Caprisa Director Salim Abdool Karim is still defending the alcohol ban during COVID-19 lockdowns. He says it was important to free up emergency medical resources. #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - Caprisa Director Salim Abdool Karim is still defending the alcohol ban during COVID-19 lockdowns.
He says it was important to free up emergency medical resources.
"When you look at COVID-19, the main services that we need in the healthcare system are going to be ambulances, emergency rooms, the oxygen supply, the ICU.
"When you have a situation where alcohol is the main driver of patients who need those services, whether it's from gender-based violence or motor vehicle accidents... there's a whole range of medical conditions that alcohol drives. And when they get sick, they use exactly the same services," he said.
"So what will happen is that the healthcare services are consumed by alcohol-related problems and there arent' enough beds and capacity for COVID-19, so that was our rationale for restricting alcohol use during the periods when our healthcare service was at pressure.
"When it was done we were vindicated in that the evidence showed that when alcohol restrictions went into play, the number of hospital beds, ICU and oxygen required for alcohol-related problems went down drastically.
"So in that respect it was a good decision and the courts have found it now repeatedly that it was a correct decision at that time."