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Government warns against large gatherings involving alcohol as Covid-19 cases spike

Political gatherings are not immune to spreading Covid-19 and some campaigns ignored safety protocols including social distancing: Mondli Gungubele

26 November 2021 - 11:00
Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele. File photo.
Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

As Covid-19 cases spike, the government has urged South Africans to avoid large gatherings, especially those where alcohol consumption is consumed.

Addressing media on Thursday on the outcomes of this week's cabinet meeting, minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele said some events were a threat to public safety. 

“Events such as the matric rage and matric farewell after-parties are super-spreaders. Large gatherings, especially those which involve the consumption of alcohol, are a major risk and undermine our efforts to contain the spread of the virus.”

Gungubele said political gatherings were not immune to spreading Covid-19, as some campaigns ignored safety protocols, including social distancing.

He declined to confirm whether the looming fourth wave would lead to another lockdown.

Whenever the national coronavirus command council meets, you take decisions consistent with that situation. And I want to repeat that we wish there must never be a possibility of locking down this country again.

“We are still dealing with the damage of 2020. We hope that South Africans will make sure  they stick to social distancing and other protocols and going to vaccinate, so that we render zero the possibilities of a lockdown,” said Gungubele.

SA implemented alcohol bans during the previous Covid-19 waves. The industry has on several occasions challenged the ban on the basis that it impacts livelihoods and the economy.

In August, the SA Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba) estimated the bans cost the country's GDP an estimated R64.8bn.

Gungubele also called on eligible South Africans to get vaccinated ahead of the festive season.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported on Thursday evening that the majority of new cases in SA came from Gauteng.

A total of 2,465 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in SA in the last 24-hour cycle with 79% (1,950) recorded in Gauteng.

Prof Shabir Madhi, a vaccinologist at Wits University, told Sunday Times Daily SA was in the early stages of a resurgence of infections. 

“We are likely to start seeing an uptick in hospitalisations in two to three weeks,” he said.


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