KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Saturday confirmed over 1,828 new COVID-19 cases, more than 1,737 registered a day before, the Health Ministry said.

Another 35 people died of the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the overall numbers to 971,304 cases, 22,555 related deaths and 912,295 recoveries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the nation to follow safety precautions, terming the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, “the biggest concern.”

“After a downslide, infections are on a rise again. We fear that the Delta variant could strike Pakistan,” he said in a recent video message broadcast on TV. “I appeal to the nation to wear masks, and take protective measures.” The premier also urged the masses to get themselves vaccinated.

With 422,743 vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hours, at least 15.32 million people in the South Asian country have received their first doses of a COVID vaccine, while 3.74 million are fully vaccinated.

Asad Umar, the head of Pakistan’s anti-virus task force, said on Friday that “there are clear early signs of 4th wave.” In a tweet, he attributed the rise in cases to poor compliance of health guidelines, coupled with the spread of variants of concern.

“Field reports are showing complete disregard of the condition of vaccination for those attending indoor weddings and going to indoor restaurants & gyms. If the owners of these facilities do not show responsibility & ensure compliance, there will be no choice but to shut them down,” he added.

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