Strict health measures for WEF meeting

Participants attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Singapore this May will have to abide by strict public health requirements, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan yesterday.

These include undergoing a rigorous Covid-19 testing regimen involving pre-departure and on-arrival tests, as well as adhering to strict safe management measures.

“To minimise the risk of seeding local transmissions, we will also put in place measures to manage the interactions between the local community and the event attendees,” Mr Tan said.

Mr Tan was responding in Parliament to Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang), who had asked about health requirements for WEF participants and contingency plans should the coronavirus situation worsen to the extent of requiring border closures.

Mr Tan said specific public health requirements and contingency plans are currently being worked out, and will take into consideration the latest situation in Singapore and around the world.

“The health requirements developed for this event could also serve as an important reference for subsequent events that are going to be held in Singapore,” he added.

Last month, the WEF announced its decision to hold the annual forum in Singapore instead of Switzerland this May, in the light of the Covid-19 situation in Europe.

The annual meeting, which gathers top political, business and academic leaders to discuss pressing global issues, saw about 3,000 participants gather in Davos, Switzerland, in January last year.

It will be held in Singapore from May 13 to 16 this year, before returning to Switzerland next year.

The annual forum will, in a first, include a virtual component to allow for greater participation during the pandemic.

Mr Yip had also asked about the extent to which Singaporean talent would be involved in organising the event.

In response, Mr Tan said the Government has been introducing interested local firms and service providers to the WEF and its event organiser, PublicisLive, for potential partnerships.

“It will also be a good chance for us to showcase how Singapore has made it possible through our effort to maintain robust health protocols while sustaining important economic and business activity amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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He said the WEF’s intent is also for the meeting to have a greater focus on Asia, given the region’s growing economic weight and importance in the global economy.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity for Singapore to contribute to the programme and the discussions at the meeting,” added Mr Tan, stressing that the country will not let its guard down and will continue working to minimise the number of Covid-19 infections here.

Mr Yip then asked if there are plans for the majority of people in Singapore to be vaccinated before the event. Mr Tan replied that the availability and roll-out of vaccines here and elsewhere are still being worked out.

“We will continue to evaluate the situation with these roll-out programmes locally as well as globally, and apply the prevailing conditions to all incoming travellers to Singapore,” he said.

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