Mon, Feb 10, 2020 - Page 15 News List

MAS advises finance sector amid coronavirus outbreak

Reuters, SINGAPORE

Jets from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s Ba Yi aerobatics team perform during a media preview ahead of the Singapore Airshow yesterday.

Photo: AFP

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday said it had advised financial institutions in the city-state to take additional measures and precautions after the Singaporean government raised its alert level for 2019 novel coronavirus.

Among its recommended measures, the central bank said that financial institutions should “continue to maintain effective internal controls across their operations should split-team arrangements be implemented.”

The MAS also advised them to anticipate and be prepared to manage any increase in demand for financial services, such as cash withdrawal or online services.

On Friday, the government raised its response level on the virus to “orange,” a level also adopted during SARS and the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak.

Singaporeans reacted by clearing out supermarket shelves of rice, noodles and toilet paper.

The government advised that non-essential large-scale events should be deferred or canceled, but said that the Singapore Airshow would go ahead.

Airshow organizers said that they were expecting more than 930 companies from 45 countries and 45,000 trade attendees — down from last time.

In 2018, there were 54,000 trade attendees and 1,062 firms as the event contributed S$343 million (US$246.81 million) to the local economy through hotels and other spending, airshow organizers said.

The show also attracts high-level foreign delegations.

The Pentagon has shrunk the size of its delegation and US-based defense firms Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co said that they would not attend. Overall, more than 70 exhibitors have pulled out of the show, which runs from tomorrow through Sunday.

Organizers advised trade show visitors to avoid shaking hands and to choose alternative forms of greeting such as bowing or waving.

The number of public tickets available is to be halved.

Five delegates privately expressed surprise that the show was going ahead, but organizers said that they had a responsibility to those who wanted to attend.

“It has grown to such stature and importance it is a very important part of the entire ecosystem of the global aviation industry,” said Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia Events Pte Ltd, which is partly owned by ST Engineering and government agencies, manages the show and the exhibition site.

The announcement of the first appearance of Ba Yi (八一), the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force aerobatics team, with J-10 fighters was a last-minute surprise, given Singapore’s travel restrictions due to the virus that led 10 Chinese exhibitors to pull out from the show.

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