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Holding WEF meeting in Singapore will send 'strong signal of confidence' in country's ability: Alvin Tan

Holding WEF meeting in Singapore will send 'strong signal of confidence' in country's ability: Alvin Tan

File photo of a logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting as pictured on a window in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan 21, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

SINGAPORE: The World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Annual Meeting being held here will send a "strong signal of confidence" in Singapore’s ability to host major international events in a "safe and innovative way", Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan said in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 16). 

Hosting the event in August would give Singapore an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to its programme and discussions, Mr Tan said, adding that organisers had decided that Singapore is the best place to hold the meeting.

"We welcome this opportunity and will work with the Forum to strengthen the meeting’s focus on Asia, because of Asia’s growing economic weight and strategic importance to the global economy," he said. 

Mr Tan also spoke about how the meeting would have a "positive impact on Singapore’s economy and international standing" and that companies supporting the event would also benefit directly

READ: World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab in Singapore to prepare for Special Annual Meeting in August

He was responding to Member of Parliament (MP) He Ting Ru (WP-Sengkang) who had asked what principles were being adopted in assessing approval for an in-person global conference amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms He also asked about the anticipated cost and revenues from the meeting. 

“As we are still working out the details and the logistical arrangements for the event, we are unable to share the costs and revenues at this point,” Mr Tan said. 

Ms He also asked what other factors were considered when deciding whether to hold such events in Singapore. 

In his response, Mr Tan said that the Singapore Tourism Board launched the Safe Business Events framework in July last year. The framework allows the resumption of in-person business events, and event organisers must comply with strict public health requirements.

READ: World Economic Forum meeting attendees to adhere to strict public health requirements in Singapore: Alvin Tan

The Safe Business Events framework has been applied to at least 29 business events since its launch, including the Singapore International Energy Week in October and TravelRevive in November, Mr Tan said. 

The WEF’s Special Annual Meeting in Singapore must similarly comply with the requirements of the Safe Business Events Framework, he said. 

He added that the Government is looking into any additional measures that should be put in place. This would include putting in place the necessary measures to "ensure safe interactions between the local community and the event attendees".

MEASURES TO ENSURE SAFETY AT EVENT

Ms He also asked if meeting attendees would be subject to stay-home notices and quarantine rules to prevent the meeting from becoming a "super spreader event", she said. 

In his reply, Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said the Ministry of Health (MOH) is working with various Government agencies and WEF to ensure that the meeting would be conducted safely.

“To actively detect any cases of COVID-19, we will implement rigorous testing arrangements for local and foreign event attendees, in lieu of them serving stay-home notices,” he said.

Dr Puthucheary cited measures such as mask-wearing, safe distancing and mandating the use of TraceTogether to minimise the risk transmission, as well as facilitating identification of close contacts for isolation.

In addition, event attendees would be physically segregated from the local community to reduce the risk of cross infections, said Dr Puthucheary.  

"Over the next few months leading up to the Special Annual Meeting, the Ministry of Health will continue to assess the COVID-19 situation locally and globally, and adjust the public health measures for the event as necessary," said Dr Puthucheary.

"We will work with the Forum to clearly communicate these measures to attendees so that the event can proceed safely," he said.

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Source: CNA/ja(ac)

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