Lahore: Pakistan’s Punjab has become the country’s first province to record over 1,000 coronavirus deaths after 62 more people succumbed to COVID-19 on Monday (June 15).

According to the national database for the coronavirus, Punjab reported 1,537 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 53,721.

A total of 62 new deaths were reported from the province, pushing the number of fatalities to 1,031. This makes Punjab the first province to cross 1,000 deaths, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Addressing the media in Lahore on Monday, Punjab’s health minister Yasmeen Rashid said that some areas of Lahore will be put under complete lockdown for 15 days from midnight tomorrow due to rapid increase in coronavirus cases.

“These areas will be locked down for at least two weeks and then we will observe the results,” she said.

The minister said that those who criticise the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government for failure were wrong.

“If our government has failed, so has every other government in the world. The media is comparing us to New Zealand and Taiwan. The population of New Zealand is half of that of Lahore’s. Controlling the virus there is much easier than controlling it in a thickly populated country like ours,” she said.

“People don’t understand that this is a viral infection. Even in China, where they followed strict measures with commendable discipline, there is a resurgence of cases,” she added.

Punjab is Pakistan’s second largest province, after Balochistan, and the most densely populated.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the coronavirus has infected over 7 million people and claimed over 4,30,000 lives across the globe.

The US is the worst-affected country with over 2 million cases and more than 1,15,000 deaths.