Attendees at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) special annual meeting in August will not be required to serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN), but they will be subject to “rigorous testing arrangements”, said Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary in Parliament on Tuesday (16 Feb).
Dr Puthucheary was responding to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) for Sengkang GRC He Ting Ru, who asked whether WEF attendees will be subject to serving SHN period as well as the measures implemented to prevent the gathering from turning into a super-spreader event.
The Minister stated that both local and foreign event attendees will have to undergo rigorous testing arrangements “in lieu of them serving stay-home notices”.
Safe management measures will also be implemented, such as mask-wearing, safe-distancing, and mandating the use of TraceTogether technology to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, said Dr Puthucheary.
“In addition, a physical segregation of event attendees from the local community will reduce the risk of infection spreading from event attendees to local community at large and vice versa,” he added.
Subsequently, Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim asked if there are contingency plans in place to deal with a super-spreader event, and how would the public and providers be prepped if it turns into a super-spreader event.
In response, Dr Puthucheary said that Singapore is “already hosting and organizing events” and that the current protocol dealing with COVID-19 cases will be relied upon to deal with any spread of the virus.
“If there was indeed a case of COVID-19 at the WEF special annual meeting, the prevailing measures that we have for a COVID-19 case at any of the events that we are organizing will be in place and all the various measures as well as regulations around contact tracing isolation and subsequent follow-up will be followed,” he explained.
The special annual meeting was initially scheduled on 13 to 16 May this year in Singapore, but this was later pushed back to 25 May until 28 May.
The organization further postponed the meeting to 17 August until 20 August, saying that the change in timing was due to the “international challenges in containing the pandemic”.
Netizens slam Govt for exempting WEF attendees from SHN period, call it “double standards”
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of Mothership‘s Facebook post, many netizens described the Government’s move to exempt WEF’s attendees from SHN period as “double standards”, with some even asking if the attendees have “special immunity” to the COVID-19 virus.
One netizen wrote: “Why no SHN for WEF attendees while the rest of the mere mortals like incoming migrant workers and normal travellers have to be quarantined? Are WEF attendees immune to the virus?”
Another netizen commented that the decision by the Government just shows that “when it comes to profits and fame, people’s lives don’t matter”.
Others reminded the Government not to blame Singapore citizens if the COVID-19 community cases increase.