Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that South Africa is not ready to lift the ban on the sales of alcohol and cigarettes.
Mkhize visited few COVID-19 facilities in an attempt to understand the challenges faced by the province. KwaZulu Natal is expected to reach its peak in the coming weeks.
Mkhize said that while pressure on hospitals had been reduced and the recovery rate was now above 70%, more work still needed to be done before alcohol and cigarette sales were allowed again. He said alcohol ban will be reconsidered when there is less strain on health facilities.
Business Leadership South Africa and the South African Medical Research Council were among various organisations that have called for the ban on alcohol and cigarette sales to be lifted, saying that the ban had served its purpose.
CEO of Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) Francois Rossouw on Wednesday said the purpose of the lockdown regulations should be to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to relieve the effects thereof. He said the data does not support the view that banning the sale of tobacco will make a significant impact to achieve these goals.