Vivian Balakrishnan not attending Leaders' Retreat in Bintan after Covid-19 health risk warning

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who has tested negative, received the warning after a close contact contracted Covid-19. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will not travel to Bintan for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat on Tuesday (Jan 25), after receiving a health risk warning that a close contact has contracted Covid-19.

Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sim Ann will stand in for him, he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Dr Balakrishnan, who tested negative and uploaded a photo of his antigen rapid test (ART) result, said he will be observing the seven-day monitoring period and will not be travelling for the Leaders' Retreat.

He wished Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his colleagues, including Ms Sim, a safe and fruitful trip.

"In the meantime, I will follow protocol 3 and do ART tests regularly for the next seven days," he said.

"I have been doing regular ART tests before meetings and events for many months, so frequent testing is already part of my routine," he added.

Protocol 3 applies to close contacts of a Covid-19-positive case, identified based on TraceTogether SafeEntry records or who are household members of someone with Covid-19.

Dr Balakrishnan, who turned 61 on Tuesday, also posted a photo of a cake which his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi had prepared for him.

At Tuesday's retreat, PM Lee and Indonesian President Joko Widodo are expected to hold a "four-eye" meeting before a larger delegation meeting, followed by a signing ceremony for several bilateral agreements.

PM Lee is also accompanied by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Transport Minister S. Iswaran, and Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng.

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