The Western Cape goverment said it expected to hear whether the ban on alcohol sales in the province will be lifted within the next few days. It recently concluded presentations to the national coronavirus command council to revisit the ban within provincial borders. Premier Alan Winde stated the reopening of all businesses would also address the hunger and unemployment crisis currently experienced in the province.
Furthermore, Chief of Operations of the Western Cape Department of Health, Saadiq Karriem explained that hospitals around the cape metro would be equipped to deal with added alcohol trauma cases.
“As of yesterday we had 1 196 people admitted to our hospitals that is both public and private but across the metropole we are currently sitting at an occupancy of 64% however, it is definitely decreasing quite dramatically,” said Karriem.
“As a result we will have enough space capacity for both covid related cases as well as the expected increase in alcohol related trauma,” added Karriem.
Karriem stated that the pros and cons need to be vehemently discussed before the ban on alcohol is lifted.
“Whether it’s a good idea to call for the retraction on alcohol ban or not is a different story but what I can say is from the health departments perspective we can cope with an influx of cases,” reiterated Karriem.
The policy decision is made by cabinet and ultimately by the national command council.
Karriem detailed in many countries there is news of a second or third wave which is why the health department cannot afford to carry an attitude of gloating.
“While we have deescalated our covid response, we have not ended it completely. We don’t want complacency to settle in,” stated Karriem.
However, Karriem stated the Hospital of Hope in the Cape Town Central Business District is looking to face closure as the need for it has come and gone.
On the topic of whether the Western Cape would be able to manage extra coronavirus cases from different provinces, karriem explained it would vary from case to case.
“From a health perspective that is quite tricky because we obviously wouldn’t want gravely ill patients travelling long distances but rather the non covid patients moving from province to province would be discussed as a potential solution to overcrowded facilitates around the country,” detailed Karriem.
However, Karriem stated the western cape health department would like to restart elective surgeries, immunizations and Tuberculosis treatment.
“We need to ensure that we don’t saturate our own health platform,” ended Karriem.
Karriem added that health workers are in good spirits due to the dramatic decline in coronavirus cases and fatalities.
“Generally people are feeling quite positive because we are beginning to see the tailing off of the pandemic,” smiled Karriem.