South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has reimposed a ban on alcohol sales and ordered the closure of all bars as part of new restrictions to help the country battle a resurgence of the coronavirus, including a new variant.
In a nationwide address on Monday, the president also announced the closure of all beaches and public swimming pools in the country’s infection hotspots, which include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and several coastal areas.
The country will also extend its nighttime curfew by four hours, requiring all residents must be at home from 9pm until 6am, the president said.
“Reckless behavior due to alcohol intoxication has contributed to increased transmission. Alcohol-related accidents and violence are putting pressure on our hospital emergency units,” Ramaphosa said.
“As we had to in the early days of the lockdown, we now have to flatten the curve to protect the capacity of our healthcare system to enable it to respond effectively to this new wave of infections.”
Ramaphosa said the ban on selling alcohol and other new restrictions would take effect at midnight on Monday. They include the mandatory wearing of masks in public, and anyone found not wearing a mask in a public place will be subject to a fine or a criminal charge punishable by a possible jail sentence, the president said.
Ramaphosa said the increased restrictions are necessary because of a surge in Covid-19 infections which has pushed South Africa’s total confirmed virus cases past the 1 million mark.