PHOTO: James Palinsad via Flickr

HEALTH workers are attributing the ban on alcohol among the key factors to less car accidents, violent crimes and people being admitted into trauma and emergency hospital units.

With decades of experience working as a critical care assistant, Garrith Jamieson, Operations Director at Rescue Care, an emergency ambulance service, said their caseload has decreased significantly since the national shutdown.

“There are definitely less car accidents on the roads, that is obviously due to people not moving around due to the shutdown, but also people are scared to go into any hospital now,” he said.

When asked if the alcohol ban, that preceded the national lockdown, has played a role in this, Jamieson said, “definitely.”

“It (alcohol) plays a big role in many of the accidents that I see and why we always transport people into emergency units at hospitals. The ban assists in decreasing that,” he said.

With the Easter holidays set to coincide with the national lockdown, Jamieson said he is expecting a relatively quiet weekend in terms of incidents.

Last year, 162 people died during the Easter weekend, with KwaZulu-Natal registering the highest number of fatalities (37).

Dr Gontse Gabanakgosi, a medical officer, posted a picture of himself propped up on a hospital bed with the caption: “Alcohol-free South Africa means trauma-free casualty shifts.”

Dr Aiysha Malik from the World Health Organisation called alcohol an unhelpful coping strategy for the lockdown.

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele continued his crusade on the prohibition of alcohol by attributing it to the decrease in crimes.

In analysing data from the first week of the national lockdown and comparing it to the corresponding week of last year Cele found that:

– murder cases had dropped from 326 to 94;

– rape cases dropped from 699 to 101;

– cases of assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm, dropped from 2 673 to 456; and

– trio crimes dropped from 8 853 to 2 098.

Cele has reportedly expressed extending the alcohol ban beyond the lockdown period.

However, Mary de Haas, KZN violence monitor, said alcohol is not the problem but the lack of police regulation of drunk drivers is.

“Banning alcohol is a recipe for disaster and would open up the black market, we have already got a dangerous organised drug syndicate,” she said.

De Haas compared Cele’s rhetoric to the 1920 Prohibition era in the United States of America when a wave of religious revivalism led to the government banning alcohol.

After a spike of black market liquor shops, coupled with unemployment, the American government was later forced to legalise alcohol.

Article Credit Berea Mail.