The total number of polio cases reported in Pakistan this year has increased to 72, with two more children testing positive for the crippling disease, a health official said.

The two new cases were detected in Sindh and Balochistan, Dawn news reported.

“Countrywide, 72 polio cases have been reported this year, out of which 53 cases are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Sindh, six from Balochistan and five from Punjab,” the official said on Saturday.

Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) officials have planned “aggressive campaigns” from next month to June 2020, “aiming to eradicate polio from the environment”.

The EOC and medical bodies such as the Pakistan Paediatric Association stron­gly recommended parents to cooperate with polio teams.

The World Health Organisation’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Polio Eradication has said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a major barrier to polio eradication efforts in Pakistan. It termed the situation caused by the parallel polio structure in the province ‘crises’, Dawn reported.

There are only two countries in the world, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where polio cases are still reported.

Pakistan remains under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the WHO due to which since 2014 every person travelling aboard has to carry a polio vaccination certificate.