SINGAPORE: The World Economic Forum (WEF) team, including its founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab, is in Singapore to prepare for the Special Annual Meeting in August.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Feb 9), Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said he had a wide-ranging discussion with the WEF team on a variety of issues.
These include the "urgent need" to deal with the economic and social challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Singapore will continue to work closely with WEF to organise a safe and successful meeting addressing the global challenges of combating the pandemic and supporting global economic recovery," said Mr Chan.
The six-member WEF team – Professor Schwab, his wife, WEF president Borge Brende and three other WEF officials – arrived in Singapore over the weekend.
In response to CNA's queries, a Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) spokesperson said on Thursday that the WEF representatives are on a "strict controlled itinerary, which include meetings with representatives from the Singapore Government, but otherwise have minimal interactions with members of the public".
They must also comply with strict public health protocols and safe management measures during their stay, including undergoing pre-departure and on arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, as well as additional PCR tests throughout their stay, the MTI spokesperson added.
WEF media head Yann Zopf, who was part of the team in Singapore, told CNA that the visit is under “very strict protocol”.
The team took pre-departure COVID-19 PCR tests, as well as another PCR test and a blood test upon arrival in Singapore. They were isolated in their rooms at the Marina Bay Sands while waiting for test results.
“We were only allowed to leave our hotel rooms once the negative tests have been confirmed,” said Mr Zopf, adding that the WEF team also submitted an itinerary of all their meetings to the authorities beforehand.
“We are not allowed to go around as a tourist and visit the city. We can only stick to our itinerary,” he added.
The Special Annual Meeting was recently rescheduled to August from May, with the WEF saying that current global travel restrictions have made planning difficult for an in-person meeting in the first half of this year.
"Furthermore, differing quarantine and air transport regulations have increased the lead time necessary to ensure that participants globally can make arrangements to join," WEF said in a news release earlier this month.
The Special Annual Meeting in Singapore will be the first global leadership summit to address the challenges of recovering from the pandemic, said the WEF. The meeting is usually held in Davos, Switzerland.