Lower-income folk hit hardest

Lower-income families with young children have been hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, with home-based learning putting kids from needy households at a greater disadvantage, a new large-scale study has found.

The study involved 4,355 children, aged between two and nine years, from 3,018 families and key findings include:

> 10% of families had someone who lost a job during the pandemic. Breaking this down by housing type, 20% of households living in HDB rental flats fell into this category. This is compared with 8% of families who own five-room or executive flats and 5% of those living in private property they own or rent.

> Almost three in 10 families said they do not have savings of at least one month of their family’s income. Slightly over half of those in rental flats face this situation, compared with about one in four of those in five-room or executive flats and 8% of households in private property.

> When schools closed to stem the spread of the virus and students took to home-based learning, this placed children from poor families at a greater disadvantage. For example, 88% of children living in HDB rental flats have a computer or tablet for home-based learning, compared with 98% of children in private property.

Professor Jean Yeung, the study’s principal investigator, said that Covid-19 inflicted “multiple shocks” on families.

“The economic impact, work from home, closure of schools and social distancing upset families’ daily routines and functions in an unprecedented manner.”

Explaining why more families in HDB rental flats or smaller flats experienced job loss, she said more of them work in lower-wage jobs in industries that were badly hit by the crisis, like in the service industry and cleaning.

Prof Yeung, founding director of the Centre for Family and Population Research at the National University of Singapore, pointed out that when schools switched to home-based learning, more of the financially better-off parents were better equipped to help their children with such learning or get extra tutoring for them.

“Sustained assistance is needed for disadvantaged families to avoid a greater level of a vicious circle of inter-generational transmission of disadvantages due to the pandemic.”

The Singapore Longitudinal Early Development Study (SG Leads) has been following the children since 2018 and interviews on the pandemic’s impact took place between February and this month.

The study is the first one that is nationally representative of families with young children here that examined the impact of the pandemic, said Prof Yeung. — The Straits Times/ANN

Vietnam reports 13,063 new Covid-19 cases, 1,197,404 in total

HANOI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam reported 13,063 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, including 13,048 locally transmitted and 15 imported, according to its Ministry of Health.

Most of the community cases were detected in southern localities, including 1,773 in Ho Chi Minh City, 954 in Can Tho province, and 716 in Binh Duong province.

On Saturday, southern Tay Ninh province also registered 3,004 more infections detected in the previous days.

The infections brought the country’s total tally to 1,197,404, with 24,692 deaths, said the ministry. Nationwide, as many as 956,924 Covid-19 patients have so far recovered, up 1,668 from Friday.

Some 117.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including around 48.4 million second doses, have been administered, according to the ministry.

As of Saturday, the country has registered over 1,192,000 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since the start of the current wave in late April, the ministry said. Enditem


Garden offers year-end bonanza

As part of the Pattaya Move On tourism project, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is offering visitors a special yearend deal. Apart from the 300-baht buy one, get one package, the garden is also offering two tickets for the price of one at 100 baht for a special cultural show and elephant performance at its very own Scala Theatre. These deals are available until December 31. The Nation/ANN


Four more Covid deaths, 23 infections

The Health Ministry on Nov 28 reported 23 new Covid-19 cases, four of which were imported. It noted that all the cases were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. The ministry also reported four new deaths and 20 recoveries, noting that two of the deceased had not been vaccinated against Covid-19. As of November 28, Cambodia had recorded a total of 120,087 Covid-19 cases with 116,466 recoveries and 2,931 fatalities. Phnom Penh Post/ANN


Public tip-off leads to discovery of stolen cars

Three high-end cars reportedly stolen from an auto dealer showroom during the wee hours of yesterday morning were found following a public tip-off that led to a chase by police personnel. News and photos of the stolen car went viral on social media following the incident. According to a source from the dealer, the incident happened after the stay-at-home order ended at 4am, involving four individuals, one of whom has been apprehended by the police. The individuals wearing masks were caught on the dealer’s CCTV breaking in through the workshop and attempted to enter the CCTV room to disable the function. However, they were unable to do so, and instead, pulled out the CCTV camera at the cashier counter after stealing a few hundred dollars in petty cash. They made their way to where the keys were kept, stole the cars and sped away using the side exit leading to the main road. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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