South Africa makes U-turn on cigarette sales


South Africa has reversed a decision to allow cigarette sales when coronavirus restrictions are eased at the start of next month.

The government had said smokers would be able to buy cigarettes from 1 May.

Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who leads the National Coronavirus Command Council, said health considerations had played a part in the decision to maintain the ban.

South Africans were given only a few days’ notice to stock up when the government announced the lockdown – which also stopped the sale of alcohol.

From May, outdoor exercise will be allowed and some businesses can reopen.

South Africa recorded more than 300 new virus cases on Wednesday.