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South Africa lifts ban on alcohol and cigarettes sale

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A clear sign of victory over the deadly coronavirus is recorded as South Africa lifts its ban on alcohol and cigarette sales after an ease on control measures to level two.

Alcohol, Cigarette and tobacco sales were banned to curb the spread of coronavirus through sharing cigarettes and to reduce the burden on hospitals to deal with alcohol-related injuries. However, the ban was lifted on Tuesday showing signs of improvement in the fight against the novel corona virus.

With over 580,000 reported cases, South Africa becomes the continent’s worst affected country by the COVID-19 pandemic. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the decline in the number of new infections would see bars being allowed to re-open and small family and social visits permitted.

Despite the ban on alcohol and cigarettes, the 10:00 pm curfew and wearing of face masks is still compulsory in public areas and  International borders will remain closed and gatherings are still capped at 50 people.

A sharp decline in the number of new daily confirmed cases had dropped from over 12,000 to an average of 5,000 over the past week hence the relaxation of some restrictions.

“As we look back at the past five months, all indications are that South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve,” said the President calling on South Africans not to let their guard down or “become complacent” despite “signs of hope”.

South Africa’s economy was not spared by the effects of covid-19 as a notable decline in growth was recorded even before the pandemic. The negative growth was experienced across the world. The announcements by President Ramaphosa should bring a much-needed boost to South Africa’s ailing economy.

In the same vein, South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party said the economy had already been “killed” bemoaning the closure of borders for international holiday makers.

“These restrictions should have been lifted months ago,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement, calling for urgent economic reforms and for international tourists to be allowed back.

“We are now in the midst of a devastating economic depression, and all that matters now is getting as many South Africans working as we possibly can.”

South Africa’s population is currently around 50 million people.

 

Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC NEWS Correspondent

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