SINGAPORE: The protocols for delegates at next month’s Bloomberg New Economy Forum are similar to existing arrangements for MICE events, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Sunday (Oct 24).
The agencies were responding to queries by CNA on dining-in arrangements for delegates attending the event, which will be held from Nov 16 to 19.
“The protocols for the Bloomberg New Economy Forum are similar to the current arrangements for all MICE events and wedding receptions in Singapore where meals in groups of five are permitted within the designated event venue with safe distancing in place.
“In fact, vaccinated attendees at wedding receptions are exempt from pre-event testing, (whereas) participants at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum are not,” said the agencies.
Under current restrictions, up to 250 people can attend a wedding reception in group sizes of up to five if all are vaccinated. Pre-event testing is not required for those who are fully vaccinated.
The Bloomberg forum is the first global conference to be held in Singapore this year. The Shangri-La Dialogue in June and a special annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in August were both cancelled due to uncertainties over the COVID-19 situation.
To attend the forum and meals, delegates must obtain a negative result on daily antigen rapid tests.
All delegates participating in the forum must be fully vaccinated, and foreign visitors must test negative on a polymerase chain reaction test upon arrival in Singapore.
The meals must be held at pre-designated venues or restaurants that are “entirely booked” for the event, said the agencies.
Singapore residents who are not delegates of the forum can also attend these meals, but must obtain a negative result on a pre-event test.
Outside of the pre-designated venues or restaurants, the prevailing safe management measures in Singapore will apply to the delegates, including the limit of two for dining-in, said the agencies.
Under Singapore’s current COVID-19 restrictions, dining-in is allowed for vaccinated people in groups of up to two.
Unvaccinated people with a valid negative pre-event test result, people who have recovered from COVID-19, and children aged 12 and below may be included in the group of two.
EDB and STB on Sunday said they have been working with Bloomberg for “several months” to hold the forum in Singapore.
“For this to be a successful event, the safety and well-being of our community and of (the Bloomberg New Economy Forum) delegates, is our top priority,” said the agencies.
“STB continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health and other agencies to develop and finetune health and safety protocols under its MICE pilots for business conferences and exhibitions.
“Recent events held under this pilot include Gamescom Asia and the Joint Leadership Summit.”
The agencies said it was important for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) events to be able to “resume progressively in a safe, trusted and innovative manner”.
This is because “such events will help Singapore regain our relevance as a leading business hub, and preserve local jobs and businesses”.
“In particular, the Bloomberg event will involve leading business and political leaders from more than 50 countries, and provide a platform for them to share views and discuss challenges and opportunities,” said EDB and STB.
“It will also reinforce Singapore’s position as a business hub.”
More than 300 delegates from 51 different countries are expected to attend the forum, according to Bloomberg.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam are among the speakers, which include business and government leaders like Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
The forum will feature plenary and breakout discussions around the global economy, innovation and “navigating a divided world”, with a focus on finance, climate, trade, cities and health.
Earlier this week, multi-ministry task force co-chair Lawrence Wong said it was still “too risky” to allow up to five people for the same household to dine-in together.
On Saturday, Mr Wong said that if the weekly infection rate drops below 1, the country will ease some COVID-19 measures, including allowing members of the same household to dine-in together.
The weekly infection rate refers to the ratio of community COVID-19 cases in the past week over the week before. As of Sunday, this figure stands at 1.14.