With the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the initial economic impact in Singapore has been felt most intensely by the transport and tourism sectors, with a decline in air traffic through Changi and an increase in hotel room cancellations. The Government is also expecting a knock-on impact on related industries and firms.

As such, on 1 February, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the Government will provide targeted support to the sectors that have been more directly affected. More details will be provided in Budget 2020 slated be announced on 18 February.

He said: "The Government is prepared to support Singapore firms and workers in the event of a broad-based slowdown in the coming months, including a package of measures to help viable companies stay afloat and help workers stay in their jobs."

Per the statement, this support can come in the form of:

  • Support for firms during this period, by addressing their short-term cash flow needs; and
  • Help for firms to retain and train their workers during this period, including providing some support for part of their wage costs.

In the meantime, he noted the Government will "continue to work together with tripartite partners to restructure our economy, build new enterprise capabilities, and upskill our workers for the future".

As the Wuhan virus situation continues to be fast developing, the Government will continue to keep a close watch on the situation and implement decisive measures as soon as needed.

Stay posted on Human Resources Online for the details of the package of relief measures to be announced Budget 2020.

In related news, the Government's drive to give every household a pack of four surgical masks has launched, with the distribution period between Saturday, 1 Feb to Sunday, 9 Feb 2020 at designated RC Centres and CCs. Here’s what you need to do to collect your masks:

  1. Check your community notice board and/or social media for more information on the designated location, date and time for the collection. You can also check at maskgowhere.gov.sg or call 1800-333-9999.
  2. Collect your mask according to the collection timings, and bring your NRIC for verification.

During a press conference, Minister Chan Chun Sing stated: "There is no need to rush because we will have enough for all the 1.3 million households in Singapore. Whether it is HDB residents, or private estate residents, PA will progressively inform the people of the time to go and collect."

Image / StockUnlimited