JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s intensive care units will pay the price for the lifting of the ban on alcohol sales, that's according to trauma specialists who are warning hospitals could become overburdened by alcohol-related incidents.
In Gauteng, Soweto's Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital reported at least eight ICU cases and several drunk patients in the first week since the ban was lifted.
It comes as the US donated much-needed ventilators to the facility.
Staff at the hospital have received 20 ventilators, sponsored by the US and they will soon get more beds, to help fight the coronavirus.
However, not all of these beds might be used by COVID-19 patients.
Some might go to people who end up in hospital due to alcohol.
Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says the resumption of alcohol sales will have a serious impact on the fight against the virus.
“We will be having competing needs, because most of the trauma patients do require ICU beds or high care. So we might have that problem of competing interests between people who are COVID positive and require ICU and those who are from trauma,” Masuku said.