Coronavirus Singapore

Participants at Bloomberg forum must be vaccinated, undergo daily testing

Local and foreign delegates at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum (NEF) next month will be subject to strict measures, including being fully vaccinated to ensure their safety as well as that of the community, the authorities said yesterday.

On arrival, foreign delegates must take a polymerase chain reaction Covid-19 test and stay in their hotel rooms until the result is confirmed to be negative. They will be exempted from quarantine if their test result is negative.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Singapore Tourism Board and Economic Development Board (EDB) said all foreign delegates must undergo daily pre-event testing on conference days, on top of being fully vaccinated.

ST had seen a note from EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin to forum delegates that groups of up to five may dine together at NEF venues and other designated restaurants in the city, and that guests can include non-NEF delegates.

The agencies said that anyone not attending the NEF, but who wishes to have meals or meetings in venues or restaurants designated for the NEF, must undergo a mandatory pre-event test and obtain a negative result beforehand.

All forum participants, including locals, have to undergo daily pre-event testing on conference days.

"For this to be a successful event, the safety and well-being of our community and of NEF delegates is our top priority," the agencies said.

These measures are stricter than existing ones for large-scale gatherings like wedding receptions, where pre-event testing is required for attendees who are not fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19, or aged 12 and below.

"It is with these added requirements that business meals for up to five fully vaccinated persons will be allowed for Bloomberg NEF participants," said the agencies.

The NEF will be held from Nov 16 to 19 at the Capella Singapore hotel, and is expected to draw more than 300 participants from 51 countries, including current and former heads of states and global chief executive officers.

The event marks another step forward for Singapore's hospitality and travel industry amid its pivot to an endemic Covid-19 scenario.

Outside of the pre-designated venues for NEF participants, prevailing safe management measures will apply to delegates, including the two-person rule for meals.

The Republic's latest pandemic restrictions state that dining in is limited to a maximum of two people till Nov 21, though the curbs will be reviewed before then.

The NEF is one of the events under the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) event pilot by STB that aims to allow business conferences and exhibitions to gradually restart and support Singapore's hospitality and travel industry.

Recent events held this month include Gamescom Asia and a summit of top Mice associations.

The NEF is a major global conference of political leaders organised by Bloomberg. In 2018, it was moved from Beijing to Singapore.

The agencies said: "It is important that Mice events are able to resume progressively in a safe, trusted and innovative manner as such events will help Singapore regain our relevance as a leading business hub, and preserve local jobs and businesses."

Goh Yan Han

Keeping the forum Covid-19-safe

The Economic Development Board and Singapore Tourism Board said that for the Bloomberg New Economy Forum to be a success, safety is the top priority.

Among the safeguards that will be in place are:

•All delegates must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine under WHO's emergency use listing.

•They must undergo a PCR swab test on arrival and stay in their hotel room until it is confirmed to be negative.

•They have to undergo daily pre-event testing on event days.

•Pre-event testing is also required for non-delegates attending meals and meetings in venues and restaurants that have been pre-designated to allow delegates to dine in groups of up to five.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story stated the venue of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum as Marina Bay Sands. It is the Capella Singapore hotel. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2021, with the headline 'Participants at Bloomberg forum must be vaccinated, undergo daily testing'. Subscribe