Tag: alcohol

Ramaphosa announces Easter restrictions 

Source: eNCA

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on the country’s COVID-19 response.

Adjustments to the restrictions are as follows:

  • The national curfew remains from midnight to 4am
  • Public recreational spaces such as beaches, parks and dams will remain open, subject to strict health protocols, such as social distancing, mask-wearing.
  • Funerals remain restricted to a maximum of 100 people and with a two-hour limit on services.
  • Interprovincial travel will still be permitted
  • The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will be prohibited on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 2 to 5 April.
  • On-site sales at restaurants, shebeens and bars will be allowed, according to licensing conditions, up until 11pm.
  • Religious gatherings over the Easter period will be restricted to a total number of 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors.
  • Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used.
  • Congregants should not gather outside their usual places of worship, and people must go home and not sleep over after services.

“We will review these measures on the size of gatherings within the next 15 days based on an assessment on the state of the pandemic and the extent of compliance with health protocols,” he said.

The president related some of the struggles and triumphs experienced in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What has perhaps been most difficult of all is how the pandemic has affected the social interactions that make us feel part of a community. We miss the many things we once took for granted, like being able to visit our loved ones, go to a party, or attend religious services.”

He said that, for the past two weeks, the number of new cases has remained relatively stable at around 1,200 new cases per day.

“The number of hospitalisations is declining, as is the number of deaths. Our national recovery rate stands at slightly higher than 95 percent.”

Ramaphosa also gave an update on the national vaccination programme, which he said is gaining momentum.

He said the first phase of the vaccination programme, targetting healthcare workers, would be completed within three months.

“We have secured 11 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which we know to be effective against the dominant variants in our country. We have secured a further 20 million doses and are finalising the agreement with Johnson & Johnson.

“We are also finalising an agreement for 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses. Together, this supply of vaccines will provide us with enough doses to vaccinate 41 million people,” he said.

Ramaphosa also said government is currently negotiating with manufacturers of other vaccines, including the Sinovac, Sinopharm and Sputnik V.

“In addition to the vaccine doses we will receive directly through our agreements with manufacturers, we will also receive an allocation of vaccine doses through the African Union initiative that we established when we held the Chairship of the AU.”

The president said Phase 2 of the vaccination drive is scheduled to begin in mid-May.

Registration to be vaccinated is scheduled to start in April with facilities for online and in-person registration.

Ramaphosa also said mechanisms to vaccinate undocumented people are being developed.

The president gave news from his visit to the Aspen Pharmacare manufacturing facility in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.

In November, Aspen Pharmacare collaborated with Johnson & Johnson to establish the capacity required for the manufacturing of the vaccines.

READ: COVID-19 vaccine: J&J commits 30 million doses for SA

The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust has signed a procurement agreement on behalf of African Union member states for 220-million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with an option for an additional 180-million doses.

The president thanked the private healthcare sector, private enterprise working through the Solidarity Fund and the Vodacom Group for support with the vaccine drive.

“We commend the Vodacom Group and Vodafone Foundation, which have pledged R87 million in the African countries in which they operate for cold chain storage and logistics so that COVID-19 vaccines are delivered securely.

“In addition, Vodacom will be deploying a state-of-the-art vaccine management platform across the AU member states, following a successful roll-out of the same platform in South Africa,” he said.

The president gave an update on the regulations instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the Easter weekend.

Given relatively low transmission levels, the country will remain on Alert Level 1.

Using sanitiser safely

By Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx; and dermatologist, Dr Selwyn Schwartz

“The latest research carried out by accredited laboratory SciCorp in KwaZulu-Natal has shown that out of 11 hand sanitisers, 9 bought from stores and 2 samples given out at the entrance to a mall or shop, 5 were found to be non-compliant. This means they didn’t contain the minimum 70% alcohol content, required by law.

“What was particularly frightening to note was that labels on two of the products claimed to have 70% alcohol content, whilst in reality one had 46.3% ethanol and another, claiming to have 85% alcohol had 54.9% propanol. In a recent report in Times Live SciCorp Laboratories’ business development director Adrian Barnard said, “Our biggest concern scientifically is what people are adding to products when there is less alcohol.”

“This at a time when people’s very lives depend on trusting these sanitisers, not just to keep them free of Covid-19 but not to cause irreparable harm to their skin or health. Many of these products were produced during the rush to get sanitisers to the retail market, often forgoing the rigorous and often lengthy testing procedures of the SABS and NRCS.

Skin reactions to sanitisers

“According to the NCBI (National Centre for Biotechnology Information) there are two major types of skin reactions that could be caused by hand sanitising. Most common would be dryness, irritation, itching and even cracking and bleeding (irritant contact dermatitis) or a stronger allergic reaction to an ingredient in a particular product which could cause respiratory distress and even anaphylaxis.

“In any one day people are using hand sanitisers innumerable times without knowing just how many times that product is safe to use within that time frame. And that’s assuming it’s a safe product in the first place. With this in mind we’re currently developing an alcohol free, 99.999% kill rate hand sanitiser called vitrodx® hand with b bioactive™, which is not only safer than alcohol but effective for up to 7 hours. And like all our products has been developed not only to be kinder to human skin but also the planet.

“This is often the case when methanol, a type of toxic alcohol is used in these products confirms the CDC (Center for Disease Control), which can cause blindness and/or death when absorbed through the skin or when swallowed, and which recently resulted in several deaths in New Mexico. This has led to the FDA recalling products containing a significant amount of methanol, which doesn’t always appear on the label but is found after testing.”

