Daily round-up, Sep 21: Putin calls up more troops for Ukraine; free health screenings, vaccinations proposed for Singaporeans who enrol with family doctor; Malaysia’s Najib in rehab hospital

Let’s get you up to speed with the day’s stories.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (Sep 21) ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War II, warning the West that if it continued what he called its “nuclear blackmail”, Moscow would respond with the might of all its vast arsenal.

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu said the partial mobilisation will see 300,000 of its 2 million-strong military reservists called up and would apply to those with previous military experience. 

Shoigu also dismissed claims Russia had suffered heavy losses, and said that 5,397 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the conflict.

The call raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country. After the announcement, one-way flights out of Russia started selling out fast.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the mobilisation was a predictable step that would prove extremely unpopular and that it underscores that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan. The US ambassador in Ukraine called the move a sign of “weakness”.

Singaporeans who enrol with a family doctor could get fully subsidised recommended health screenings and vaccinations, as part of a new preventive healthcare strategy called Healthier SG.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Sep 21) submitted a White Paper on the Healthier SG strategy to Parliament, where it will be debated.

Under the plan, which is voluntary, residents who enrol can schedule a face-to-face onboarding health consultation, which will be paid for by the Government. They will then develop health plans with their doctors, who will continue to monitor their progress via follow-ups. 

MOH is also proposing to waive the requirement for residents to co-pay part of their bills in cash when using MediSave for chronic care management. 

Residents suffering from chronic diseases may also get their drugs from the general practitioner clinics they enrol with at prices comparable to polyclinics.

Healthier SG will be open to those 60 and above – roughly 1 million people – to enrol in the second half of 2023. It will gradually be made available to those between 40 and 59 years old in the next two years. 

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who last month started serving a prison sentence for his graft conviction, is currently being treated at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital (HRC) in Kuala Lumpur, said the Prisons Department.

On Sep 12, Najib was taken to Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) after the High Court was notified of the health issues he was facing. On Sep 19, the hospital referred Najib to HRC for further treatment and monitoring. 

Najib will be sent back to Kajang Prison once medical specialists give clearance, the Prisons Deptartment said.

Japan’s government is considering allowing hotels and inns to refuse entry to guests who do not wear masks and follow other measures to control infection during an outbreak.

The move would come at a time when Japan is expected to further ease its COVID-19 border controls, waiving visa requirements for certain tourists and removing a limit on daily arrivals.

Currently, the wearing of masks is not compulsory in Japan but is strongly recommended indoors and on public transport.