Workers sprays disinfectant along a road during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Karachi on May 4, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

THE number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan reached 21,501 after 1,315 new infections were recorded, while 24 people died due to the disease, taking the death toll in the country to 486, the health ministry said on Tuesday (5).

According to the ministry of national health services, Punjab reported 8,103 case, Sindh 7,882, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 3,288 Balochistan 1,321, Islamabad 464, Gilgit-Baltistan 372 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 71 cases.

The ministry said that as many as 222,404 tests were conducted, including 9,857 in the last 24 hours. During the period, 1,315 new patients were reported, taking the tally to 21,501 in the country.

The total number of deaths reached 486 after 24 patients died of the disease. Another 5,782 patients have recovered so far.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday (4) said that the nationwide lockdown will be lifted gradually, asserting that Pakistan cannot afford an indefinite closure. He is also expected to chair the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (5) to discuss the COVID-19 and lockdown situation in the country.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Supreme Court has expressed dismay over the shutting down of business activities by the provincial governments to contain the spread of the virus, questioning if their decision was against the mandate of the Constitution.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, while hearing a case about the tackling of the pandemic in the country, questioned which authority had empowered the provincial governments to encroach upon the revenue generation domain of the federation and that too without prior concurrence of the president or the federal government.