Philippines May Shift to Lowest Quarantine Level as Vaccines Arrive

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is more confident about further reopening the economy which suffered its worst slump last year, a Cabinet official said, as the nation got its first vaccine shipment from the Covax facility.

The nation may shift next quarter to the lowest quarantine level where mass gatherings are allowed, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said at a virtual briefing Thursday. Duterte “really wants to” ease mobility restrictions as he’s “very happy” with the start of vaccine rollout, Nograles said.

The Philippines, which has the region’s second-worst coronavirus outbreak, on Thursday night got more than 487,000 AstraZeneca Plc. vaccines from the Covax facility, which supplies shots to poor nations. It started inoculations this week using 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shots donated by China.

The Southeast Asian nation is working to buy 1 million more doses from Sinovac for possible delivery later this month, government officials have said. Duterte earlier said he wants vaccine stockpile to reach 2 million before he eases virus restrictions.

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