Lockdown and alcohol ban extension expected
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Durban - The country was expected to remain in lockdown level four with an alcohol ban extension in the new week.
Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) was expected to meet on Sunday to assess developments with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and the national response.
“The Council’s deliberations come towards the end of a two-week period during which the country has been in implemented Alert Level Four of the coronavirus National State of Disaster. The Council meeting will be followed by meetings of the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet.”
It was expected that following the meetings, President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the nation.
Ramaphosa moved the country to lockdown Level 4 on June 27, where strict restrictions on gatherings, the sale of alcohol, and a new evening curfew were introduced.
A well-placed source said the Security Cluster of Ministers recently met and resolved to recommend to NCCC that the alcohol ban be extended.
It was believed that the cluster was of the opinion that the current unrest and protests over the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma in KwaZulu-Natal would worsen if the alcohol ban ended.
A member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, who requested to remain anonymous, said recommendations had been made for the country to remain in lockdown alert level four as the country was still in the midst of the third wave.
“The issue is that infections have continued to rise even though we have been in Level Four, but it has only been two weeks, so we would need more time which would be an extension, but a balance still needs to be struck. Ultimately, government will make the call after recommendations are made.”
Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said the Delta variant was the dominant driving force behind the third wave.
“As the number of infections and hospitalisations increase, so has the number of deaths. This means more of us are losing loved ones, mothers, fathers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and colleagues. This is because often, when we see the numbers rising, it never occurs to us that that number may include a loved one until they are hospitalised or lose their life.
Let us continue to be vigilant and take necessary measures to protect ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbours and all the people around us by taking the necessary non-pharmaceutical measures to break transmission.”
Advocate Pravashini Govender, speaking on behalf of the country’s alcohol industry, sent a plea in the form of a joint-letter to the NCCC to save thousands of jobs by permitting the off-consumption sale of alcohol from Monday 12 July.
“We are asking for off-site consumption licensed premises be allowed to trade from Monday to Friday between 09:00 to 18:00; and on-site consumption licensed premises such as taverns and bars be allowed to trade, but only for off-consumption sales. Restaurants offer home delivery of food and alcohol as well as the e-commerce sale of alcohol.”