COVID-19 cases in Philippines hit 578,381 on day govât launches vaccination drive
A health worker holds up a vial of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine during the first phase of vaccinations for health workers at a hospital in Manila on March 1, 2021.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

COVID-19 cases in Philippines hit 578,381 on day gov’t launches vaccination drive

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 1, 2021 - 4:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines reached over 578,000 Monday as the government launched a vaccination campaign to contain Southeast Asia’s second worst COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Health reported 2,037 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the country’s caseload to 578,381.

Of the total, 31,708 or 5.5% were active cases or those who are still undergoing treatment and quarantine.

The country has been seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases with daily new infections breaching the 2,000-level in the past few days.

At least 534,351 individuals have recuperated from COVID-19 after the department recorded 86 additional recoveries.

Meanwhile, the death toll reached 12,322 with four more patients succumbing to the respiratory illness.

What’s new today?

  • The Philippines finally kicked off its inoculation drive, which has been delayed for weeks, with medical workers, government officials and uniformed personnel among the first in line to receive shots of CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech. The vaccination campaign faces supply problems and public reluctance to get shots.
  • Philippine General Hospital Director Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi was the first person in the country who received an authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Last year, members of the Presidential Security Group and several government officials jumped the vaccination line and used smuggled vaccines developed by Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm despite the lack of regulatory approval.
  • Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. called the arrival of donated vaccines from China “doses of hope.” He urged Filipinos to get inoculated, saying it is their “moral obligation.”
  • Malacañang said Sinopharm has sought for the emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine. But Food and Drug Administration Director General said it has no information yet on the firm’s application.
  • Galvez said doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to arrive by the second quarter of the year. The vaccine czar said there is no definite date for the arrival of AstraZeneca shots but he is hoping the shipment will come before the first quarter ends. Officials initially said that jabs that will be distributed through the COVAX facility could be here by mid-February.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs logged 17 new COVID-19 cases, 21 new recoveries, and no new fatalities among Filipinos abroad. 

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