Coronavirus infections linked to Singapore meeting chip away planners’ confidence in the city

Gloomy skies ahead

Confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus local transmissions arising from a business meeting at Grand Hyatt Singapore in mid-January have led to a wave of event rescheduling and cancellation for two major event agencies in the city-state.

The 109-pax event, according to various news reports, had attendees from China as well as from other parts of the world. A Briton, South Korean and Malaysian later emerged as having been infected at the event.

Gloomy skies ahead for Singapore (pictured) as clients place events on hold, change destinations or postpone plans

According to Pacific World Singapore’s global managing director Selina Sinclair, clients have postponed or put programmes on hold, or “have requested to change destinations for their events”.

In response, the PCO has had to relocate some of these events to other cities.

Meanwhile, CWT Meetings & Events’ Singapore office is in the midst of “ongoing consultations with clients to ensure that the well-being of attendees is fully considered before they decide how best to proceed with planned or proposed events anywhere in the world”, shared Sam Lay, the company’s senior director, Asia Pacific.

Both companies are keeping close tabs on the situation and have doubled up on communications with suppliers and partners.

Sinclair added: “We are working proactively with local health authorities, vendors and suppliers to understand the measures that venues and hotels have put in place for the events, as well as kickstart conversations with partners including suppliers and all logistical arrangements.”

She regards the situation as still being in the “monitoring phase”, and expects clarity in the next two to three weeks on the state of containment.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti and Qatari governments had on Monday issued a travel advisory to their citizens to avoid unnecessary travel, or delay travel, to Singapore because of the spread of the coronavirus.

Singapore’s government raised its DORSCON (Disease Outbreak Response System Condition) alert to Orange over the weekend, which defines the disease as being severe and easily transmitted from person to person, but has yet to spread widely in the country and is being contained.

As of press time, Singapore has 45 confirmed cases, of which 23 are locally transmitted.

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