By Simdi Gloria:-
After South Africa became the continent’s first to record one million coronavirus cases, PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA announced a new ban on alcohol sales and said mask-wearing will be mandatory in public.
Ramaphosa justified a raft of new measures by a “rapid rise” in infections, most by a new strain of the virus feared to be more contagious.
Fingers were pointed at “super-spreader” social events and an “extreme lack of vigilance over the holiday period”.
“We have let down our guard, and unfortunately we are now paying the price,” the president said during a solemn televised speech.
Ramphosa mentioned that data showed that “excessive alcohol consumption” leads to an increase in trauma cases reported at hospitals.
Such admissions put “an unnecessary strain on our already stretched public health facilities,” he said, announcing that the new ban would start from midnight.
According to him, more than 41,000 health workers have contracted Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The country will also be placed on a curfew which will now start at 9 pm — from 11 pm previously — while non-essential establishments such as shops, bars, and restaurants will close from 8 pm.
There will also be a prohibition in large gatherings for the next two weeks except for funerals which will be limited to 50 people.
South Africa has recorded over one million cases with about 27,000 deaths.
“Unless we act now and unless we act decisively, the number of new infections will far exceed what we experienced during the first wave and thousands of more people will lose their lives,” Ramaphosa said.
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