Tue, 18 May 2021

MANILA, April 19 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday 9,628 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 945,745.

The death toll climbed to 16,048 after 88 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

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

Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization (WHO) country representative to the Philippines, urged high-income countries to share the COVID-19 vaccines with developing countries like the Philippines.

"We continue to urge countries to share vaccines and make available all technologies so other countries can join to increase the capacity of vaccine production," he said in a televised press conference on Monday.

"We are still short of protecting all frontline health care workers, and the current surge demonstrates that medical workers have to be fully protected so that they can work to care for the sick," he added.

Abeyasinghe said the Philippines expects the WHO-led COVAX facility to deliver more vaccines to the Philippines sometime this month and May.

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the vaccines available in the Philippines are mostly China's Sinovac vaccines.

China was the first to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines. Its donation of Sinovac's CoronaVac vaccines arrived on Feb. 28, allowing the Philippines to start its mass vaccination on March 1.

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

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