>China to expand healthcare reform
China will establish a general support mechanism for covering outpatient medical bills under employee basic medical insurance and broaden the use of funds in individual accounts, to ease people's medical burdens, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
In recent years, China has made outpatient treatment for chronic and special diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, reimbursable under the medical insurance plan, involving a large number of patients, according to the meeting.
Going forward, intensified efforts will be made to deepen reform of the medical and healthcare system, and strengthen the general support mechanism for covering outpatient medical bills under employee basic medical insurance, the meeting decided. More outpatient expenses will be included in medical insurance reimbursement to further reduce the burden on patients.
General outpatient medical expenses of some other chronic and special diseases, as well as frequently occurring diseases and common illnesses, incurring severe health damage and heavy costs, will be gradually covered by the unified accounts.
>Rural teacher recruitment plan
China plans to recruit 84,330 college graduates as teachers in rural primary and middle schools in 2021 as part of efforts to promote rural vitalization, the Ministry of Education said Wednesday.
The recruitment is mainly for the once-impoverished areas and those inhabited by ethnic groups to consolidate the results of poverty reduction, according to a notice issued by the ministries of education and finance on carrying out the rural special-post teacher recruitment program this year.
The program is expected to enhance the teaching capacity of some weak subjects in rural schools such as arts, foreign languages and information technology, said the notice.
It also called for efforts to ensure salaries and social security of the teachers.
China launched the special-post teacher recruitment program in 2006, with the goal of adding college graduates to the insufficient teaching resources of compulsory education in rural areas.
>Osaka cancels Olympic torch run
Japan's western region of Osaka canceled on Wednesday Olympic torch events scheduled across the prefecture, as record coronavirus infections prompted its government to declare a medical emergency.
Health authorities fear a virus variant is unleashing a fourth wave of infections just 107 days before the Tokyo Olympics begins, with a vaccination drive still at an early stage.
Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said the street runs would be canceled, adding that the medical system faced enormous strain as a more infectious variant sent cases skyrocketing among young people.
Osaka and the neighboring prefectures of Hyogo and Miyagi started on Monday a month of targeted lockdown measures, to rein in a more virulent strain of the virus.
In recent days, Osaka's infections have outstripped those in Tokyo, the Japanese capital and a much larger city.
Emergency measures in the Osaka area could be widened to Tokyo and elsewhere if needed, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday.
>Protection of minors in school
China's Ministry of Education on Tuesday started soliciting public opinion on a draft regulation for improving the protection of minors in schools.
Schools should adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward bullying, sexual assault, and sexual harassment of students, according to the draft.
The document also requires schools to check the criminal records of candidates before hiring teachers or introducing volunteers and social workers into their campuses.
Noting that schools are also obligated to protect the safety of students on campus, the draft emphasizes that schools are prohibited from organizing students to participate in emergency rescue, disaster relief, or any commercial activities.
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