Philippines Clears Russia Shot as Virus Cases Rise by Record

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.

Philippines Clears Russia Shot as Virus Cases Rise by Record

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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