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Pakistan on Wednesday began vaccinating its people aged 60 years and over against COVID-19, according to Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan.

The group of elderly people have been planned to receive the vaccine in the second phase of a nationwide vaccination drive, Sultan told Xinhua.

Pakistan started its COVID-19 vaccination drive in February after the arrival of China-gifted vaccine doses, with the frontline health workers given the priority for inoculation.

Last week, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan further approved the emergency use of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for people over 60 years of age.

Pakistan began inoculating the elderly at a time when daily new COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since it eased coronavirus restrictions late last month.

Pakistan reported 1,786 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 43 more deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing its total tally to 595,239 with 13,324 deaths, according to data released by the health ministry on Wednesday.