A nurse talks to a man following his vaccination, as South Africa rolls out the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the elderly at the Munsieville Care for the Aged Centre outside Johannesburg, South Africa May 17, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

JOHANNESBURG – The South African government on Thursday warned of an impending third wave of COVID-19 infections, calling on citizens to stick to guidelines and receive vaccines.

A new wave has already struck central provinces of Gauteng and the Free State, said Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, acting minister in the Presidency.

The cabinet “further reminded all South Africans of the imminent third wave and reiterated the importance of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 by strictly adhering to the non-pharmaceutical interventions”, she said while briefing the press a day after a cabinet meeting.

By Thursday, 828,204 people in the country have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, 348,436 of whom were vaccinated in the second phase of rollout launched Monday, the Department of Health tweeted.

The cabinet urged more eligible people for vaccination to get vaccinated. “All vaccination sites across the country are ready to assist those who have been allocated a vaccination slot,” Ntshavheni said.

South Africa has registered a total of 1,649,977 cases, with 4,424 new cases reported Thursday, said the health ministry.