Pakistan witnesses 29% increase in new COVID-19 cases

Islamabad: Pakistan has witnessed a 29 per cent increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said on Thursday.

The NCOC said in a statement that 4,207 cases were reported over the last 24 hours against the 3,256 cases reported in the previous day, taking the overall infection tally to 890,391, reports Xinhua news agency.

Punjab province is the worst-hit region with 331,102 confirmed cases, followed by Sindh where 303,323 people have been tested positive, said the NCOC.

A total of 131 people died across the country during the last 24 hours which is about 26 per cent higher than the number of deaths in the previous day.

The overall death toll has risen to 19,987, the NCOC said, adding that 804,122 people have recovered while 4,517 patients are in critical condition.

A total of 4,747,033 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered till Thursday morning, including 1,156,893 persons who have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

The latest resurgence came days after Pakistan started to ease anti-pandemic restrictions including resumption of inter-provincial, inter-city and intra-city public transport.

On Wednesday, chief of the NCOC Asad Umar announced to further ease restrictions by allowing the opening of schools in districts with a positivity rate of less than 5 per cent from May 24.

Under the new guidelines, outdoor restaurants will be opened daily until 11.59 p.m., while the tourism sector is allowed to operate under strict protocols, from May 24.

However, shrines, cinemas, indoor dining, indoor gyms, amusement parks, contact sports, festivals, cultural and other events will remain prohibited for an indefinite time, said the NCOC.