Philippines Clears Russia Shot as Virus Cases Rise by Record
(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines cleared Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, while it reimposed stricter limits for restaurants and mass gatherings to stem resurging coronavirus infections that soared by a record on Friday.
The vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology “may be effective to prevent Covid-19” for people 18 years and older, Philippine Food and Drug Administration head Eric Domingo said.
The Southeast Asian nation adds to a growing list of countries to grant emergency approval to the Russian vaccine, which has shown 91.6% efficacy. Vaccines from Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE, AstraZeneca Plc. and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. have earlier been authorized by the local regulator, with the latter two currently used to inoculate health workers.
Moderna Inc. has signed a deal with the Philippine government and private sector led by business tycoon Enrique Razon to supply 20 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccines, the nation’s virus task force said in a separate statement Friday.
The Philippines, which has Southeast Asia’s second-worst outbreak, reported a record surge in Covid-19 infections Friday with 7,103 new cases, bringing the total to 648,066.
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The government ordered dine-in restaurants to operate at half capacity until April 4 in areas under general community quarantine including the capital, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a televised briefing. Conferences and religious gatherings were also limited to 30% of the venue’s capacity, while museums and other tourist attractions will be shut.
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Earlier travel restrictions were however loosened, with all returning citizens and foreign diplomats allowed to enter.
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