In This Country, a COVID Curfew, Reimposed Booze Ban

South Africa's president says steps are needed to fight the 'coronavirus storm'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
In South Africa, a Step Back to Weather Brutal COVID 'Storm'
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is seen in Johannesburg on April 24, 2020.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

South Africa has seen more than 12,000 new COVID-19 cases daily over the past few days, trailing only the US, Brazil, and India on that figure, and health officials are now issuing warnings that shortages of hospital beds and oxygen are looming. That was the dire message delivered Sunday by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a nationwide TV address, and he had some other bad news: He's reinstating the country's ban on selling and distributing alcohol, Al Jazeera reports. The first ban had been lifted in June, but since then, hospitals started experiencing a bump in admissions to ERs and trauma wards.

"As we head towards the peak of infections, it is vital that we do not burden our clinics and hospitals with alcohol-related injuries," he said, per the Guardian. Ramaphosa also mandated that face masks be worn in public, and he imposed a nighttime curfew that will keep people off the streets between 9pm and 4am local time. These are all necessary steps to fight a "coronavirus storm" that's become "far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known before," he said. South Africa ranks ninth in the world in terms of how many coronavirus cases it has, with more than 275,000. It's had just over 4,000 deaths, but the government estimates that number could increase to 50,000 by year's end, per the BBC. (More South Africa stories.)

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