S. Africa Weighs Lifting Alcohol Ban as Covid Cases Ease: News24

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Discussions are underway in several government departments to consider the possibility of lifting South Africa’s alcohol ban as infection rates ease, News24 reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

The prohibition, designed in part to ease the burden on hospitals from vehicle accidents and drink-related violence, was implemented nationwide on Dec. 29 as part of a wider set of lockdown measures that included a curfew. The ban is in force until Feb. 15 but may be lifted sooner, according to the website.

Only the cabinet may change the regulations. It’s due to meet on Wednesday.

As of Jan. 30, South Africa had reported 5,297 new cases of Covid-19, a sharp decline from the more than 20,000 daily cases earlier in January.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s South African division two weeks ago canceled an additional 2.5 billion rand ($165 million) of investment after the government banned alcohol sales for a third time to get a resurgence of coronavirus cases under control. The move brought the amount of spending called off by South African Breweries to 5 billion rand since outbreaks first took hold in the country 10 months ago.

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