MANILA: The Philippines’ health ministry on Friday (Mar 12) reported 4,578 new coronavirus infections, the biggest daily increase in cases in nearly six months.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had risen to 611,618, while deaths had reached 12,694, with 87 fatalities added on Friday.
The renewed surge in COVID-19 cases has prompted mayors in the capital Manila, an urban sprawl of 16 cities, to impose an evening curfew until the end of March and remind the public to practise physical distancing.
Health authorities also said on Friday they saw no reason to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country despite the suspension of inoculations in Denmark, Norway and Iceland due to reports of blood clots.
“At present, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration emphasise that there is no indication for the Philippines to stop the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines,” the health ministry and the country’s food and drug administration said in a joint statement, adding that benefits outweigh the risks.
The Philippines has so far received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility.