The South African Medical Association (SAMA) wants the country to be taken back to level 2 lockdown – with more stringent restrictions on gatherings.
South Africa has officially recorded more than one million cumulative cases of COVID-19, with the Department of Health announcing a total of 1 004 413. In the past 24-hour cycle alone, the country recorded 9,502 infections. An additional 214 deaths have been reported, bringing the total death toll in the country to 26,735.
Healthcare workers have flagged growing pressures in the as doctors and nurses say they were unable to cope with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals.
SAMA’s director of the alcohol and tobacco unit Angelique Coetzee on Sunday said the rapid spread of the virus was caused by residents not wearing masks and failing to follow all heath protocols. Coetzee said level 2 lockdown should be re-introduced as gatherings and on-premises alcohol consumption were a problem.
“Moving to level 2 lockdown has certain advantages but it’s not enough to decrease alcohol trauma, which is putting pressure on hospitals at the moment and we should consider suspending on-premises liquor sales until 3 January. Meanwhile, it’s only a matter of time before President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation once again after chairing an emergency meeting with the national coronavirus command council (NCCC).
The NCCC, which determines the lockdown regulations, met on Sunday amid a dramatic spike in COVID-19 infections. With government tight-lipped on what exactly was under discussion, expectations are that stricter restrictions will be implemented. Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams on Sunday said the outcomes of the high-level meeting were still being discussed. “Once that process has been completed, the president will then address the nation.”
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