The premier says the provincial coronavirus command council has not made a decision on whether the ban on the sale of alcohol should be reinstated.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the provincial government is “deeply concerned” about the surge of alcohol-related trauma cases in the province since the start of level 3 lockdown on 1 June.
Makhura was on Friday giving an update by the provincial coronavirus command council (PCCC), which included the province’s response to health infrastructure, the reopening of schools and the response to the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Makhura said since the start of level 3 lockdown which saw the ban on the sale of alcohol being lifted, there has been an increase in the number of hospital admissions due to alcohol-related incidents such as motor vehicle accidents and fights, among others.
The premier said the impact the reopening of the sale of alcohol has had on the province’s health facilities will be taken up with the national government.
He said the increase in the number of trauma cases had resulted in these patients using up hospital beds which were meant for Covid-19 patients and those of other diseases.
Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, said the provincial government has been considering stricter regulations on the sale of alcohol “beyond Covid-19”, a matter which he said had been a consideration even before the pandemic.
The MEC said the PCCC understood the calls made by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane for a renewed ban of alcohol sales because the lift on the ban had impacted the healthcare system.
Masuku said the PCCC would take part in the discussions at national level with the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) on the impact the lift on the ban of the sale of alcohol has had on the healthcare sector.
Makhura said the “cumulative impact” the lift on the ban of alcohol has had on the healthcare system was visible, with wards and beds in hospital trauma units being filled up or used up due to the increase in the number of alcohol-related trauma cases.
However, he said the PCCC had not taken a decision on whether the ban should be reinstated and would only do so in the coming days once it has received reports from Masuku.
Makhura said Masuku is compiling reports on the impact the sale of alcohol is having on the province’s health care facilities, evidence which will be considered when the matter is debated.
“We will make a decision when that time comes,” Makhura said.
– The Citizen