A protester outside Parliament in Cape Town on June 2, 2020 against the ban on the sale of cigarettes in South Africa. - Nardus Engelbrecht / AP / SIPA

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday announced a decision that will delight smokers, but less so public health officials in South Africa. The sale of alcohol and cigarettes, banned as part of the measures taken to stem the Covid-19 pandemic, will be authorized again from Monday.

Fewer alcohol-related illnesses and accidents

Alcohol sales were banned in the country on March 27, when strict containment was imposed, to ease pressure on hospitals, which no longer had to deal with alcohol-related illnesses and accidents. . Tobacco was banned because of the risks it poses to health as well as the risk of contamination between smokers sharing cigarettes.

South Africa is the 5th most affected country in the world by the pandemic, with more than 583,000 cases recorded to date. President Ramaphosa stressed, however, that the number of daily infections fell to 5,000 last week, from more than 12,000 previously. "Everything indicates that South Africa has reached a peak and that the curve has reversed", added the Head of State, while asking his fellow citizens not to lower their guard despite the "signs of hope ”.


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