Pakistan has recorded more than 4,000 coronavirus cases in a day for the first time since July, driven by a spike in infections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the country battles the third wave of the virus.
According to the government's database for tracking the spread of the coronavirus, Pakistan reported 4,368 cases in the last 24 hours, up from 3,946 a day earlier. This is the highest single-day caseload recorded since July 2, 2020, when the country detected 4,432 infections during the first wave.
The majority of the new cases were reported in Punjab which accounted for 2,451 (56.1 per cent) of the tally. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also saw a jump in new cases, confirming 890 infections compared to yesterday's 583 – an increase of 52pc.
The country's positivity rate has risen to 10.2pc.
The country-wide breakdown of new cases is as follows:
- Punjab: 2,451
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 890
- Sindh: 247
- Balochistan: 32
- Islamabad: 663
- Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 79
- Gilgit Baltistan: 6
In the same time period, the country recorded 63 fatalities from the virus, the majority of which — 43 (68.2pc) — were confirmed in Punjab.
Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) shared data regarding oxygenated hospital beds and ventilator occupancy in various cities of the country, depicting a ire situation in many cities of Punjab.
According to the data, Multan has the highest ventilator occupancy at 65pc, followed by Islamabad at 62pc, Gujranwala at 60pc and Lahore at 54pc.
There are no patients on ventilators in Balochistan, AJK and GB, the NCOC said.
More than 95pc of oxygen beds at hospitals in Gujrat are occupied, followed by Gujranwala (85pc), Peshawar (73pc) and Islamabad (49pc).
As the number of cases rose in the province, the Punjab government imposed smart lockdown in 11 areas of Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Sialkot.
On the other hand, the KP government announced that markets in the province would remain closed on Fridays and Saturdays.
Earlier this week, the NCOC had decided to enforce a number of new restrictions for cities where the positivity rate was more than eight per cent.
The forum had voiced "grave concern" over the current situation of the coronavirus in Pakistan and "unanimously agreed" upon a number of high-impact interventions in cities and districts where the three-day rolling positivity rate average was over 8pc.
These restrictions will remain in effect till April 11 while a review will be held on April 7.
The NCOC also decided to shut down all educational institutes in areas with a high incidence of Covid-19, including Islamabad till April 11.
Earlier this month, the NCOC had announced a two-week spring vacation in educational institutions in 10 cities of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Islamabad from March 15 till March 28.