In order to fight a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa reinstated a nightly curfew and an alcohol ban within the country (Al Jazeera). The curfew lasts from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., during which residents may only leave their homes to seek medical care or travel to or from work (Reuters). Ramaphosa has kept the ban on family visits and social activities in place, and has further instated a mandate requiring residents to wear masks in public (AP News). By limiting the likelihood of traffic accidents and trauma cases, Ramaphosa hopes to lighten the burden that the coronavirus pandemic has placed on the South African healthcare system (AP News).
When COVID-19 first struck, Ramaphosa instated an extremely strict lockdown, under which residents could only leave their homes for food or medical care, unless their job was classified as “essential” (Al Jazeera). The president initially imposed the alcohol ban to decrease the number of trauma cases that took up much-needed hospital beds (AP News). South African health minister Zweli Mkhize claims that trauma-related hospital admissions increased by 60 percent after the government lifted the initial alcohol ban in June (Al Jazeera). South Africa has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Africa so far, with over 275,000 confirmed cases and over 4,000 deaths (Reuters).