1M more Chinese vaccines arrive

THE PHILIPPINES on Thursday took delivery of a million more doses of CoronaVac from China — the biggest single-day delivery so far — as the government expands its vaccination drive against the coronavirus, according to the presidential palace.

The government paid for the vaccines from Sinovac Biotech Ltd., presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing.

About 2.2 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer, Inc. under a global initiative for equal access were also set to arrive on Thursday night.

The second shipment of Pfizer vaccines would be used for health frontliners, senior citizens and seriously ill people, according to a report by the state news agency.

The government is also set to take delivery of 1.5 million more doses of CoronaVac on June 17, it said, citing vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.

Mr. Galvez earlier said the country would take delivery of as many as 40 million vaccine shots from June to August.

The Philippines, which started its vaccination drive on March 1, seeks to inoculate as many as 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity.

The Department of Health (DoH) reported 7,485 coronavirus infections on Thursday, bringing the total to 1.3 million.

The death toll rose by 122 to 22,312, while recoveries increased by 4,504 to 1.21 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 56,921 active cases, 1.3% of which were critical, 92.6% were mild, 3.2% did not show symptoms, 1.7% were severe and 1.18% were moderate.

The agency said 15 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 12 of which were tagged as recoveries. Sixty-five recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Four laboratories failed to submit data on June 8.

About 13 million Filipinos have been tested for the coronavirus as of June 8, according to DoH’s tracker website.

The coronavirus has sickened about 175.2 million and killed 3.8 million people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization.

About 158.7 million people have recovered, it said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Roque said about 58% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the country have been used.

About 49% of isolation beds and 49% of ward beds had been occupied as of Wednesday. About 38% of ventilators nationwide have been used.

Mr. Roque said about 53% of ICU beds and 39% of isolation beds in the capital region have been occupied. About 37% of ward beds and 35% of ventilators have been used.

The government placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces under a strict lockdown from March to mid-May after a fresh surge in coronavirus infections. The restrictions have since been eased.

Philippine authorities earlier said the southern and central parts of the Philippines were experiencing a surge in infections.

The Philippines started immunizing its labor force against the coronavirus on Monday as government seeks to further reopen its economy after imposing one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte said the vaccination of essential workers in the private and public sectors was a “major milestone” in the fight against the pandemic.

The inoculation of private workers, government employees, and informal sectors workers is being carried out first in Metro Manila and other key economic hubs due to limited supply.

The Philippines aims to inoculate at least 500,000 people daily in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao to achieve herd immunity by Nov. 27. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Vann Marlo M. Villegas