SAMRC concerned about impact of alcohol use on COVID cases in Gauteng

The province has the highest cases of COVID-19 as the country is in the grips of a third wave.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) on Monday said it was concerned about social gatherings and alcohol use in Gauteng.

The province has the highest cases of COVID-19 as the country is in the grips of a third wave.

The council said the impact of alcohol use could see the number of trauma cases in hospitals spiking and adding more burden to the province's healthcare facilities.

The council's Charles Parry said not enough had been done to curb the spread of the virus and of the alcohol.

“What’s going on in Gauteng with the increased pressure on hospitals is really raising a big question about whether we’ve done enough to curb alcohol use. We have closed restaurants but is that sufficient and have we done enough in that province? We’ve probably not done enough to curb the spread of the virus.”

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Meanwhile, the National Liquor Traders Council said instead of more alcohol restrictions, government must work with businesses and society to improve COVID-19 compliance.

Convener Lucky Ntimane said there was no reason to believe harsher restrictions would make a difference.

“Seeing that there hasn’t been a lot of policing to compliance to begin with, there’s been more focus on policing behaviour where we always hear people say when others are drunk, they forget about protocols. I think that is not the case, the case is that we shouldn’t allow environments that give rise to such from happening in the first place.”

He said there was no reason why government should again ban alcohol sales.

“There’s no scientific evidence that banning alcohol really deals with the issue of COVID. We know the link has always been made that alcohol causes trauma cases and we’ve rejected such a notion.”

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