Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti announced that his government expects the first 1 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to arrive in the next few days.

In a televised address on Tuesday evening, Sagasti announced that the country would begin its vaccination schedule in February with health workers on the front lines as a priority group.

The president also announced that he will be among the first people in the country to receive the vaccine.

The Peruvian government also signed two more agreements with Sinopharm for half a million doses in February and 1.5 million doses in March, Sagasti added.

The Sagasti government has been heavily criticized for the delay in securing vaccination contracts with various laboratories. Peru’s Foreign Minister Elizabeth Astete told Congress last week the country had negotiated 28 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

Peru participated in the clinical trials of the Sinopharm vaccine, but the vaccine has yet to be approved by Peruvian regulatory authorities.

New restrictions: Peru announced new lockdowns for 10 of its 25 regions, including the capital, Lima, as Covid-19 cases rise and hospitals hit a breaking point. Bans begin January 31st.

The country is also trying to address a shortage of intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients, said Peru’s President Francisco Sagasti during his address on Tuesday.

“We expect to add another 350 (beds) over the next two weeks,” he said.

According to the country’s health ministry, Peru recorded 40,000 deaths from Covid-19 in an aggressive second wave on Tuesday. Infections are also on the rise – about 100,000 new cases were recorded in the last month alone – as officials warn of burned-out doctors and overwhelmed intensive care units.

Read more about the crisis in Peru:

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