- Positivity stands at over 7% for second straight day as 4,497 cases recorded during last 24 hours
- Highest number of fatalities recorded since June 9
- Sindh is already contemplating 'complete lockdown' amid surge in cases
Karachi: Pakistan reported its highest number of daily cases since April 30 after 4,497 people tested positive for the deadly coronavirus as the country endeavours to curtail the spread of the Delta variant as well as the threat of the fourth wave.
During the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus positivity ratio was recorded above 7% for the second consecutive day. The positivity ratio now stands at 7.53%. Pakistan conducted 59,707 tests during the last 24 hours, out of which 4,497 came out positive.
So far, 1,020,324 cases have been confirmed in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. There are 3,084 critical cases and 59,761 active cases. The virus also claimed 76 more lives in the last 24 hours, the highest number of fatalities recorded since June 9. The death toll has increased to 23,209.
Meanwhile, 1,612 people also recovered from Covid-19, taking the total number to 937,354.
Out of the new tests conducted across the country, Sindh again reported the highest number of cases at 2,672, Punjab (592), KPK (399), Balochistan (158), Islamabad (376), Gilgit-Baltistan (39) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (261).
Sindh continued to be the worst-hit province as it reported the highest number of deaths as well as Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Sindh has so far reported 374,434 cases and 5,903 deaths.
The worsening Covid-19 situation prompted the provincial government to reimpose restrictions, with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah restricting unnecessary movement after 6 pm.
It was announced that shops across the province would be open till 6 pm and only pharmacies would be allowed to remain open. The minister warned that action will be taken against shop owners in case of violation.
He stated that indoor and outdoor dining will be completely closed, and only takeaways and home deliveries will be allowed.
Karachi, which has been reporting the most number of cases, is currently struggling with a health system overwhelmed by patients. Executive Director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) Dr Seemin Jamali told Business Recorder that the situation is much more precarious than before.
"We have never seen such numbers in the previous Covid waves," she said, adding that out of 160 beds in coronavirus-dedicated wards at JPMC, 109 were occupied on Wednesday evening.
She warned that the Delta variant is more contagious than the previous coronavirus infections. "One person can spread it to more people if they are infected with the Delta variant," Dr Jamali added.
With the surge in coronavirus cases in the port city, more and more people are daily lining outside Covid-19 testing centres as well as vaccination centres. Karachi Expo Centre, Dow University of Health Sciences are some of the centres where hundreds of people were lined up since the wee hours of the morning to get themselves either tested or vaccinated.
Doctors and health experts have recommended a 15-day lockdown in Karachi. Secretary-General of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Dr Qaiser Sajjad said they had suggested a complete lockdown in Karachi for 15 days to avoid an unexpected spike in coronavirus cases.
"There is only one solution to this problem and it is to impose a complete lockdown for 15 days," he said, adding that pressure was mounting on hospitals and it could lead to a dangerous situation.
CM Shah has also convened the Covid Task Force meeting on Friday in order to mull over the curbs on movement and the final decision to impose a complete lockdown would be taken after consultation with traders and other stakeholders in Karachi.