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FACTSHEET: Alcohol use and COVID-19

Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Namibians will be drinking freely again under stage 3 of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Here are some health facts to remember.

As from 12pm on Tuesday, 2 June 2020, Namibians will be freely buying and consuming alcohol again under the Guidelines for Stage 3 of the State of Emergency.

This followed over two months of severe prohibitions on the sale and consumption of alcohol, since 28 March 2020, when the country went under lockdown until 4 May 2020, followed by stage 2 opening up that lasted until midnight on 1 June 2020.

While many have been looking forward to this, Namibians still need to be careful about alcohol consumption in the time of COVID-19.

Following is some really interesting and comprehensive guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO):

  • Alcohol has effects, both short-term and long-term, on almost every single organ of your body. Overall, the evidence suggests that there is no “safe limit” – in fact, the risk of damage to your health increases with each drink of alcohol consumed.
  • Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases.
  • Alcohol, even in very small quantities, is known to cause certain types of cancer.
  • Alcohol alters your thoughts, judgement, decision-making and behaviour.
  • Alcohol, even in small amounts, is a risk to the unborn child at any time during pregnancy.
  • Alcohol increases the risk, frequency and severity of perpetration of interpersonal violence such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, youth violence, elder abuse, and violence against children.
  • Alcohol increases the risk of death and injury from road traffic injuries, drowning and falls.
  • Heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most severe complications of COVID-19.

And here’s something on alcohol-related myths and COVID-19:

Myths about alcohol and COVID-19 by the WHO

But just in case it hasn’t sunk in yet, remember:

And in the era of COVID-19 this is perhaps the best piece of advice around:

Avoid alcohol altogether so that you do not undermine your own immune system and health and do not risk the health of others.

– WHO
Stay Sober. Stay Safe. STAY HEALTHY!

1st June 2020

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