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South Africa has added alcohol restrictions. COVID-19 cases dropped

According to reports, South Africa has reinstated a strong COVID-19 lockdown, banning alcohol. Positive results may have followed.

Customers lineup to enter an hyper store in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Customers line up to enter a store in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Jerome Delay, Associated Press

South Africa has implemented a number of restrictions in its coronavirus lockdown, including a ban on alcohol sales. And it might be working to help the country curb the pandemic.

What’s happening:

Public health officials recently told CNN they “believe the drinking restrictions significantly reduced pressure on the country’s hospitals and have hailed the results as a policy success.”

South African banned alcohol at the end of March until June 1. But President Cyril Ramaphosa added the ban back on July 12, BBC News reports.

Ramaphosa said the country needed to avoid having drinking-related injuries in the hospital since resources needed to be used to fight COVID-19.

“It is vital that we do not burden our clinics and hospitals with alcohol-related injuries that could have been avoided. We have therefore decided that in order to conserve hospital capacity, the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol will be suspended with immediate effect.” — Ramaphosa said in a statement.

Experts said admissions and visits related to trauma dropped 60% during the time of the ban. But admissions increased between the two bans, according to BBC News.

  • “The ban definitely had a beneficial impact. There was a dramatic reduction in alcohol-related trauma admissions to hospitals. That would have included alcohol-based violence, gender-based violence, car accidents and so on.” — Maurice Smithers, chair of the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance, an advocacy organization, told CNN.