This week, a series of conferences will be held and will be participated by a slew of corporate heads of the world’s top companies. This is an indicator of the sudden coming back of the economy to normalcy and highlights the contrast with Hong Kong, one of the nations that is retaining the strictest coronavirus protocols in the world.
The summit that defines the future of Asian market
The Asia Summit, an annual conference being hosted by The Milken Institute who is spearheaded by visionary Michael Milken, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, and is funded by GIC which is also attended by a throng of fully vaccinated executives.
Access to the event is possible if participants can provide a clear swab test and are mandated to wear masks and should follow social distancing protocols throughout the event. Although, the participants of the event enjoyed a few liberties to congregate on the table compared to the general public.
The reopening of the borders to strengthen the economy
The revival of indoor events in the Southeast Asian seat is a result of Singapore’s reopening to foreign travelers from a few countries that include Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.
The Milken conference which lasted for two days and an event by GIC were attended by 550 attendees, which included 150 foreign executives. The Bloomberg conference had at least 300 attendees, with 80% of them arriving in airports.
In Sentosa Island, Capella hotel’s 112 rooms were fully occupied because of the event, even though the cost of the rooms was $1,600 a night.
In Singapore alone, a few events are on the pipeline including a 12-nation exhibition of food and drinks that is set to 100 attendees, an international jewelry convention, a martial arts show and a two-day concert by Singaporean talent JJ Lin is coming our way, according to SG news.
Despite all of this, Singapore still has tighter coronavirus restrictions compared to Western nations, with eating out mostly limited to two individuals and mandatory face mask protocols.
In contrast with Hong Kong
Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong chose to follow China’s protocol of much more restrictive travel to curb new coronavirus outbreaks, which also have caused global business organizations to warn that this could cause Chinese companies to lose employees and investors.
“When you reduce the in and out travel when you reduce the mobility of people to enter, drop by and interact, for individuals to leave to be free in other places, that has a detrimental effect on your economy,” stated by David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs during the Bloomberg conference held in Singapore last week.
It is understandable that Singapore’s coronavirus cases are dancing at around 2,000 and the Lion City still has stricter restrictions when it comes to public gatherings; however, given that 85% of the population of 5.45 million has been fully vaccinated, the state seeks to be more open for business.
Hong Kong still impose stricter restrictions despite low cases
Meanwhile, Hong Kong hasn’t recorded any significant amount of coronavirus cases in the country in the past few months and yet the government is implementing stricter rules, which include mandatory three-week hotel quarantine measures for foreign visitors, which is yet to open its borders.
“It is such a shame that there are a few cities in the world where you want to flock with like-minded people to share your global financial wealth with and invest, Hong Kong is one of those,” said Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock in the Hong Kong FinTech Week recently.
“I sincerely look forward to being physically present in Hong Kong without having been subjected to a 21-day mandatory quarantine, however, that is a different story to tell,” he added.
The comparison between Singapore and Hong Kong’s coronavirus restrictions is a clear indicator of the importance of the government’s decision to align certain impositions to the current circumstances.
This will bring up the same question that has plagued many world governments since the epidemic began, “Which is more important, curbing the outbreaks or saving the economy?”
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