MANILA — The Philippines beat its highest record of daily coronavirus vaccinations for a second time this week, on the same day that chaos overtook several COVID-19 inoculation sites in Metro Manila, an official said on Friday.
Thousands showed up on Thursday at several Manila and Las Piñas sites, hoping to receive a jab before the capital region returned to the strictest of 4 lockdown levels, the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), from Aug. 6 to 20.
Photos on social media showed people jostling to be the first in line at vaccination centers, prompting police intervention to enforce social distancing rules.
On the same day, authorities nationwide administered 710,482 coronavirus shots, the new single-day record-high, said National Task Force Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon.
The previous record-high number of vaccinations in a day, at 702,013 shots given, was set on Tuesday, he noted.
"Napakalaking bagay po nito, lalong-lalo na ngayon papasok tayo ng ECQ at marami tayong kababayan na kailangan talagang mabigyan natin ng proteksyon laban sa Delta variant," Dizon said in a televised public briefing.
(This is a big thing, especially now that we are entering ECQ and we need to protect many of our compatriots against the Delta variant.)
The Philippines in total has administered 23,199,187 COVID-19 shots, including 12,493,997 first doses and 10,705,190 second jabs, based on Dizon's slideshow.
With around 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and more than 28,000 deaths, the Philippines has the second worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.
The Philippines has detected some 300 cases of the Delta variant that is driving an uptick in infections across the region.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier threatened to arrest people who do not get a vaccine. Last month, he ordered village chiefs to prevent those in their communities who refuse to be vaccinated from leaving home.
Roque said authorized people, including those buying essential goods, travelling for medical reasons and frontline workers, would be allowed unrestricted movement under the lockdown, even if unvaccinated.
"Let us not make vaccination a superspreader," Roque told a media briefing. "It should save lives, not endanger lives."
— With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News; Reuters