Some Singapore-listed firms announce temporary closures, shorter hours in China amid Wuhan virus
SINGAPORE: Several Singapore-listed companies, with the latest being property giant CapitaLand, have temporarily closed or shortened their business hours in China amid the spread of the Wuhan virus.
CapitaLand on Wednesday (Jan 29) said it has closed six of its malls in China – four in Wuhan, where the new infectious coronavirus originated, and two in Xi’an – as required by the respective local governments.
These malls will reopen when "local conditions permit", it said in a media release.
Its supermarkets in Wuhan’s CapitaMall Westgate and Xi’an’s CapitaMall Xindicheng, however, remain open to ensure supply of food and daily essentials to the local communities.
CapitaLand’s remaining 45 malls in various Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, continue to operate with shorter hours. The company said it will continually review operating hours in line with local conditions and regulations.
Its wholly owned lodging unit, The Ascott, is also “proactively extending assistance” to guests whose travel plans to China have been disrupted. This includes accommodating guests who need to stay longer and waiving cancellation fees for those who have to change their travel plans.
CapitaLand's office properties in places, such as Shanghai, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Chongqing, will be closed until Feb 9 as stipulated by local governments.
The mainboard-listed property firm said all of its properties in China have adopted necessary precautionary measures according to guidelines from health authorities.
These include conducting temperature checks, as well as intensifying the cleaning and disinfecting of common areas. It will also conduct contact tracing and has designated premises at its properties for the isolation of people suspected to be infected with the Wuhan virus.
Group CEO Lee Chee Koon said the company is closely monitoring developments.
“We have set up a special task force to coordinate our response across our operations in China and in the various markets where we operate,” he said in the press release.
“To date, the group’s business operations, including in China and Singapore, remain largely stable.”
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Other Singapore-listed firms announced similar precautionary measures on Tuesday.
Dasin Retail Trust said it has further shortened the business hours of its five malls in China and temporarily closed crowded places in these malls such as cinemas and karaoke lounges.
These measures were taken to “minimise contagious risk due to crowd gatherings”, the trustee-manager of the property trust said in a bourse filing.
It added that it will not temporarily close any of its malls “unless specifically requested by the government” and will continue to maintain at least six hours of business hours per day as required.
Sasseur Real Estate Investment Trust also announced that it has temporarily closed its four outlet malls in China’s Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming.
Likewise, tourism company Straco Corp has temporarily shuttered its three attractions in China.
In a bourse filing on Tuesday night, it said its Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Underwater World Xiamen and Lixing Cable Car have been shut since Jan 25 on the advice of the local authorities to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The reopening of the attractions will “be announced in due course”, the company said, adding that it will continue to monitor updates and advisories from the local authorities.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 132 - with 26 new deaths - as of end-Tuesday, with another 1,459 new cases confirmed.
The total number of confirmed cases in China stands at 5,974, according to the country's authorities on Wednesday.
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