President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the national lock down by an additional two weeks beyond the initial 21 days.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Thursday night, ahead of the Easter holiday on the continuing efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
Ramaphosa says the Coronavirus crisis has worsened since he addressed the nation two weeks ago when he instituted the lockdown.
The President thanked South Africans for abiding by the rules of the lockdown and their patience during this trying time.
He says the immediate priority is to slow down the spread of the virus and to “prevent a massive loss of life”.
“We did not take this decision to extend the lockdown lightly. I am mindful of the great and heavy burden this put on you. Unless we take these difficult measures now, the Coronavirus pandemic will engulf and consume our country.”
Ramaphosa has asked the country to make “greater sacrifices” to save thousands of lives.
“If we end the lockdown too abruptly, we risk reversing the gains we have made in the last few weeks.”
Ramaphosa also confirmed that the number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 1934 with 18 deaths.
This is an increase of 89 cases from Wednesday’s announcement.