South Africa has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infections across the country since Monday, as the Omicron variant is wreaking havoc, health officials said.
Some 8,500 Covid infections have been registered in the last 24 hours.
South Africa was the first country to detect the new variant, Omicron which was announced last week.
The discovery of the variant in southern Africa has caused global alarm, with countries limiting travel from the region and imposing other restrictions for fear it could spread quickly.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said authorities were considering making vaccination compulsory for certain places and activities, a departure from an earlier stance that it would remain voluntary.