Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla says there is a possibility of an inter-provincial travel ban this festive season as a result of the rising number of new COVID-19 infections.

More than 2 800 cases were recorded on Friday, with 12 deaths. More than 2 100 of the new infections are in Gauteng.

However, the Health Department says the new variant is spreading rapidly across the country.

President Ramaphosa to convene the NCCC on Saturday on the new COVID-19 variant:

Phaahla was speaking during a virtual question and answer session on the latest developments around the new COVID-19 variant.

“Our experts here have indicated that movement is the one which moves with the virus. There might be some proposal on restricting the movement of inter-provincial travel.

So I am not in a position to say if infections continue to rise we look at measures to contain that there will never be any restrictions on travelling. I am not in a position to guarantee that. And it’s going to depend on our risk-adjusted approach on dealing with these matters.”

Meanwhile, government has moved up the meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council to sit on Saturday, sparking rumours of an imminent hard lockdown.

The meeting had originally been set down for Sunday. The country recorded more than 2 800 cases and 12 deaths in the last 24-hours.

Health authorities say the country has officially entered its fourth wave of high infections.

The discovery of the new COVID-19  Omnicron variant circulating in South Africa has exacerbated concerns of intensified restrictions.

WHO names new variant Omicron:

Additional reporting by Zoleka Qodashe.