Philippines logs 1,631 new COVID-19 cases, vaccine deal of 2.6M doses signed

MANILA (Xinhua) – The Department of Health (DoH) of the Philippines yesterday reported 1,631 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, bringing the total number in the country to 425,918.

The DoH said 370 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 387,616. The death toll climbed to 8,255 after 46 more patients died from the viral disease, the DoH added.

The Philippines yesterday signed an agreement to buy 2.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. To be paid by the Philippine private sector, the initial supply will help inoculate over one million Filipinos.

“We hope that these vaccines will arrive in May or June next year. At least Filipinos can now be assured that we will not be left behind,” Philippine Presidential Advisor for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said during the ceremonial signing.

He said the vaccines will be donated to the Department of Health of the Philippines for distribution.

Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the Philippine national action plan to combat COVID-19, said the 2.6 million vaccines from AstraZeneca “will be a game-changer in our quest to recover and heal together”.

“It will give people the confidence that we now finally have a chance to beat the virus,” Galvez said.

Galvez said the Philippines is also negotiating with AstraZeneca for the possible purchase of another million doses of vaccine. The Philippine government aims to vaccinate about 60 million Filipinos in three to five years to achieve herd immunity.

People at the COVID-19 isolation facility in Manila, the Philippines. PHOTO: XINHUA