Singapore’s first major event in months to test reopening strategy


Pedestrians crossing a road decorated with festive decorations ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in the Little India district of Singapore. Singapore will hold its first business conference of major scale this week since the coronavirus pandemic put ice to such activities in the city-state, amid ongoing efforts to restart its economy after the Covid-19 pandemic issues. - AFP

SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Bloomberg): Singapore will hold its first business conference of major scale this week since the coronavirus pandemic put ice to such activities in the city-state, amid ongoing efforts to restart its economy.

The Singapore International Energy Week starts Monday with 250 participants and on-site staff, and hundreds more are slated to join virtually.

Singapore has become a hub for oil and natural gas traders and -- in a normal year -- hosts dozens of conferences, roundtable discussions and happy hours for company officials to mingle and broker deals.

While places such as China and Taiwan have restarted business events from automotive shows to tech conferences with hundreds of participants, the Singapore event will be the city-state’s first step to reopening a key sector.

Those who are attending the conference at the Marina Bay Sands are required to take a Covid-19 test, with results within 30 minutes, and must download a contact-tracing app.

Singapore’s government has rolled out strict measures to stop the spread of the virus, such as implementing a partial lock-down for two months, mandatory use of masks and limiting outdoor gatherings to just five people. The economy has gradually reopened since mid-June, and new local daily cases have dwindled in recent weeks to low single digits or zero.

The conference is viewed by authorities as a pilot to see if their measures can help create a safe environment to allow other large events, after other high-profile one such as the Formula One race and Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference were scrapped or went online this year.

The most prominent speaker at Singapore International Energy Week will be Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, though the prince will be joining virtually. Some executives, such as Jochen Eickholt, a Siemens AG board member based in Germany, will be traveling to Singapore to attend the event.

This energy event comes ahead of December’s fintech festival, that will also adopt the online and physical model. The conference, which attracted about 60,000 participants last year, will have speakers including Citigroup Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer-designate Jane Fraser, Standard Chartered Plc’s CEO Bill Winters and Microsoft Corp.’s CEO Satya Nadella. - Bloomberg
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