President Cyril Ramaphosa lifted the sales ban n alcohol products this week. (Photo by Gallo Images/Jacques Stander)
- Police and emergency services in Durban reported an increase in road crashes and social gatherings after alcohol trade resumed.
- Domestic violence, violent fights after alcohol consumption spiked.
- Authorities are worried that social gatherings could fuel coronavirus infections again.
Emergency services and police in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal have had their hands full responding to road crashes and booze fuelled house parties the first weekend after government lifted the Covid-19 alcohol ban.
ALS Paramedics Medical Services managing director Garrith Jamieson said paramedics were busy responding to alcohol-related road crashes even during curfew.
“It all went down the first day after the unbanning of [the] liquor trade. We’ve been attending to trauma injuries ever since. We increased emergency vehicles and were prepared for what was to come. Our paramedics have been busy even during weekdays and during curfew times,” Jamieson said on Sunday.
At least 46 180 people have succumbed to Covid-19 across South Africa. Durban, a Covid-19 hotspot, recorded 320 579 confirmed cases and 9 079 deaths so far.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said gatherings at beaches and noisy house parties had soared.
“There is nothing wrong with visits to beaches as they are now open to the public. The concerning part of it is the smashing of alcohol bottles which could result in people getting hurt. We have been responding to complaints about loud music at house gatherings, violent fights and vehicle accidents.”
Domestic violence cases had also increased since the lifting of the alcohol ban, Sewpersad added.
Authorities urged people to not let their guard down in light of the eased Level 3 regulations and to keep adhering to Covid-19 protocols.
With the liquor trade unbanned, government feared coronavirus infections could spike again through social gatherings, where partygoers do not practice social distancing or wear face masks.
South Africa’s cases had risen to over 1.4 million, with 3 184 new infections recorded since the last official report.