ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday reported its highest number of daily coronavirus-related deaths amid fears that the country may face a situation similar to neighbouring India.
The South Asian country recorded 201 deaths within the last 24 hours, making it the deadliest day since the pandemic began.
The death toll now stands at 17,530, according to the Health Ministry. The total number of cases reached 810,231 with the addition of 5,292 new infections.
A steady surge in new infections - with a more than 10-per-cent positivity rate of those tested for the coronavirus - pushed the authorities to put megacities under lockdown.
Provincial governments have been asked to make arrangements for the imposition of a complete lockdown, from next week, in 20 major cities, a Health Ministry spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the authorities announced a blanket ban on tourism and inter-provincial transport during the upcoming Eid holidays. The government has already called in the military to enforce restrictions.
The new surge is overwhelming hospitals across the country, whereas oxygen suppliers have warned of extreme shortages.
The Pakistan Medical Association has asked the government for the imposition of more restrictions to contain the spread and to avoid a situation similar to India. — dpa