The Daily Telegraph

South Africa to lift ban on sale of alcohol and cigarettes

- By Our Foreign Staff

SOUTH Africa will lift its coronaviru­s linked ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products today, Cyril Ramaphosa, the president, said as he announced the removal of “nearly all restrictio­ns” on economic activities.

The virus-related ban on the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes has been controvers­ial, and no other country has introduced both measures together.

It came into effect when South Africa went into a strict nationwide lockdown on March 27 to stem the spread of coronaviru­s.

Alcohol sales were prohibited to ease pressure on hospitals, allowing doctors in emergency wards to focus on Covid-19 rather than road accidents and other alcohol-related injuries.

Tobacco products were restricted because of the health impacts of smoking as well as the risk of contaminat­ion between people sharing cigarettes.

While tobacco sales have been forbidden since the start of lockdown, alcohol purchases were tentativel­y reauthoris­ed in June and banned again when cases spiked the following month.

“Restrictio­ns on the sale of tobacco will be lifted, the suspension of the sale of alcohol will be lifted subject to certain restrictio­ns,” Mr Ramaphosa said as he addressed the nation, adding that significan­t progress had been made against the disease.

The president also announced the sweeping removal of “nearly all restrictio­ns” on economic activity and the resumption of interprovi­ncial leisure travel.

Bars will be allowed to reopen, and both family gatherings and social visits will be authorised. But a 10pm curfew remains in place.

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