Pakistan on Wednesday reported its highest number of daily Coronavirus-related deaths amid fears that the country may face a similar to neighbouring India, where surging new infections have battered the health-care system.
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 had 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 mega-cities 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 government for the imposition of more restrictions to contain the spread and to avoid a situation similar to India where the health-care system is on the verge of a COVID-related collapse.
Pakistan started its vaccination campaign in February, but only around 2.1 million people out of a population of 220 million have been vaccinated so far.
On Tuesday, more than 100,000 people were vaccinated at over 1,200 centres.
Meanwhile, more people were also getting themselves registered in spite of skepticism about the vaccination.