In a televised speech, the president said most of the existing lockdown measures that his government put in place nearly two weeks ago would remain in force until the end of April.
According to him, there was compelling evidence that the lockdown was working, and additional time for the process would give the country a better chance of ending the outbreak.
“If we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “We risk reversing the gains that we have made over the last few weeks and rendering meaningless the great sacrifices that we have all made, fellow South Africans. This evening, therefore, I stand before you to ask you to endure a little longer.”
Health records showed that the rate of new infections has slowed down despite the growing numbers the country has been making public, the president said.
“Since the lockdown came into effect, the rate at which new cases have been identified here in South Africa has slowed significantly. From 1,170 confirmed cases on the 27th of March, the number of confirmed cases today stands at 1,934.
“In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42 percent. Since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around four percent,” he said.