South Africa to resume alcohol and cigarette sales after lockdown
The purchase of booze and cigarettes was banned when South Africa went into a strict nation-wide lockdown on March 27 to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Alcohol sales were prohibited to ease pressure on hospitals, allowing doctors in emergency wards to focus on COVID-19 rather than road accidents and other booze-related injuries.
Tobacco products were restricted because of the health impacts of smoking as well as the risk of contamination between people sharing cigarettes.
“Restrictions on the sale of tobacco will be lifted, the suspension of the sale of alcohol will be lifted subject to certain restrictions,” on Monday, Ramaphosa said as he addressed the nation, adding that significant progress had been made against the disease.
South Africa still has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with 583,653 infections registered to date.
But Ramaphosa noted that the number of new daily confirmed cases had dropped from a peak of over 12,000 to an average of 5,000 over the past week.
The number of active cases has declined to around 105,000 and the recovery rate risen to 80 percent.
“As we look back at the past five months, all indications are the South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve,” Ramaphosa said, calling on South Africans not to let their guard down despite “signs of hope”.
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