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Pakistan recorded more than two hundred COVID-19 deaths in a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday, as the government said it was considering stricter lockdowns.

A total of 201 new deaths were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the country's overall death toll from the virus to 17,530, according to the National Command Operation Center (NCOC), which oversees the government's pandemic response. The previous highest daily death count was 157 recorded on April 23.

The national positivity ratio, the number of infections among those tested, was 10.8%. The death rate, the number of infections resulting in fatalities, hit the highest point since the start of the pandemic, reaching around 2.2%.

Only around two million vaccinations have been administered in Pakistan, and the country has struggled to procure supplies to cover enough of its population.

According to the NCOC, most deaths occurred in Punjab followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

The NCOC further reported that at least 5,292 new coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the country's Covid-19 tally to 810,231.

Calling it an ‘unfortunate day in Pakistan,’ former minister for health Dr Zafar Mirza stressed that if Pakistanis act responsibly it can prevent and minimise this loss.

“But people are still not observing SOPs!! Very unfortunate,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, about 4,678 patients recovered from the deadly disease during the day taking total recoveries to 704,494.

According to NCOC, the total active Covid-19 cases across the country were reported to be 88,207.

The highest number of ventilators occupied in the country was found to be in Lahore at 75 per cent, followed by Multan at 74 per cent, Mardan at 73 per cent, Gujranwala with 59 per cent.

Read more: Lahore bears the brunt of Covid wave

The NCOC further reported that the highest number of oxygen bed occupancy in the country was in Gujranwala at 98 per cent followed Multan at 76 per cent, Peshawar at 72 per cent and Mardan at 71 per cent.

About 49,101 Covid-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours out of which 14,465 were conducted in Sindh, 20,665 in Punjab, 8,292in K-P, 3,812 in Islamabad, 695 in Balochistan, 323 in G-B and 849 tests were conducted in AJK.

Covid-19 related death by province

Out of the total 17,530 reported deaths, there have been at least 4,624 deaths in Sindh, 8,224 in Punjab, 3201in K-P, 675 in Islamabad.

About 233 deaths were reported in Balochistan, 105 deaths in G-B and 468 in AJK.

The NCOC also reported that a total of 11,682,014 tests had been conducted since the outbreak of the virus. There are about 631 hospitals with Covid-19 facilities with more than 6,200 patients admitted across the country, it added.

On Monday, Pakistani army troops were deployed in 16 major cities with high positivity rates, to assist civilian law enforcement in enforcing measures meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the wearing of masks in public and the closing of non-essential businesses after 6pm.

Stricter measures were taken in a handful of cities with the highest positivity rates this week, and on Tuesday Health Minister Faisal Sultan warned such steps could be extended to other areas if the public did not heed advice on social distancing, wearing masks, and other precautionary measures, especially during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan with the upcoming Eid holiday next month.

"Please keep your Ramadan and Eid simple this year, so we can fight this disease and get through this difficult situation," Sultan said.

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