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Ban on booze sales no longer necessary for Covid-19 mitigation - Prof Karim

14 August 2020 8:31 AM
Tags:
Alcohol ban
COVID-19
Prof Salim Karim
Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

Inter-provincial travel is no longer a risk and ban on alcohol sales no longer needed, say Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory chair.

Inter-provincial travel will no longer be a risk at this stage and the prohibition on alcohol is no longer necessary, say Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee chair Professor Salim Kariem.

Prof Karim says it was originally anticipated that South Africa would see its peak at some point in August or September.

The way in which the epidemic unfolded was that it started much more quickly than we thought in the Western Cape and then when Gauteng followed when we eased restrictions it grew quite rapidly.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

The situation now is that we've had very consistently over more than two weeks, declines in most of our provinces.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

He says the larger provinces have giving most cause for concern, Kwa-Zulu Natal in particular most recently.

But it's been good to see that over the last several days it has also shown a clear and consistent decline.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

He says he is very optimistic at the moment.

In a situation like this there is not much good news, it is good to see the way the epidemic is now easing.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

In assessing recoveries and a turn for the better, he explains, from a medical perspective, a number of indicators need to be monitored and be found to be consistent.

We want to see that it's consistent. And the consistency comes across when we look at cases, hospital admissions, and we look at deaths - and in this particular case, it is consistent across the board.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

Hospital admissions have, in fact, seen a sharp decline, he adds.

Overall that gives us much more confidence that this decline is not fly-by-night. It looks like it is a solid downward decline.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

With two field hospitals in the Western Cape being decommissioned, he reminds South Africans that while this is good news the virus will be with us for a long time to come.

We hope that it will be at a low simmering level rather than explosive outbreaks...and we contain the small outbreaks that occur.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

Citizens need to keep up the three key measures of maintaining social distance, mask-wearing, and hand sanitising - which has been shown in many countries to successfully ensure this virus can be contained, he adds.

You cannot say you have eliminated this virus. It is always here and is always a threat right now until we have a vaccine or a cure.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

Can we move to alert level 2 and re-introduce inter-provincial travel and the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, asks Refilwe?

WIth regard to things like alcohol, we are largely around ensuring that key health services that we need for Covid - our casualty departments, emergency rooms, theatres, ICUs beds, our oxygen - are available for Covid patients.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

With Covid-19 hospital admissions declining, the pressure on hospitals has been relieved, he notes.

So there's no good reason for continuing those kinds of restrictions if you;re looking at the availability of health care services.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

Provinces are all displaying a decline in Covid-19 numbers.

All the provinces are showing a downward trend, sufficiently so, that the risk is steadily declining across the board, so I see no reason why inter-provincial travel should be a problem at this stage.

Prof Salim Karim, Chairperson - Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

Listen to the interview below:


14 August 2020 8:31 AM
Tags:
Alcohol ban
COVID-19
Prof Salim Karim
Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee

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