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Coronavirus: South Africa bans alcohol sales to free hospital beds for COVID-19 patients | World News

South Africa’s president has announced a ban on alcohol sales to reduce the number of people admitted to hospital.

It is hoped that a fall in the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions would mean more beds available to treat COVID-19 patients.

A night-time curfew will be reinstated to reduce traffic accidents, which also aims to free up hospital beds.

Wearing face masks has also become compulsory in public.

April: Hunger trumps fear of virus in South Africa

It comes after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said health officials had warned that the number of hospital beds would soon not be enough, as coronavirus cases climb.

He said the country was expected to reach the peak of cases between the end of July and September.

“This is a fight to save every life, and we need to save every bed,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

“The coronavirus storm is far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known.”

South Africa has confirmed 276,242 coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and 4,079 people in the country have died with the virus.

March: South Africa battles to implement social distancing

The country has reported daily increases of more than 10,000 confirmed cases for several days, with the latest daily figure adding nearly 13,500 to the total.

In March, South Africa began a strict lockdown in an effort to fight the virus but it has since eased many of those restrictions due to fears that continuing the lockdown would ruin the struggling economy.

The night-time curfew lasts from 9pm to 4am, but does not apply to those travelling to or from work or seeking medical help.

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