The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance has reportedly called for tough restrictions on the access of alcohol, as a move to respond to the threatening third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes as the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the country has increased, with the Free State, Gauteng, and Eastern Cape now effectively experiencing the third wave, according to reports.
A report by EWN said the alliance called on the government to strengthen the current alcohol restrictions and not wait until the health system became overburdened.
“The in and out of banning is not working, it’s causing a lot of economic pain for people,” the alliance’s director Maurice Smithers said.
IOL quoted Smithers as saying the government had some tough decisions to make to curb a resurgence in infections.
“Alcohol consumption should not aggravate the predicted impact of the third wave.
“We have seen the additional burden on the healthcare system caused by trauma cases related to harmful drinking, through car crashes, incidents of interpersonal violence, and gender-based violence,” said Smithers.
The health department said last week that while the upward trend in cases across SA was “worrying”, the country was not yet in a third wave of the pandemic.
“We want to assure South Africans that we have not yet hit the third wave; however, we are at risk and we hence need to be on heightened vigilance as a country,” Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said.