The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines and Pakistan climbed, with Manila crossing the 600,000 mark on Tuesday after 2,668 new infections were reported.

According to the Philippines health authorities, the total number of COVID-19 cases hit 600,428 with 41,822 active cases.

With the latest seven deaths confirmed on Tuesday, the total number of virus-related fatalities in the country reached 12,528.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s tally of coronavirus cases neared 600,000 as infections climbed again following a decline over the last two months.

According to data from the country’s Health Ministry, 1,353 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload to 593,453. With 54 more fatalities, the death toll also rose to 13,281.

“COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in Pakistan are increasing once again. The decline seen over the past 2 months is clearly reversing as positivity has gone up from 3.31% to 4.16% within a week. We must remember that the pandemic is not over,” Faisal Sultan, the special assistant to the prime minister on national health services, tweeted.

On Tuesday, Faisal also announced that vaccination of people aged 60 and over will begin on Wednesday.

The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign will begin on March 10, and senior citizens will receive SMS messages on their mobile phones with instructions for vaccination, he added.

* Islamuddin Sajid from Islamabad contributed to this story.

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