Tips from a dermatologist

By far the best and safest way to keep your skin safe and healthy is to rather wash with soap and water when you can. “If you have the option of using sanitiser or soap and water, then definitely choose the latter which will ensure you are moisturising as well as keeping the virus at bay. For some people who are in and out of buildings and shops where the only options are sanitisers they should try and wash with soap and water as soon as they can and then moisturise with hand cream.”

All hand creams are not made equal. “You must use a thick cream, particularly before going to bed at night. The thicker the cream the more moisture it contains. Many products including aqueous cream contain lauryl sulfate which is a vanishing cream ingredient that dries skin out further instead of maintaining surface moisturiser.”

Preventing anti-covid sanitiser damaged skin

  • Use your own sanitiser (one you’ve verified is effective and safe) when entering and leaving anywhere
  • Wear gloves which you can sanitise – washing your hands before and after wear
  • Where possible wash with soap and water rather than use sanitiser


Liquor ban could cost 1m jobs

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to ban the sale of alcohol will lead to job losses, the liquor industry says.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa said the abuse of alcohol had led to the admission of higher numbers of people at clinics and hospitals.

While some political parties agreed with his decision, the liquor industry has lamented the impact on employment. The National Liquor Traders Council, South African Liquor Brand owners Association, the Beer Association of South Africa, Vinpro, the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa and manufacturers said they were disappointed.

“The liquor industry has a wide and deep value chain employing almost 1-million people. The ban will have other unintended consequences which includes further job losses. During the nine-week lockdown, the alcohol industry lost R18-billion in revenue and R3.4-billion in excise tax.”

They said the initial suspension of alcohol sales restricted the legal trade and fuelled the illegal market’s growth.

“It also creates security concerns for liquor outlets. The illicit market operates mostly uncontrolled. For this restriction to be viable, it must be accompanied by considerably increased law enforcement.”

The DA slammed the decision while the SACP supported it.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the ban and a night-time curfew was “simply to distract from the real issue: the utter failure to build treatment and testing capacity. These ineffective gimmicks are an attempt to obscure the truth of our situation: that national government has wasted South Africa’s long and crippling lockdown.”

What’s in a hand sanitiser?

By Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx 

“Right now each time you walk in or out of a shop, office or building, you’re supposed to use whatever hand sanitiser they’re offering – unless you bring your own. And to be safe at home you’ve probably been buying various products off the supermarket or pharmacy shelves. Do these products make you feel safe? The very word sanitiser alone on the label sadly isn’t enough to guarantee your protection, particularly from Covid-19.


“So how can you make sure you are in fact fully protected? In theory the answer should be easy. The label should clearly show an SABS approval stamp. After all they call themselves a ‘leading global providers of standards and regulatory approval, certification and accreditation’. But how hard can it be to get when we’ve just cut and pasted it from the internet.

“A product showing their mark and registration is telling the consumer you’re guaranteed the same quality of product and performance every time you use it. So, without this guarantee or falsely using this label means one thing – danger.

“I you received this approval rating 15 years ago it was a very different ballgame. In the past when you saw an SABS stamp on a product containing chemicals made to kill living things, you had trust in it. “Such products pose a danger to the consumer which is why government developed a framework over many years to protect society from getting hurt. This rating should mean something, particularly given the process that products are supposed to go through to qualify – the onus shouldn’t be on the consumer to get the product tested.

Degradation of compliance

“Sadly the last 20 years has seen the degradation of such compliance platforms and people have become accustomed to buying non-regulated compounds, which are dangerous to human health. Today no one is aware what these regulations even are and with Covid-19 and the urgency around manufacturing and sourcing such products this equals a very dangerous situation.

“Then you have the NRCS (National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications) which is there to make sure your product has a registration number; proving by using the product you aren’t endangering society. The problem here is not everyone is a chemist, doctor or scientist and people don’t realise they should check out the registration on the product with the company’s website to verify its authenticity. After all if you can’t rely on the NRCS brand being real you can’t rely on yourself as a consumer. It’s comparable to taking a Ferrari hood ornament and sticking it on a Tata…

“Another thing that’s changed over the years is the enforcement behind false claims such as these. In the past nobody would dare make a false claim on a product because you could be jailed but complacency has crept in over the years and these bodies don’t have the capacity or knowledge any longer to enforce such punishment.

Only a handful of companies/ brands comply

“If people suddenly only started buying genuine SABS/NRCS labelled products there would be only a handful of companies who could supply them. What has happened overseas with the sudden surge in the need for disinfectant products was to allow products on to the shelves which have gone through the registration process but have just not been awarded final documentation. These are now being rapidly fast tracked and approved – but only if they comply with the strict regulations. Such registrations normally take years and cost hundreds of thousands of Rands to complete but somehow quite a few not so compliant products have also made it on to shelves.

“So what does this mean for schools which have just reopened? Perhaps this is one of the contributors to so many quickly closing down again. They go through all the motions of disinfecting but are they using genuine and safe products?

“It comes down to where does the responsibility lie. We’re dealing with dangerous products here – possibly that haven’t been tested for human consumption. If the instructions on a product also aren’t clear and you put too much on your skin it won’t just kill the viruses but damage your skin too. And then there’s the content. Some raw material has sugar in it and if this is left behind after use it can trigger a microbial explosion, turning 1 000 bugs into 100 000 bugs, creating rather than preventing infection. Without proper SABS and NRCS rating you are in danger!

Our recommendation

Always check the packaging label as follows:

  • Does it display the SABS and NRCS marks?
  • Does it contain SABS or NRCS registration numbers?
  • If you are in doubt go to the SABS OR NRCS websites to check it out.

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