Businesses must go on, public must be wary of online falsehoods
MTI will implement measures to help businesses impacted by coronavirus outbreak, as situation is expected to persist for some time
The Wuhan virus outbreak will affect Singapore's economy, business and consumer confidence this year, especially as the situation is expected to persist for some time.
Tourism-related sectors in particular, are of immediate concern, Minister for Trade and Industry (MTI) Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.
This includes sectors in travel agencies, hospitality, food and beverage, retail and transport.
But the MTI will implement measures to help businesses and enterprises impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Chan said at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force.
As with the previous episodes, such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003, the MTI will help these businesses and enterprises by reducing their business costs, alleviating cash-flow problems and retaining workers, he added.
Mr Chan said his ministry is working closely with the Trade Associations and Chambers, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the National Trades Union Congress to ensure there are support measures in place for enterprises and workers.
"From our experience through the Sars and the haze crises, we are confident that we have the basic network to allow us to get through this as a country," he said.
"We will continue to strengthen our measures (and) adapt those measures as necessary, given the evolving situation."
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who is also on the task force, said employers play an important role in keeping workplaces safe.
Employers should familiarise themselves with up-to-date advisories on official channels such as the health and manpower ministries websites, as well as the Gov.sg WhatsApp service, she said.
They should also not delay the implementation of recommended measures and contact MOM if they have reasons for concern or are unsure of what to do.
Mrs Teo said that with a workforce of about 3.6 million and around 150,000 employers here, businesses must go on despite the Wuhan virus outbreak.
"Life must go on. Businesses must continue to operate, and our workers must be able to go to work," said Mrs Teo.
To ensure premises are properly disinfected, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said his ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases to come up with a set of interim guidelines.
This includes the use of the correct cleaning agents, the kind of surfaces that should be targeted and how often the cleaning and disinfection needs to be done, he said.
Meanwhile, as the coronavirus situation continues to develop, Minister For Communications and Information S. Iswaran said the public should be wary of online falsehoods and rely on information only from trusted sources.
"We urge everyone to please keep calm, get the facts, take appropriate precautions and stay vigilant," he said.
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