South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa stated on Sunday that the government will re-impose harsher anti-Covid-19 measures, anticipating that the nation will soon face a third wave of the pandemic.
"The proportion of COVID-19 tests that are positive has more than doubled in the last month. It may only be a matter of time before the whole country will have entered a third wave. Further restrictions are necessary to ensure that health facilities are not overwhelmed and that lives that could be saved are not lost '' insists Cyril Ramaphosa.
With almost 1.65 million cases and 56,363 fatalities, South Africa is now the worst-affected country on the continent.
So far, only little more than one percent of the population has been immunized, and the drive to vaccinate the elderly began just last week.
The government, under pressure for failing to purchase vaccinations swiftly, claims it has paid for doses to cover 40 million of South Africa's 59 million people – or enough to achieve herd immunity.
"As the African continent, we are pushing ahead with the efforts to expand our vaccine manufacturing capacity with a view to be self-sufficient in vaccine production. We say this because the entire African continent has only had up to 2% of its population vaccinated," he further stressed.
Ramaphosa has repeatedly condemned "vaccine apartheid" with rich countries buying up most of the vaccine doses.
South Africa and India are campaigning for an end to patent rights on coronavirus vaccines to help every country to manufacture its own supplies.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived Friday in South Africa for a lightning trip to discuss COVID vaccine access for Africa.
The G7 summit of rich nations will discuss the issue at a summit in Britain next month.