South Africa's president has advised the public to follow COVID-19 measures seriously as scientists predict the virus could kill up to 50,000 people in the country this year.
"Scientists and other scenario planners have presented us with models that project that South Africa may have between 40,000 and 50,000 deaths before the end of this year,'' Cyril Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation Sunday night.
He added: "We must make it our single most important task to prove these projections wrong. Through our own actions-as individuals, as families, as communities-we can and we must change the course of this pandemic in our country."
Ramaphosa advised South Africans to always wear a cloth mask that covers their nose and mouth whenever they leave their houses.
"We must continue to regularly wash our hands with soap and water or sanitizer, continue to sanitize all surfaces in all public spaces.''
So far, the country has recorded 276,242 confirmed cases and 4,079 deaths.
The president said the country is now recording over 12,000 new cases every day which is the equivalent of 500 new infections every hour.
He said it is a concern that a quarter of those who succumbed to the virus died only in the past week.
"We mourn the loss of each and every one of them, including some who have been in leadership positions in our country, such as Queen Noloyiso Sandile of the AmaRharhabe Royal Family and North West provincial executive Gordon Kegakilwe."
More than half a million people have died from COVID-19 across the world, and the total number of confirmed cases across the world has grown rapidly to more than 12.7 million.
Ramaphosa said more than 134,000 South Africans have recovered from coronavirus saying many of those took personal responsibility for their health and the health of others, by self-isolating or spending time in quarantine.
The South African leader also re-imposed an immediate ban on the sale of alcohol and imposed curfew between 9 p.m. (1900GMT) and 4 a.m. (0600GMT) from Monday.