South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says coronavirus restrictions will be stepped up in the country, due to a surge in new cases.
Ramaphosa delivered a televised address on Sunday. The number of infections has begun to rise sharply again in several parts of the country, including the commercial hub of Johannesburg.
The president said, "It may only be a matter of time before the country as a whole will have entered a third wave."
He said the curfew now in place will be extended to start at 11 p.m. and end at 4 a.m. He also said bars and restaurants will be required to close by 10 p.m.
South Africa has already started vaccinating healthcare workers and nationals aged 60 or older. But Ramaphosa said vaccine deliveries from the United States have been partially delayed.
He indicated that South African authorities have been trying to determine whether to approve the use of vaccines made in Russia and China.
Ramaphosa said, "Delaying the spread of the virus is especially important now to allow as many people as possible to be vaccinated before the third wave reaches its peak."
He urged people to wear masks and take other antivirus measures.
Among all the African nations, South Africa has been hit hardest by the coronavirus. Nearly 1.66 million cases have been confirmed there. That number represents more than 30 percent of all the infections reported on the continent.