Long queues have formed outside shops selling alcohol in South Africa after restrictions on its sale, imposed two months ago as part of measures to fight Covid-19, were lifted.

Social media posts showed people, who had braved the morning chill, cheering as buyers emerged with their bottles.

The alcohol ban was to allow police and hospitals to better focus on tackling the coronavirus, the authorities said.

Alcohol-fuelled violence is a huge problem in South Africa.

Doctors and police say the ban has had a dramatic impact, contributing to a sharp drop in casualty admissions.

But the country’s brewers and its wine makers had complained that they were being driven out of business.

The government has also lost a fortune in tax revenue, reports the BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg.

The authorities are now in the process of easing one of the toughest lockdowns in the world.

As part of this latest step – known as level three – President Cyril Ramaphosa said that from 1 June the sale of alcohol would resume, but only between 09:00 and 17:00 and not on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

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