MANILA, Philippines — Manila has distributed 622 vials of anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab to parts of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao for use on patients with severe or critical COVID-19, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the city’s Public Information Office.
The vials were given to 12 cities in Metro Manila, 17 areas in Luzon, three in the Visayas, and three in Mindanao.
The Department of Health (DOH) is currently struggling to procure tocilizumab, which is currently in short supply.
Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the spokesperson of the DOH, said the health had started coordinating with various suppliers of the tocilizumab, such as Switzerland and Iran.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso himself earlier urged the national government to focus funds on the procurement of COVID-19 drugs, like tocilizumab and remdesivir, instead of face shields — especially amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the more transmissible Delta variant.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 14, the Philippines had a total of 2,266,066 COVID-19 cases, which includes 177,670 active infections, 2,052,867 recoveries, and 35,529 deaths.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila and 11 other regions have been classified as high risk for COVID-19. The other areas are the Cordillera Administrative Region, Calabarzon, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Davao Region, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Caraga, Western Visayas, Soccsksargen, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
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