The decision to lift the alcohol ban in the Western Cape expected ‘within a few days’

The decision to lift the alcohol ban in the Western Cape expected 'within a few days'

 

The Western Cape has stepped up its campaign to lift the ban on alcohol within its provincial borders, and Cabinet is expected to make a final decision on the matter at some point this week. Personalities from the regional government have already presented case to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

What arguments will the Western Cape present to lift the ban on alcohol?

Dr Saadiq Kariem is the Chief Director General of Specialized and Emergency Services in the province. The representative of the Western Cape Department of Health spoke with CapeTalk Monday morning, revealing exactly what arguments these provincial politicians have made to overturn the alcohol ban:

  • Cases of the virus have already peaked in the province.
  • The Western Cape has fewer than 1,000 coronavirus patients in general wards (931, to be precise).
  • There is over 30% capacity available for hospital beds in the province.
  • Four field hospitals are ready to take in patients, due to low demand, one in Khayelitsha is being dismantled.
  • The Western Cape economy is heavily dependent on alcohol, so lifting the alcohol ban is a “priority” here.

A decision is “imminent”

When asked for a concrete answer on when a decision could be expected, Dr Kariem revealed that the Cabinet is likely to come back to Prime Minister Alan Winde and at his “in the next few days”.

“We’re already coming out of our prime and our numbers are going , if I just look at yesterday’s current admissions of COVID-19. Our capacity is currently 69%, so we can cope with both the workload of COVID-19, the pandemic and we can cope with the rise in trauma again.

“We also have four field hospitals to absorb a higher number of beds. One of these facilities is being dismantled and moved to the Eastern Cape next week. Alan Winde is presenting at the NCCC, and we are aware that a provincial lifting of the alcohol ban could see more people coming to the Western Cape under false pretenses.

“The Prime Minister also mentioned that we will have a work team that will reduce the harm of alcohol in the future. We will increase our consultancy services and pilot projects in places like Heideveld have been successful. At some point this week we will have a response from Cabinet – our data and numbers have been presented.

Dr Saadiq Kariem

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