President Cyril Ramphosa on Sunday night said that South Africans under level 3 lockdown would not be able to purchase tobacco products.
Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Ethekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, and Cape Town have been identified as "hotspots".
"We are consequently in a much better position than many other countries were at this stage in the progression of the disease".
The lockdown would only delay the spread of coronavirus but it would not be able to stop it, said the president, adding that one-third of the country's cumulative cases had been recorded over the past week alone.
Ramaphosa said that there are now around 11 0000 active coronavirus cases in the country.
A mourner wearing protective gloves holds a flower at a grave site during the funeral service of 63-year-old Mary Modimola, as centuries-old cultural traditions at funerals are being forgone due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Nasrec, South Africa, April 24, 2020.
He says they're particularly anxious about Cape Town and KZN's Ilembe District.
The list of hotspot areas will be reviewed every two weeks, he said.
A full team of health experts and doctors, including Cuban doctors, will be assigned to hotspots to manage the situation. The speech said that "in time", areas with low infections could move to Levels 2 or 1.
Most industries will be allowed to work, with a few exceptions, including the conferencing industry and restaurants, bars and taverns. Also, those who do not need to go to work or to an educational institution should continue to stay at home.
Alcohol would be sold for "home consumption only" under strict conditions on specified days and for limited hours, Ramaphosa announced in an address to the nation.
With up to eight million people returning to work, the implementation of alert level three will involve the return to operation for most sectors of the economy, subject to observance of strict health protocols and social distancing rules, he said. This decision is likely to prove highly controversial.
A number of businesses have also advised government that they are looking at how they can reduce congestion on public transport, including through staggering working hours and providing transport for employees.