50,000 Sputnik V doses arrive

THE PHILIPPINES took delivery of about 50,000 more doses of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines from Russia on Sunday night, according to the presidential palace.

The vaccines, made by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, would be given out in areas experiencing a fresh surge in infections, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing on Monday.

The government has received 80,000 Sputnik V doses from Russia, he said. It took delivery of 15,000 separate doses on May 1 and 12.

Mr. Roque said the government would receive about a million more doses of CoronaVac made by China’s Sinovac Biotech, Ltd. on June 6. The government paid for the vaccines, he added.

He also said about 1.3 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer, Inc. and 900,00 doses of the shot made by AstraZeneca Plc would arrive by the second week of June. Mr. Roque said the country is expecting about 200,000 doses of the vaccine made by Moderna, Inc.

The government earlier said the government would start vaccinating economic frontliners and other sectors under the fourth priority group in June.

Mr. Roque said the vaccination of the so-called A4 group would begin in the capital region and other areas experiencing a surge, such as Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Batangas.

The Department of Health (DoH) reported 6,684 coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 1.23 million.

The death toll rose by 107 to 20,966, while recoveries increased by 6,098 to 1.16 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 54,290 active cases, 1.4% of which were critical, 93.3% were mild, 2.2% did not show symptoms, 1.8% were severe and 1.28% were moderate.

It said 10 duplicates had been removed from the tally, six of which were tagged as recoveries and one as death. Fifty-seven recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Three laboratories failed to submit data on May 29, DoH said.

About 12.5 million Filipinos have been tested for the coronavirus as of May 29, according to DoH’s tracker website.

The coronavirus has sickened about 171 million and killed 3.6 million people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization.

About 153.2 million people have recovered, it said.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said people should not panic after reports of a hybrid coronavirus variant in Vietnam.

She said following protocols and vaccination would protect everyone from the coronavirus, whatever the variant is. The World Health Organization had not received the details of the variant from Vietnam, she added.

“For now, we still do not have sufficient evidence for this,” Ms. Vergeire said. “We just need to strictly enforce compliance with minimum health protocols.”

Vietnamese health on Sunday said they have detected a new coronavirus variant — a combination of the more contagious variants from India and the United Kingdom — that spreads quickly by air, Reuters reported.

Ms. Vergeire said the infection rate in Metro Manila and nearby areas have slowed. On the other hand, there’ s an increasing trend in the Caraga region, Mimaropa region, Western Visayas, Ilocos region and Central Visayas, she added.

She said Cagayan Valley had the highest average daily attack rate at 8.8 per 100,000 people, followed by the Cordillera Administrative Region and Metro Manila at 8.4 each.

The average daily attack rate refers to the number of new infections in two weeks, divided by the population. An average of more than seven is considered a high risk. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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