JOHANNESBURG, 6 January 2021 – Police in South Africa have slammed mostly European tourists for defying a ban on going to beaches along the scenic Garden Route in Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces.
Public health officials in South Africa have blamed gatherings on the nation’s beaches as one of the hotspots for infection.
Several surfers have been arrested on the beach in Langebaan and accused of congregating in violation of the ban, according to South African police chief, Bheki Cele.
“What really irritates about those people is that they are foreign nationals – most of them come from Europe and their beaches are closed and there’s lockdown there and they come here to do the mess,” a visibly irritated Cele told reporters Tuesday during a visit to one of the beaches.
A growing number of COVID-19 infections within the police force that has been patrolling the beaches on food, in quad bikes and in boats has forced South Africa to call in soldiders to help with enforcing the beach ban.
About 350 police officers have been infected with the virus and an estimated 800 others are in isolation.
Introduced last month, the beach ban is one of the several measures taken by South Africa to stem the spread of the new coronavirus and, notably, to slow the spread of infections from the new COVID-19 variant detected in the country.
New, fast-spreading variants have also been detected in the United Kingdom and Nigeria.