By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement to the country spoke of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.

Here is an excerpt:

Image/Robert Herriman

The number of new coronavirus infections is climbing at an unprecedented rate.

More than 50,000 new cases have been reported since Christmas Eve.

The majority of new cases are emerging in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Infections are also alarmingly on the rise in Limpopo.

Infections are on the rise in part because, as humans, we are social beings and have a need to socialize with one another.

We feel the need to visit friends and family, we attend religious services and we go to parties.

But this is a time of heightened danger in the face of a global pandemic.

Across the world countries are having to take drastic measures to curb new waves of infections.

We will all have heard that there is a new variant of COVID-19 that is now well-established in our country.

As our scientists study this variant – called 501.V2 – and its spread, it appears that it may be more contagious than the virus that drove the first wave of infections.

The rapid rise in infections is being fueled by so-called super-spreader events, including like end-of-year functions, family and social gatherings, and music and cultural events.

This is a cause for great alarm, and points to an extreme lack of vigilance over the holiday period.

We have let down our guard, and unfortunately we are now paying the price.

This led into Ramaphosa talking of additional restrictions in South Africa, including the restriction of alcohol:

One of the more difficult areas of regulation relates to the sale of alcohol.

The liquor industry is a major employer and an important contributor to our economy.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Our priority at this time, however, must be to save lives.

Reckless behavior due to alcohol intoxication has contributed to increased transmission.

Alcohol-related accidents and violence are putting pressure on our hospital emergency units.

As we had to in the early days of the lockdown, we now have to flatten the curve to protect the capacity of our healthcare system to enable it to respond effectively to this new wave of infections.

In such a scenario, every piece of medical equipment, every hospital bed, every healthcare worker, and every oxygen tank is needed to save lives.

Therefore, under the strengthened regulations:

–    The sale of alcohol from retail outlets and the on-site consumption of alcohol will not be permitted.

–    The prohibition on consuming alcohol in public spaces like parks and beaches remains.

–    Distribution and transportation will be prohibited with exceptions that will be explained by the minister.

Through today, South Africa has reported 1,021,451 cases, including 27,568 deaths.