Health & Environment

Many in Malaysia lack access to clean drinking water. Photo: Shutterstock

Water, water everywhere? Not necessarily in rain-ridden Malaysia

Clean water and sanitation were recognised as basic human rights by the UN in 2010 but still, around two million citizens in Malaysia do not have enough access to fit-to-drink H2O.

29 Jan 2023 - 7:42PM
Medical workers treat a Covid patient at a hospital in China’s Sichuan province this month. Photo: cnsphoto via Reuters

Long Covid casts a long shadow over Asia as patients cry out for a cure

Studies suggest that 10 per cent of infections result in the postviral condition, which has no known cure. But neither Singapore nor Malaysia track how many people have it.

29 Jan 2023 - 11:00AM
The pandemic has exacerbated chronic staffing woes in Malaysia’s healthcare sector, with many medical workers experiencing burnout. Photo: dpa

‘I’m busy’: overworked Malaysian doctor turns away patient amid hospital strain

The case of an accident victim who was turned away has highlighted how Malaysia’s stretched healthcare system is taking a toll on both health workers and patients.

26 Jan 2023 - 8:44PM
A person shovels snow in front of a shrine in Tottori, western Japan. Photo: Kyodo News via AP

Japan shivers as cold snap set to bring more chaos to homes, roads, crops

The cold snap affected road conditions as dozens of passenger cars and trucks were stranded for more than a day on the Shin-Meishin Expressway.

26 Jan 2023 - 9:44PM
An Omani patient waits for a consultation with orthopaedic surgeons at a hospital in Chennai. File photo: AFP

Is this Indian city Asia’s next big medical tourism hub?

Low cost, short waiting times, world-class infrastructure and skilled practitioners are some push factors for Chennai as a medical tourism hub, even as critics highlight neglect of services for lower-income citizens.

21 Jan 2023 - 3:00PM
People travelling from China wait for their baggage at an airport in France. Photo: EPA-EFE

Australia defends ‘moderate’ Covid testing mandate for China arrivals

Pre-departure testing was a reasonable condition to impose on travellers from China as there was ‘very little information’ about the spread of Covid in the country, Australian Health Minister Mark Butler told reporters.

5 Jan 2023 - 8:08PM
Health workers direct travellers arriving from China to a Covid-19 testing centre at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

South Korea hunts Chinese Covid-positive escapee who fled quarantine hotel

The 41-year-old passenger, who tested positive for Covid on arrival, fled from a quarantine hotel on Yeongjong Island off the west coast of Incheon, South Korean police said.

4 Jan 2023 - 3:01PM
Masked traveller walk through the international flight departure terminal entrance gate at the capital airport in Beijing. Australia has joined a raft of countries, including the US and Japan, that have implemented similar restrictions as infections soar in China after the government abruptly abandoned its stringent zero-Covid policy. Photo: AP

Australia’s Covid test for mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau visitors ‘racist’

Australia’s top health official and Chinese-Australians are slamming the government’s decision to require visitors arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to test negative for Covid-19, calling the move ‘racist’.

3 Jan 2023 - 5:13PM
Passengers inside the Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday. China is due to reopen its borders on January 8. Photo: EPA-EFE

Malaysia, Thailand on edge as tourists from Covid-hit China ready for travel

Malaysians question rush to allow Chinese tourists to enter, worried the influx will push country back into lockdown.

3 Jan 2023 - 8:31AM
Spectators take photos of a Chinese passenger jet. Photo: AFP

Malaysia to screen poop on flights from China for Covid-19

Travellers from China will only be screened for fever, Malaysia’s health minister said, but waste water from their inbound flights will be tested.

31 Dec 2022 - 1:11AM
Workers disinfect the interior of Pyongyang airport in North Korea. File photo: KCNA via KNS/AFP

Will North Korea follow China in ending zero-Covid policy?

While Pyongyang often looks to its neighbour Beijing, in this instance it does not have China’s medical facilities, vaccine doses, testing equipment – or enough food and medicine.

30 Dec 2022 - 8:25AM
Attendees at the Pink Dot pride event on June 18, 2022 in Singapore. Photo: AFP

This Year in Singapore: post-Covid life, a PM-in-waiting, gay sex ban ends

The city state says its ‘back in business’, hosting a flurry of major events and rebuilding itself as a global aviation hub, even as some doctors voice concern about Covid complacency.

28 Dec 2022 - 2:00PM
Pharmacies in Tokyo are imposing a purchase limit on cold medicines as customers from China snap up supplies amid a shortage of drugs following a spike in Covid-19 infections there. Photo: Reuters/File

Tokyo shops limit medicine purchases as Chinese empty stocks amid Covid-19 wave

Places like Singapore and Taiwan have also seen similar trends, with customers bulk-buying fever and pain relief medications to be shipped to China, forcing pharmacies to roll out measures to curb the practice.

26 Dec 2022 - 8:14PM
A sunset over the Mekong River near My Tho city, in southern Vietnam. Photo: Shutterstock

Vietnam’s illegal sand miners cause the mighty Mekong’s banks to crumble

Sand mining is eating away at the foundations of the Mekong Delta, with a recent report finding that the practice had done more to alter sediment flows in the river than even the controversial hydropower dams upstream.

26 Dec 2022 - 11:43AM
The mother of one of the landslide’s victims grieves for her son during his funeral procession in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: EPA-EFE

Malaysia mourns deadly landslide tragedy as rescuers hunt for final victim

Once found, the 11-year-old pupil of a Chinese primary school in Kuala Lumpur will become the 31st victim of a landslide that tore through a hillside campsite in Batang Kali last week as the campers slept.

23 Dec 2022 - 8:30PM
A notice in a Singapore pharmacy telling customers they can only buy six boxes of Panadol products. Photo: Kimberly Lim

‘Drink water and rest’: Singapore reacts to city’s Chinese panic buying Panadol

Medicine stocks are vanishing from pharmacy shelves in Singapore as worried Chinese nationals hoover up supplies to send home to their loved ones. It’s sparked a debate on limiting sales – as some entrepreneurs seek to cash in.

22 Dec 2022 - 7:48PM
People use boats to travel through a flooded area in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, on Wednesday. Photo: EPA-EFE

Anger in Malaysia as minister leaves country while deadly floods rage

Malaysian internet users are divided between blaming an absent state leader and east coast residents who voted for Malay nationalist and Islamist faction Perikatan Nasional in last month’s watershed national election.

22 Dec 2022 - 1:09PM
One of the construction sites on the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway in Purwakarta, Indonesia. The line is slated to open in June 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Worker deaths revive safety concerns in Indonesia’s China-backed rail project

Latest safety lapse to hit construction of Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, which has suffered delays, massive cost overruns and series of accidents.

20 Dec 2022 - 7:30PM
Public restrooms with transparent walls in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park by Shigeru Ban. Photo: Nippon Foundation

Pee break: how Japan’s winter broke these see-through toilets

Public toilets in two Tokyo parks – that use ‘smart glass’ to instantly turn opaque once the door is locked from the inside – left users exposed after the glass panels malfunctioned.

20 Dec 2022 - 6:06PM
Customers at the Market Street Hawker Centre. Singapore says it is “watching” whether China’s reopening could lead to mutations of the coronavirus. Photo: Bloomberg

Asia on alert for new Covid-19 strains as China reopens

Potential mutation of virus could be milder but more transmissible, experts say, urging Asian countries to guard against fresh respiratory viruses in winter.

16 Dec 2022 - 11:54AM