Enhanced safety measures for Chingay Parade 2020 amid Wuhan virus concerns

People walking by one of the thermal scanners located outside the F1 Pit Building during a demonstration on Jan 30, 2020. ST PHOTO: MARCELLIN LOPEZ

SINGAPORE - The Chingay Parade will take place as planned on Friday (Jan 31) and Saturday, with organisers taking enhanced safety measures this year amid the Wuhan virus outbreak.

"There has been no evidence of community transmission so far," said Mr Desmond Tan, chief executive director of the People's Association, at a media briefing on Thursday.

"We should continue to lead our normal lives and carry on with the event, though the health and safety of our spectators and performers are of utmost importance."

The organisers confirmed that six performers from China, who flew in from the Chinese city Xi'an last Tuesday, have been screened and cleared by a doctor to take part. The six are among about 500 people from overseas - mainly from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam - who will join some 5,500 other performers at the parade.

Advisories have been sent out asking all performers and volunteers to conduct daily temperature checks and to excuse themselves should they feel unwell.

On the days of the parade, thermal scanners set up at all eight entry points of the parade will take the temperatures of the performers and spectators. Those with suspected cases of fever will be moved to an isolation point for further assessment.

Nine first-aid booths will be set up at the F1 Pit building, where the parade is being held, as well as at several points along the route taken by selected floats and performers to The Float @ Marina Bay, where the River Hongbao celebrations will be taking place.

On-site medical personnel will also be present to assist anyone feeling unwell during the parade.

The organisers are expecting about 16,000 spectators on each day of the parade. But fears over the Wuhan virus could keep some ticket-holders away. In Singapore, there are 13 confirmed cases of the virus as of Thursday evening, all Chinese nationals from Wuhan.

Those who are not feeling well should rest at home and seek medical attention if necessary, said the organisers, adding that there will be signs on site reminding spectators of these precautions.

Those unable to make it to the Chingay Parade, which is into its 48th edition with the theme of "Colours in Harmony" this year, can watch the performances live online.

One of the highlights of the parade will also get the 5G treatment.

A 5G camera drone will capture the performance of a dragon, touted to be the world's longest and largest at 108m long and 2m wide, flying over the heads of spectators. The performers from Xi'an are helming the act in collaboration with 11 local performers.

The footage of the dragon, made of several inflatable parts held down by rope, will have special augmented reality effects added to it and be available for livestreaming, in a joint initiative by M1, Huawei and Hiverlab.

Parade-goers and others will also be able to enjoy the Chingay Carnival, a festival of food, games and activities held in conjunction with the parade which is returning for a third year.

Meanwhile, safety is also on the minds of the organisers of Chingay @ Heartlands, which will feature Chingay floats and fringe activities at various constituencies. They are looking to have thermal scanners put in place for the crowds expected at the float displays scheduled on weekends from Sunday to March 21.

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