HANOI - Vietnam has pushed back a plan to re-open the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists until November, after failing to meet targets for inoculating residents due to insufficient vaccine supplies, state media reported. The Southeast Asian nation, which is currently shut to all visitors apart from returning citizens and investors, has been struggling to speed up inoculations to help contain a spike in Covid-19 cases driven by the Delta variant in recent months. Authorities had initially planned to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to start returning to Phu Quoc in October to revive the tourism sector and prop up the economy. "We have to inoculate residents here for herd immunity but vaccine supplies are falling short," the state-run VTC newspaper quoted Huynh Quang Hung, the chairman of Phu Quoc City's People's Committee, as saying. Last week, the island's authorities said an additional 250,000-300,000 doses were needed to achieve herd immunity. So far only 2.9 ... » Learn More about Vietnam delays reopening resort island over low Covid-19 vaccination rate
Rate hike month
The market was also supported by a return of appetite for risk assets as concerns eased over a potential default by property developer China Evergrande and its possible fallout on the world's second-largest economy. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 17 cents, or 0.2%, to $72.40 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while Brent crude rose 18 cents, or 0.2%, to $76.37 a barrel. Both contracts jumped 2.5% on Wednesday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels to 414 million barrels in the week to Sept. 17 - the lowest total since October 2018 - in a bigger drawdown than analysts had expected. "With Gulf of Mexico production returning slowly, and natural gas prices remaining sky high, the structural outlook for oil remains promising as OPEC+ struggles to meet even its current production quotas," said Jeffrey Halley, analyst at brokerage OANDA. Several OPEC+ countries - including Nigeria, Angola and Kazakhstan - have ... » Learn More about Oil prices rise on tight supply, renewed risk appetite
Since the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines , a crucial but largely unspoken question has loomed large for countries looking towards returning to pre-pandemic life: How much sickness and death will occur even after nearly everybody has been jabbed? Possible answers to that question are coming into view as a growing number of territories get close to their maximum vaccination rates. Although varying considerably, the emerging picture points to a post-vaccinated future in which societies may have to accept significantly more Covid-19 deaths than those caused by the flu to move beyond restrictions such as lockdowns and border closures. While European countries with high vaccination rates have largely returned to normal life, living with Covid-19 could prove more difficult to accept for Asia-Pacific economies that avoided even flu-level death rates by sealing their borders. “My personal feeling is that, after brainwashing people in many places with this fight against the virus and ... » Learn More about From Singapore to Hong Kong, how many will die even after most are jabbed?
Philippine Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo added her voice to the mounting calls for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give Filipinos more time to register for the high-stakes 2022 elections. In her weekly radio show on DZXL on Sunday, September 19, Robredo called on the poll body to extend voter registration by one month or until October 31, citing the “extraordinary circumstances” caused by the raging coronavirus pandemic. Filipinos have until September 30 to register for the 2022 polls, which would elect the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte. “May mga kababayan tayo na mahilig sa last minute, ‘di ba? Pero yung sa akin lang, extraordinary kasi yung circumstances eh,” Robredo told her co-anchor Ely Saludar. (We have countrymen who love to do things at the last minute, right? But for me, we're under extraordinary circumstances right now.) “Naiintindihan natin ‘yung Comelec kasi dahil digitized yung election, ... » Learn More about Robredo joins calls to extend voter registration until October 31
KUCHING (Bernama): The Sarawak Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) wants the government to consider giving an additional RM50 a month in cost-of-living allowance (Cola) to civil servants in Sarawak and Sabah in Budget 2022. Its chairman Omar Bahrein Unin said this was especially important in tackling the rising cost of living in the two states. He added that the increase could also provide additional income for civil servants in Sarawak and Sabah as enjoyed by civil servants in the peninsula since January 2020. "Although civil servants in Sabah and Sarawak receive ‘elaun wilayah’ (regional allowance), it is an existing allowance that has been enjoyed without an increase of RM50 per month like what civil servants in the peninsula receive since January 2020," he said in a statement on Friday (Sept 24). Omar Bahrein said Sarawak Cuepacs also asked the government to review the payment rate of the regional allowance for federal civil servants ... » Learn More about Budget 2022: Cuepacs seeks rise in living allowance for Sabah, Sarawak civil servants
SINGAPORE - Mask-wearing rules should not be eased until the impact of such a move on the healthcare system is deemed to be minimal, said infectious diseases specialist David Lye. This assessment is likely to be dependent on the number of unvaccinated seniors over the age of 60, said Associate Professor Lye, who is the director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). "If everyone can bring the remaining 80,000 unvaccinated seniors to get vaccinated, it will be really helpful," he said. While it is understandable that many are tired of Covid-19, Prof Lye said it is too early to consider relaxing restrictions now, given the ongoing rise in daily new cases. "With rising cases that need oxygen or intensive care, and deaths, this is not the time to relax safe management measures. Eventually, when we are certain that the impact on our healthcare system is minimal from Covid-19, our government may relax mask-wearing ... » Learn More about ‘Too early to consider’: Infectious disease expert responds to WP MP Jamus Lim’s suggestion on easing outdoor mask rules