Philippines: Officials confident arrivals of vaccines will control current wave; 11,378 new Covid-19 cases, total surpasses 876,000

Residents, whose jobs or livelihoods were affected by stricter restrictions imposed amid rising coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, receive cash assistance from the government, at an elementary school in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, April 12, 2021. - Reuters

MANILA, April 12 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday 11,378 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 876,225.

The death toll climbed to 15,149 after 204 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

There are now 157,451 active cases in the country, the DOH added.

The Philippines, with a population of about 110 million, has tested over 10 million people since the outbreak of the pandemic in January 2020.

The Philippines thanked China for sustaining the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to the country after receiving the second batch of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine on Sunday.

Carlito Galvez, the official in charge of the government's vaccine procurement efforts, said on Monday the arrival of the new batch of CoronaVac vaccines "will surely help in our effort to vaccinate more Filipinos and put an end to this pandemic."

He said the government plans to deploy the newly-delivered CoronaVac vaccines to the provinces in the central and southern Philippines.

China delivered the first batch of CoronaVac vaccines donated to the Philippines on Feb 28, allowing the country to kick off its vaccination campaign on March 1.

"The government is focusing its limited vaccine supplies in areas with the highest infection rates, including Metro Manila, neighboring provinces, Cebu and the Western Visayas region in the central Philippines, and Zamboanga Peninsula Davao Region in the southern Philippines," Galvez said in a statement.

Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces will continue to be under strict lockdown until April 30 as the government tries to curb the virus surge. The five areas are home to over 28 million people.

Meanwhile, the Philippines on Sunday received the second batch of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccines purchased from China.

The Philippine Airlines, which flew the vaccines to Manila, handed over the shipment to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, the official in charge of the Philippines' vaccine procurement efforts.

The Philippines is ramping up its vaccination efforts as it continues combating a surge of Covid-19 infections fuelled by the more infectious coronavirus variants. The government aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity, starting with health care workers and the elderly. - Xinhua

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