With Eidul Azha just a few days away, the fourth Covid wave appears to be taking hold as Pakistan recorded 2,545 cases on Thursday – a massive 28.5 per cent increase over the 1,980 cases reported a day ago.
This is the first time the country has reported more than 2,500 infections since May 29, when 2,697 cases were reported.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 48,910 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours of which 2,545 came back positive. The total number of cases has increased to 981,392 and the death toll is 22,689.
The positivity rate has also soared to 5.2 per cent from 4.17pc a day earlier. The last time the positivity rate had crossed 5pc was on May 23, when it was recorded as 5.22pc.
Positivity rates in different cities:
- Gilgit: 23.17pc
- Skardu: 21.26pc
- Muzaffarabad: 21.03pc
- Karachi: 19.29pc
- Rawalpindi: 11.97pc
- Peshawar: 9.4pc
- Islamabad: 6.2pc
- Lahore: 3.8pc
Giving a breakdown of the data, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said "Covid-19 numbers continue to rise" in the country. "Use masks (even if you are vaccinated), avoid crowds," he advised, urging citizens to get themselves vaccinated.
Voicing his concern, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that a rapid build up was starting to take place in the inflow of Covid-19 and critical care patients at hospitals.
"The Indian variant has caused devastation in countries in the region. Please follow SOPs and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Do not risk your own and others lives," he urged.
The overnight increase in cases comes as officials in recent weeks sounded the alarm over a fourth wave fuelled by the Delta variant, first detected in India. Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan had issued a clear warning of a looming fourth wave, terming the Delta variant “the biggest concern”.
The concerns were later echoed by Umar, who said that there were clear signs of a fourth Covid-19 wave starting in Pakistan. A day earlier, the minister for special initiatives had shared a Bloomberg article about the coronavirus situation in India and the economic toll on the people.
"This is the devastation Covid can cause if you don’t take the right decisions at the right time,” the minister had tweeted.
In addition, more than 40 cases of the Delta variant have been reported in Karachi during the current month while the positivity rate in the metropolis has also soared. On Wednesday, the Sindh government reimposed coronavirus restrictions in the province, closing down schools and indoor dining, as Karachi's positivity rate was recorded as 17.11pc.
Additional input from Ikram Junaidi