Lahore/Quetta/Karachi/Peshawar (Staff Report/Agencies): The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 969,476 on Friday after 1,737 new coronavirus cases surfaced in the country during the last 24 hours.
Overall 344,223 cases were confirmed in Sindh, 347,553 in Punjab, 139,008 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 27,781 in Balochistan, 83,400 in Islamabad, 6,700 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and 20,811 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
As per the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data, 47,528 tests were conducted in last 24 hours while positivity ratio remained 3.65%.
According to the government's COVID-19 portal, the death toll related to coronavirus has reached to 22,520 with 25 fatalities reported during the last 24 hours.
Over the last twenty four hours, total number of recovered COVID-19 patients across the country reached 911,383 after another 774 virus recoveries were reported.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, said on Friday that there are clear signs of a fourth wave of COVID-19 starting in Pakistan.
In a message on Twitter, he said: "Two weeks ago, I had tweeted that our artificial intelligence models are showing the possible emergence of a fourth wave. Now there are clear early signs of a fourth wave starting."
The minister blamed poor compliance with coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) and spread of virus variants, particularly Delta variant that was first detected in India, for the looming fourth wave of COVID-19.
In another tweet, Asad Umar said that field reports were showing a complete disregard of the condition of vaccination for those attending indoor weddings, and going to indoor restaurants and gyms.
"If the owners of these facilities do not show responsibility and ensure compliance, there will be no choice but to shut them down," he said.
It is pertinent to mention that the global coronavirus cases have reportedly surpassed 186.357 million and death toll tops 4,026,907.