With the recent decline in hospital admissions in many provinces, experts say lifting the midnight curfew on New Year’s Eve showed that the country needed to learn to live with the virus and focus more on getting the unvaxxed vaccinated.
The move was welcomed by the tourism and hospitality sector.
Professor Glenda Davison, Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s associate professor and head of biomedical sciences, said while there could have been an increase in trauma hospital admissions across the country, many hospitals were not under severe pressure due to an influx of Covid patients.
“A curfew would have decreased the trauma over New Year as people would have been less inclined to drink,” she said. “However, in my personal opinion I think that, as a society, we need to start learning to live with the virus and change our behaviour.”
She added: “As we move into 2022, we should encourage everyone to vaccinate and change behaviour so that we can slowly get back to normal.”
ALSO READ: Curfew a thing of the past as South Africa passes fourth wave peak
Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa national chair Rosemary Anderson said they were delighted the government decided to remove the curfew that were hampering normal operations for hospitality providers.
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Manny de Freitas added the lifting of the curfew on New Year’s Eve meant the decimated tourism, hospitality, restaurant and entertainment sectors had an opportunity to rebuild.
“New Year’s Eve is one of the most important periods for the tourism, restaurant, hospitality and entertainment sectors.
“In many cases these businesses rely on these high-income generating periods,” he said.
However, not even 48 hours later the infections reported skyrocketed with nearly 10,000 new infections and counting.
The DA’s Jack Bloom said the positivity rate might be much higher than was reported. He said testing was down because priority patients were being tested instead. “The problem with the figures was the late reporting and lower testing due to the holiday season,” he said.
Additional reporting by Marizka Coetzer
NOW READ: J&J booster ‘highly effective’ against hospitalisation from Omicron – SAMRC