Cape Town: South Africa will reimpose a ban on the sale of alcohol and a nighttime curfew to reduce pressure on its hospitals as coronavirus infections rise rapidly.
While a night-time curfew has been imposed, the wearing of masks outdoors is now compulsory.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the alcohol ban – South Africa’s second this year – would take pressure off the national healthcare system.
South Africa has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa and is now recording the fourth-largest daily increase in new cases worldwide.
Deaths resulting from coronavirus have risen to more than 4,000, and government projections estimate this could rise to 50,000 by the end of the year.
South Africa remained the hardest-hit country on the continent, and earlier this week recorded its highest-ever single-day increase in cases. Nearly half of them were in Gauteng, a province that’s become the outbreak epicentre.
The government has also made 28,000 hospital beds available for Covid-19 patients. But President Ramaphosa said the country still faced a “serious” shortage of more than 12,000 healthcare workers, including nurses, doctors and physiotherapists.
The alcohol ban comes just weeks after another three-month ban was lifted in an effort to prevent drunken fighting, cut domestic violence and eliminate weekend binge-drinking prevalent across South Africa.
Doctors and police say the previous ban contributed to a sharp drop in emergency admissions to hospital. But the country’s brewers and wine makers complained they were being driven out of business.