The Straits Times says

A vote of confidence from WEF

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It is significant that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has decided to shift its annual meeting next May from Switzerland to Singapore. The parlous Covid-19 situation in Europe makes an alternative venue necessary. Evidently, the WEF's organisers do not foresee any immediate easing of the repeated waves of outbreaks which are hitting the continent. The ambitious scope of a conference - which brings the world's top political, business and academic leaders together to discuss the most pressing of global issues - requires early and careful planning that cannot be left to the mercy of fluctuating infection figures. An alternative venue where the coronaviral situation could be expected to remain stable is necessary.

That Singapore should have been chosen as that venue attests to the confidence which it has earned among observers and international institutions for its handling of the pandemic. It is also apt that the meeting in Singapore will be the first global leadership event "to address worldwide recovery from the pandemic", in the WEF's words. Since recovery implies a lasting transition from the epidemiological and economic impact of the disease, the hope is that the WEF meeting will focus attention on places that have managed the handling of Covid-19 with relative success so that others can gain useful insights. Of course, jurisdictions such as New Zealand and Taiwan, too, have done well. But Singapore's record as a venue is burnished by the added advantage of connectivity that makes it appealing to organisers of international conferences. Singapore's calibrated approach to the easing of regulations on mass gatherings has also included cautious efforts to revive the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions sector. These efforts balance the competing needs of economic activity and physical safety.

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