Omicron latest: Top SA scientist warns against another alcohol ban

Omicron latest: Top SA scientist warns against another alcohol ban
© Provided by The South African

The latest rise in COVID-19 cases – allegedly fuelled by the Omicron variant – is likely to lead to a change in our current State of Disaster regulations. When infection rates rise, and more people are admitted to hospital, the government isn’t afraid of putting an alcohol ban in place. But one leading scientist has warned against another period of prohibition.

Will an alcohol ban return to South Africa?

Shabir Madhi, the professor of virology at Wits University, has gone public in his rejection of an alcohol ban. At least for now, anyway. The top doc believes that an overwhelming majority should not be punished for the actions of an ‘irresponsible minority’, and booze must be kept ON the shelves over the festive period.

We are expecting some form of national address from President Cyril Ramaphosa in the next 24 to 48 hours.

He will lay out the details of how South Africans plans to fight back against the Omicron variant, which could possibly spread faster than the Delta strain. Unfortunately, his statement will likely reintroduce some tougher lockdown restrictions.

Leading virologist shoots-down possible booze restrictions

However, Professor Madhi does not want to see an alcohol ban used as a crutch once more. He has torpedoed the idea that South Africans are compliant with prohibition, especially when liquor is readily available on the black market.

It remains to be seen if Cyril will go for an alcohol ban straight away – and such a move would cause huge controversy.

“Do not announce regulations that are not implementable or enforceable in a local context. And don’t pretend that people adhere to them. This includes banning alcohol sales, whilst being unable to effectively police the black market.”

“We should rather encourage responsible behaviour to avoid re-imposing alcohol and other restrictions to punish all due to irresponsibility on part of a minority… Higher levels of restrictions need to be tailored for when we expect overwhelming of health facilities. We must learn to live with the virus, and take a holistic view of the pandemic.”

Professor Shabir Madhi

6. Do encourage responsible behaviour, to avoid re-imposing alcohol and other restrictions to punish all due to irresponsibility on part of a minority. 7. Do monitor bed availability at regional level to help decide on regional action to avoid overwhelming of faculties .

— Shabir Madhi (@ShabirMadh) November 27, 2021

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