WC Health Dept: Trauma-related cases on NYE dropped by 65% due to alcohol ban

The provincial Health Cape Department said this has helped them with more beds being available in hospitals.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - The latest alcohol sales ban may irk those who like a drink but for frontline healthcare workers, it's given them much-needed relief.

The Western Cape Department of Health has on Thursday confirmed there's been a marked drop in alcohol-related trauma cases across the province in some of the biggest public medical facilities like Tygerberg, Groote Schuur and Karl Bremer hospitals.

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The first booze ban was lifted on 1 June last year after more two months under the hard lockdown. And it worked in freeing up bed space in trauma units.

From 13 July to 17 August, there was a second ban on liquor sales.

Over that period, the Western Cape saw a 48% weekend and 32% daily drop in alcohol-related traumas.

The provincial health department’s Dr Saadiq Kariem said: “That date alone we’d look specifically at the impact of alcohol and try and cancel out the confounding effect of the movement of people.”

When the president announced another total ban on alcohol sales on 28 December and moved the country to level 3 of the lockdown, as expected trauma cases linked to alcohol dropped by 47% on weekends and a 58% daily decrease in that province.

“When there is a complete alcohol ban, we have a far greater and a far more drop in our trauma presentations.”

He said this had helped them with more beds being available in hospitals.

Kariem said the biggest drop was on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day when there was a 65% drop in trauma cases linked to liquor abuse - compared to the same period in 2019.

READ MORE: Alcohol ban infringes on the rights of South Africans

Meanwhile on Thursday, the South African Breweries said it has approached the courts to challenge government’s ban on the sale of alcohol.

It said its approach to the courts was the last resort to save all the livelihoods it supported.

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