhile the country’s Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has reiterated the determination of authorities to clampdown on those who act in contravention of the ban.
“Don’t put alcohol in your teapots in restaurants. Don’t put alcohol in the bottles written 0% alcohol. We know your tricks, don’t do that,” Cele told a press conference on Tuesday.