Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomes alcohol ban

Winde says the adjusted level 3 lockdown restrictions will help protect the province's healthcare workers and its healthcare system.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday are welcomed as they will help protect a seriously pressured healthcare system whose workers are under severe strain.

Winde was on Tuesday joined by the province’s health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and the head of its department of health, Dr Keith Cloete, to provide an update on Covid-19 in the Western Cape.

Cloete said in five hospitals monitored by the Western Cape department of health on 26 December, the highest number of trauma cases for the year was recorded.

Cloete said one of the biggest challenges the healthcare system in the province had to deal with was alcohol-related trauma cases.

Cloete said the data clearly showed that with every relaxation of alcohol sales under various levels of lockdown, trauma cases increased, with the December period seeing a rise in these cases.

There was a massive peak in the number of trauma cases on 16 December, with the highest number of these recorded on 26 December for the whole year, Cloete said.

In his opening remarks, Winde said healthcare workers in the province were under severe strain and welcomed the temporary restrictions, which included a ban on the sale of alcohol, announced by Ramaphosa on Monday because they would ensure that healthcare workers and the province’s healthcare system were protected.

Winde, however, said the province was not happy about the restrictions on beaches and parks.

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The premier called on people in the province to use the next 14 days of level 3 lockdown to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Winde said the next two weeks of lockdown would impact small businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector, adding that the provincial government was pushing for these to be assisted through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (TERS).

Mbombo said on Tuesday she had visited the Khayelitsha Hospital which is in a district with a high number of trauma cases and interpersonal injuries.

Mbombo said her visit was to assess the hospital’s state of readiness ahead of New Year’s Eve.

Even before Covid-19, in particular during holidays such as Reconciliation Day – 16 December, the said district recorded the highest number of trauma cases, stab and gunshot wounds, especially among young men, Mbombo said.

Mbombo said more tents would be added to the hospital and at others in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19.

The mental health of healthcare workers was crucial for strengthening a healthcare system, Mbombo said.

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