Two days after South Africa reinstated a ban on alcohol to curb the spread of coronavirus, thieves have broken into a liquor store in Cape Town.

“They basically emptied the whiskies out,” Mark Kallend, shop owner of Liquor Bothasig, told News24 about the incident early on Tuesday morning.

“They ripped the safety gate off with their vehicle… they tied a rope around it and yanked it off. They then threw a boulder through the window,” he said.

Bottles of wine and brandy were left untouched, he added.

Mr Kallend said the incident showed how desperate people were.

In a speech on Sunday President Cyril Ramaphosa said the alcohol ban – the second this year – would take pressure off the health system.

More than 40% of the 40,000 trauma cases recorded in the country in a week are alcohol-related – something the health system cannot afford right now.

When it comes to coronavirus, South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with more than 275,000 cases.

Deaths resulting from Covid-19 have also risen to more than 4,000, and government projections estimate this could increase to 50,000 by the end of the year.