10 must-reads for today

Yaowarat Road in Bangkok's Chinatown being disinfected yesterday. The malls are shut, but their food outlets remain open for takeaway orders.
Yaowarat Road in Bangkok's Chinatown being disinfected yesterday. The malls are shut, but their food outlets remain open for takeaway orders.PHOTO: REUTERS

1 Nervous in Thailand

With over 1,500 coronavirus cases recorded in Thailand so far, even relaxed folk in the kingdom are getting nervous. Straits Times Indochina bureau chief Tan Hui Yee shares how life has changed for her in Bangkok after strict measures kicked in to keep people safe from the pandemic.

2 New guidelines on wages

Employers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic should first reduce non-wage costs and tap government support before looking to reduce their workers' wages. Retrenchment should be a last resort, the National Wages Council said. The council released its annual guidelines yesterday.

3 Case 119's fight against virus

For several days, Case 119 was sedated and hallucinating, until he finally won his battle against the coronavirus. The 55-year-old, who wishes to be known only as Ben, spent 13 days in the intensive care unit at Alexandra Hospital. Here is an account of his struggle.

4 US extends stay-home rule

President Donald Trump extended his stay-at-home guidelines for the US to end-April, dropping a hotly criticised plan to get the economy up and running again by Easter, after a top medical adviser said more than 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus outbreak.

5 Folly of US-China spat

Covid-19 is the latest source of friction in an increasingly fraught relationship between Washington and Beijing. Both sides would do better to work together, says global affairs correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim. OPINION A15

6 MPs to continue with MPS

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah held her regular Meet-the-People Session (MPS) last night in Yishun. Coronavirus or not, the number of residents seeking help has stayed constant; she still sees about 60 a night. Ms Lee said she has no plans to cut down on her MPS. The People's Action Party MPs contacted also said they would continue to hold MPS.

7 377A challenges quashed

The High Court has dismissed three separate legal challenges against Section 377A of the Penal Code. Justice See Kee Oon, who made the judgment in chambers yesterday, said that the decision by the Court of Appeal in 2014, involving a gay couple - Mr Lim Meng Suang and Mr Kenneth Chee - remains binding.

8 Shops hit by new measures

Nanyang Optical may temporarily close two stores - at Paragon and Ngee Ann City - after sales plunged more than 70 per cent at the weekend amid new crowd-control rules. Shops across Singapore are facing similar pressure after safe distancing measures dampened foot traffic at malls and other public venues.

9 Help for sports industry

National sports agency Sport Singapore yesterday announced measures, including temporary job placements, training opportunities and grants, for members of the sports fraternity affected by the coronavirus crisis.

10 Creative ways to cope

Freelancers in the arts scene in Singapore are coming up with creative ways to cope with the coronavirus downturn. Some are working together to organise online concerts to raise funds, while others are starting funds to help other artists.


Not losing sight of her dreams

Ms Amanda Chong was born with congenital cataracts. At age 17, she became blind - a terrifying prospect for many people. But as she later discovered, it was nowhere near the end of the world. str.sg/blurb293


All about contact tracing

Learn how contact tracing is done in Singapore. The elaborate operation includes activity mapping, analytic tools, surveillance footage, door-to-door inquiries and a newly developed smartphone app. str.sg/blurb294

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2020, with the headline '10 must-reads for today'. Print Edition | Subscribe