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Philippines records 2,987 more coronavirus infections, 19 deaths

Philippines records 2,987 more coronavirus infections, 19 deaths

A woman gets a free coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab testing at a gymnasium in Navotas City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA: The Philippines on Tuesday (Aug 11) reported 2,987 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally of confirmed cases to 139,538, the highest in Southeast Asia.

A health ministry bulletin also reported 19 more fatalities, bringing the country's death toll to 2,312. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said an intensified contact tracing to isolate positive cases was necessary to slow community transmission, as he dismissed the possibility of extending a two-week strict lockdown due to end on Aug 18 in and around the capital Manila.

The Philippines' health department vowed on Sunday to update its game plan against COVID-19 within a week and sought to beef up the healthcare workforce in the capital Manila, where medical frontliners are calling for reviving strict lockdowns.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he would mobilise the military to enforce the lockdown if the situation becomes a "runaway contagion".

He also welcomed on Tuesday an offer from Russia to supply a COVID-19 vaccine that he expects will be free of charge.

READ: Philippines' Duterte has 'huge trust' in Russia COVID-19 vaccine, volunteers for trial

Russia expects regulatory approval for a potential COVID-19 vaccine this month and is ready to provide it to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass produce it.

Duterte's office on Tuesday said the Philippines stands ready to work with Russia on vaccine trials, supply and production.

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Source: Reuters/aa/jt

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