South Africa has introduced new restrictions, including another ban on alcohol sales, to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
A night curfew has been imposed and the wearing of a mask outside is now compulsory.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the alcohol ban – the second in South Africa this year – would lighten the national healthcare system.
It occurs when the total number of infections exceeds a quarter of a million.
Deaths from coronaviruses have also reached more than 4,000, and government projections estimate that figure could reach 50,000 by the end of the year.
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South Africa remains the hardest hit country on the continent, and earlier this week registered its largest increase in cases in a single day. Almost half of them were in Gauteng, a province that has become the epicenter of the epidemic.
In a public speech, Ramaphosa acknowledged that “most” people had taken steps to prevent the spread, but said there were still some who acted “with no responsibility to respect and protect themselves. “
“There are a number of people who have started partying, drinking, and some walking around in crowded spaces without wearing masks,” said the president.
Ramaphosa said new measures are being introduced to help the country weather the coronavirus storm and that the state of emergency will be extended until August 15. The night ban would be in effect from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The government has also made 28,000 hospital beds available for Covid-19 patients. But President Ramaphosa said the country still faces a “serious” shortage of more than 12,000 health workers, including nurses, doctors and physiotherapists.
The alcohol ban comes just weeks after the lifting of another three-month ban to prevent fighting against drunkards, reduce domestic violence, and eliminate widespread weekend binge drinking in South Africa.
Doctors and police say the previous ban has contributed to a sharp drop in emergency hospital admissions. But the country’s brewers and winegrowers complained about the closure of the business.