South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the measures after coronavirus cases in the country increased from 274 to 402 on Monday.
According to Ramaphosa, the stay-at-home order which will be effective till April 16 does not apply to essential services personnel, including police, health care workers, and those involved in the supply of goods, including food.
He said in his address to the nation: “We need to urgently and dramatically escalate our response. The next few days are crucial. Without decisive action, the number of people infected will rapidly increase. This is extremely dangerous for a population like ours, which has a large number of people with suppressed immunity because of HIV and TB, and high levels of poverty and malnutrition.”
The country which is currently in recession will be the third country in Africa to close down all but essential economic activity, after Rwanda and Tunisia.