Alcohol ban: Western Cape, Gauteng & Eastern Cape hint at reinstating restrictions

Premiers of the three provinces with the highest number of Covid-19 infections have all hinted at formally requesting the ban on the sale of liquor be re-instated as alcohol-related incidents are on the rise

Western Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape have the most infections in the country and figures have sharply increased since the move to Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown.

First to make the call to reinstate the liquor ban was Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said there has been a marked increase in alcohol abuse cases.

"I need you to be self-disciplined. What we have seen in some areas is the abuse of alcohol. In terms of trauma, we have also seen some strain on our hospitals. You are putting yourself and others in danger," Winde said.

Responsibly

Hinting at the possible reinstatement of the alcohol ban, Winde said: "Please drink responsibly and play your part. If this doesn't happen, we will have no choice but to explore alternative steps to ensure that this happens."

Head of Western Cape Health Dr Keith Cloete said trauma cases at the province's five biggest hospitals have increased since Level 3 of the lockdown.

The affected hospitals are George, Heideveld Emergency Centre, Tygerberg Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital and Mitchells Plain Hospital.

"In the last week before Level 3… basically the last week of May we had 402 trauma cases with an average of 54 cases per day. At the start of the month (June), we saw 685 cases of trauma – on average 90 cases per day (so far). About 60% of these incidents were fueled by alcohol," he said.

The Western Cape accounts for about 60% of those cases at 42 539 while Gauteng holds the second spot with 11 164 and the Eastern Cape with 10 027.

In the Western Cape, Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 1 083 people and 277 in the Eastern Cape. In Gauteng 81 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported.

By Sunday 1,12 million tests have been conducted cumulatively with a total of 34 071 new tests.

The recoveries to date are 38 531, which translates to a recovery rate of 55%.

News24 reported last week that Mabuyane announced that he intends to lobby national government to reinstate a liquor ban under Level 3 lockdown for his province, due to fears that alcohol would be harmful in the battle against Covid-19 infections.

Mabuyane is expected to petition the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to have the ban on alcohol reintroduced in his province.He said the province had seen a surge in alcohol-related incidents since the country moved to Level 3.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura is yet to announce whether they would support the ban on liquor.