Last Saturday (7 March), The Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)’s Chinese Media Group (CMG) organised a dinner party at Ban Heng, Orchard Central for its digital platform’s readers and listeners.
The group said that the dinner was set up to support the local business by practical action while allowing their audience to enjoy traditional Teochew cuisine.
As reported in Zaobao.sg, CMG launched a movement to boost the local market against the economic slowdown due to Covid-19 as the domestic economy, especially the retails as well as food and beverage businesses, have been the hardest-hit.
Following the Covid-19 cluster involving the dinner function at Safra Jurong on 15 Feb, Ban Heng restaurants also conducted some precautions such as checking the temperature of every guest, requiring guests to declare their recent travel history and reducing the number of tables to avoid crowding.
Head of CMG Lee Huay Leng said that she was worried guests might pull out from this dinner due to the recent cluster incident; however, the guests still attended as usual.
Senior Minister of State Ministry of Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat was one of the 200 attendees.
During the dinner, Mr Chee called on Singaporeans to calm down and work together in fighting the disease while encouraging people to continue supporting local retailers and restaurants.
Netizens condemned that the gathering might cause a new cluster of Covid-19
On the Facebook page of Zaobao.sg, many netizens condemned that it was not appropriate to organise a gathering such as dinner during the Covid-19 outbreak. Some even said that the selfishness of CMG who decide to organise the dinner could led to the outbreak of Covid-19 cluster.
(Translated: The current precautionary measures are not 100% safe. This kind of gathering could be the next cluster of Covid-19 outbreak.)
(Translated: Those who organised this kind of gathering did not think about others where they should know that the virus will spread to more people and could kill people.)
(Translated: The cluster involving the dinner function attended by 600 guests just emerged, do you intend to bring the other cluster involving 200 people?)
(Translated: Why there are still Singaporeans who have not learned the lessons? Until to get new Covid-19 cluster?)
(Translated: Hopefully, it will not be the new cluster of Covid-19 as SAFRA.)
Some netizens commented that the priority of government is to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 instead of boosting the country’s economy. The organisers should listen to experts on how to correctly prevent the virus transmission.
(Translated: It is not practical to foster the economy now as the disease outbreak might become uncontainable.)
(Translated: The prevention of spreading of coronavirus in order to ensure the safety of people will be the first priority instead of encouraging spending to boost the local market. If not, the country would need to bear the consequences when it continues to spread and results in the fatality.)
(Translated: It was not sufficient to rely on the locals to boost the local market during the economic slowdown. The organisers should listen to the experts instead of showing silliness and stubbornness which will only worsen the situation.)
Meanwhile, a few netizens questioned organising the dinner gathering at all, saying it was contradictory to what government has called for.
(Translated: We can cheer up each other at online platform. But why need to organise the gathering that will increase the risk of transmission?)
A few netizens pointed out that the public should be considerate with the medical staff who are at the frontline dealing with the disease. If the number of infected cases increase, the medical staff will be the ones who suffer.
(Translated: It will only bring a new cluster of Covid-19 and increase the workload of frontline medical staff.)
(Translated: When you all are having fun, but the medical staff would be the one who pay for it.)
(Translated: The people who attended this event should self-quarantine before going out to anywhere. Please be considerate with the frontline medical staff who worked around the clock dealing with Covid-19.)