Pakistan has recorded 60 deaths and 2,963 new cases due to the Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday. According to the NCOC, 60 more people succumbed to the disease, taking the death toll to 8,547, while with fresh inclusion of the infections in the country the national tally of cases now currently stands at 426,142. A total of 1,797 patients recovered from the virus during the last 24 hours and 2,498 patients are in critical condition including 12 more declared critical. The total count of active cases is 45,324. According to the NCOC, a total of 38,092 tests were conducted across the country during this period, while so far 5,865,944 samples have been tested thus far. Overall 372,271 people have recovered from the deadly disease. The national dashboard stated that the highest death toll was recorded in Punjab province during the last 24 hours. Thirty-nine out of 60 deceased patients were on ventilators, whereas the number of critical patients is consistently increasing in parts of the country. Karachi reported over 21 percent positivity rate for the second day in a row, with at least 1,242 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, adding to Sindh’s single-day tally of 1,472 cases. According to data issued by the NCOC, the second-highest national coronavirus positivity rate of 19.03% was reported in Hyderabad. Moreover, the provincial tally of infections climbed to 187,684 with a 13.1% positivity rate. The third highest coronavirus positivity rate was observed in Mirpur with 13.16% of the PCR tests detecting SARS-CoV-2, followed by Rawalpindi with 13.03%, Peshawar with 13.02%, and Abbottabad at 11.82%. In provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the second-highest COVID-19 prevalence at 10.6%, closely followed by Azad Jammu and Kashmir at 9.8%. The federal capital and Balochistan recorded 6.3% and 6.5% respectively while Punjab and Gilgit Baltistan reported 3.9% and 3.7%. Meanwhile, as many as 19 areas of Rawalpindi and three of Bahawalpur have been placed under smart lockdown owing to the rising COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Secretary Healthcare Punjab Muhammad Usman has stated that “shopping malls, restaurants and public and private offices will remain closed in the affected areas”. “Restrictions will be imposed on the movement of residents in these areas and only one person at a time would be allowed to leave home”, the provincial healthcare department top official said. “Public gatherings will be completely banned in the areas placed under lockdown,” he further said. The secretary further stated that shops dealing in grocery, general stores, flour, will remain open from 9:00am to 7:00pm in these specified areas, milk shops, chicken, meat and fish vendors and bakeries will be opened from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Vegetable and fruit shops, tandoor and petrol pumps would work between 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, the secretary further stated. “Our basic purpose is to restrict movement in the areas affected by COVID-19,” said Muhammad Usman. On Tuesday as many as 55 areas of Lahore were placed under smart lockdown owing to the rising Covid-19 cases in the provincial capital of Punjab. The health secretary said that medical services, pharmacies, medical stores, and laboratories will remain open 24 hours in these areas. “Collection points, hospitals, and clinics will also remain open round the clock in the areas,” he said.