With only 6 percent of the Philippines' 110 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, millions remain vulnerable to infection. The government is aiming to fully immunise up to 70 million people before the year ends.
"Give the vaccines to those who want to be vaccinated," Duterte said in a late-night address, expressing concern over the contagious Delta variant, which is ripping through Southeast Asia, now a global epicentre for the virus.
People waiting for their turns to get vaccine shots in Philippines. (Photo: VNA)
It was not immediately clear if his directive meant that the vaccines could now be given to Filipinos not included in the government's priority groups.
Given limited supplies, it is prioritising healthcare workers, the elderly, people with existing medical conditions and working age adults.
The country has so far reported 119 cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India, but health experts say there could be more undetected cases because of the slow pace of the country's genome sequencing capacity.
With more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases and more than 27,000 deaths, the Philippines has the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Cambodia on July 29 reported 765 new COVID-19 infections including 328 imported cases, pushing the national total caseload to 75,917.
Eleven more fatalities were recorded, bringing the overall death toll to 1,350, the health ministry said, adding that 694 other patients had recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 68,386.
Given a surge in imported cases over the past weeks, Cambodia has decided to impose coronavirus restrictions for eight provinces bordering Thailand.
The Cambodian Government on July 28 also announced a nationwide campaign to strengthen COVID-19 prevention and control measures, as the country is facing the third wave of larger transmission caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
According to the government's directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the campaign lasts two weeks, from July 29 to August 12, the Cambodia News Agency AKP reported./.