WATCH: Several arrested after police raid clubs and taverns during lockdown
Cape Town - Several people have been arrested for allegedly disobeying the country's lockdown rules that officially started at midnight on Thursday.
South African Police Service (SAPS) raided taverns and clubs where a number of people gathered and were drinking in the early hours of Friday morning, said a SABC report.
On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a three-week national shutdown in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Ramaphosa warned on Thursday that South Africa could have more than 1 500 confirmed coronavirus cases within the next few days.
Dressed in full SANDF gear, Ramaphosa addressed the nation and gave final orders to the troops who were deployed to the streets.
"We are placing confidence and trust in all of you. In a few days, we could be at over 1 500. Our task is to minimise the infection rate," he told the soldiers.
Confirmed coronavirus infections on Friday morning tipped over the 1000-mark, with two deaths, both in the Western Cape.
Ahead of the lockdown, Police Minister Bheki Cele warned of consequences for those who attempt to leave their homes, unless for essential purposes, such as buying groceries, seeking medical attention, collecting grants, buying medication, or emergencies.
Stores are not permitted to sell alcohol or cigarettes during the 21 days. Anyone who contravenes the lockdown regulations will be found guilty of a criminal offence and will be fined or jailed for a period not exceeding six months, or both.
Restaurants, clubs, taverns and bars must also be closed during this period, as they are not essential services.