The government has departed at times from scientific advice on managing the coronavirus pandemic, as it sought to balance the need to protect lives and livelihoods, spokesperson Phumla Williams said on Thursday.

A series of documents detailing the recommendations made by scientists to health minister Zweli Mkhize have been released by the government, revealing how it has overridden or only partly implemented much of their counsel on contentious issues such as alcohol restrictions and school closures. These ministerial advisories, initially published on the health department’s website, are now located on the government’s official coronavirus site (

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