Pakistan on Thursday reported over 2,500 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day toll since May 30, as the Delta variant is spreading across the country, according to official data.
During past 24 hours, the country registered 2,545 new cases, bringing the total caseload to 981,392, the Health Ministry count showed.
On May 29, Pakistan recorded 2,697 cases which slowly declined to 663 on June 21. However, the virus has again spiked since July 6.
The daily fatalities also raised as the country reported 47 more deaths, the highest daily tally since June 15, raising the total number to 22,689.
The authorities already warned that Pakistan could move to the fourth wave if the public avoids following safety precautions.
“Rapid build-up starting to take place in covid patients hospital inflow, as well as patients in critical care. This Indian variant has caused devastation in countries in the region. Please follow sop’s (standard operating procedures) and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Do not risk your own & others lives,” Asad Umar, federal minister and head of the nation’s anti-virus strategy, tweeted.
Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan also called the Delta variant “the biggest concern,” and urged the public to follow safety precautions.
“After a downslide, infections are on the rise again. We fear that the Delta variant could strike Pakistan,” he said in a televised address.
“I appeal to the nation to wear masks and take protective measures.”
This spread comes despite the positivity ratio, which shot up to 9% in May, recently hovering between 2% and 5%.
Restrictions bringing back
To control the spread of the Delta variant, a strain of the virus first identified in neighboring India, authorities have banned the entry of the unvaccinated to tourist spots, hotels, movie theaters, and picnic areas during next week’s Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.
The government has also prohibited domestic air travel from Aug. 1 for those who have not received a jab.
Earlier, provincial governments warned that people who refuse to get immunized could have their cellphones blocked or salaries withheld.
Pakistan has expedited its inoculation drive in the past weeks, and people aged 18 or over is eligible for vaccination.
Over 21 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country to date. But only 4.2 million people are fully vaccinated in Pakistan with a population of over 200 million.
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