Johnson & Johnson applies for emergency Covid-19 vaccine use in the Philippines as total cases goes above 800,000 on Monday (April 5)

MANILA, April 5 (Reuters): Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has filed its application for emergency use authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine in the Philippines, the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief said on Monday.

J&J's documents, which were submitted on Wednesday, are now under evaluation, FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo told reporters.

J&J, which has a single-shot coronavirus vaccine, is the seventh vaccine maker to seek approval in the Philippines.

Philippines are currently going through another wave of high Covid-19 cases being reported in the country.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had agreed to extend the strict Covid-19 lockdown measures in Metro Manila and four adjacent areas for another week as the virus case count continues to surge, his spokesperson said on Saturday (April 3).

The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday 8,355 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 803,398.

The death toll climbed to 13,435 after 10 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The steady rise in cases prompted the government to reimpose a raft of strict lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces to contain the spread of the virus. Metro Manila is still the epicentre of the outbreak, with the most active and new cases.

The Philippines, with a population of about 110 million, has tested over 9.7 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

This country began vaccinations on March 1, a day after the first batch of CoronaVac vaccine donated by China arrived in the country.

The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity, starting with health care workers and the elderly. -Reuters
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