JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has reintroduced tough restrictions including a ban on alcohol sales and an extended nightly curfew as it fights a fast-increasing surge of COVID-19 cases.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the delta variant that was first discovered in India appears to be driving South Africa’s new increase.
South Africa recorded more than 15,000 new cases Sunday including 122 deaths. That brings its total fatalities to near 60,000.
The country’s most populous province of Gauteng has the brunt of the current surge accounting for about 66% of new infections. The province includes the largest city Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.
Health authorities are concerned that the country’s eight other provinces are likely to soon see spikes in cases to match those in Gauteng, where hospitals are running short of COVID-19 beds and patients are being taken to health facilities in other provinces. Neighboring Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique are also fighting growing numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.