Pakistan reports 153 deaths, highest daily toll

Pakistan has reported 153 COVID-19 fatalities, a new daily record, as infections continue to spiral, pushing the overall number of confirmed cases to 171,665.

Pakistan recorded 6,604 new infections in the last 24 hours. The total death toll stands at 3,382.

Hospitals are filling up and in many cities across the country, COVID-19 patients are being turned away.

In a country of 220 million people, Pakistan has less than 3,000 ICU beds, among the world’s lowest. Ventilators are being distributed to some of the worst-hit areas and the government has sealed more than 800 residential and business areas where clusters of infections have surfaced.

Yet despite urging from medical professionals, who have recorded more than 3,000 infections from among their ranks, and the World Health Organization, Pakistan has refused to impose strict lockdowns. Prime Minister Imran Khan says easing restrictions is the only way to save the economy.

On Friday, Pakistan signed a $1.5 billion loan agreement with three international lending institutions. The country’s poverty rate of 30% has jumped to 40% in just three months.

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