Europe doesn’t seem to be an ideal business trip destination for our Ministers.
While they’re safe on our shores and far from the virus, COVID-19 must be setting up ambushes at the airports because Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat just tested positive for it while he was in Germany.
In the interest of the public’s health, he will not be attending the annual technology (fintech) conference Point Zero Forum.
Just a month prior, Minister for Sustainability and Environment, Grace Fu, had also contracted COVID-19 while in Amsterdam, which hindered her ability to physically participate in the Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, in relation to the Glasgow Climate Pact.
Facebook Update from DPM Heng
On Sunday (19 June), DPM Heng declared that he had tested positive for coronavirus while in Berlin, despite taking preventative measures like wearing masks and avoiding highly populated areas.
Hate to break it to you, buddy, even though the DPM is likely more informed about the ins-and-outs of the pandemic than a recluse writer, but the virus can hang around in open air for some time.
And Europe has been on its “we ride the highway”, so the diagnosis isn’t exactly surprising.
Fortunately for DPM Heng, he caught the milder end of symptoms with a sore throat. Being the model citizen he is, he praises the efficacy of the vaccination and boosted shot regime.
He apologises to everyone involved in the trip and the organisers of the technology conference, since he is currently in self-isolation and won’t be able to continue his work trip.
DPM Heng’s Itinerary in Europe
His business trip started in London on 12 June, where he attended the London Tech Week event before he arrived in Berlin on 16 June.
During his stay in Berlin, he met the German Federal Minister of Health, Professor Karl Lauterbach.
DPM Heng praises Prof Karl in his erudition in the science of the pandemic, writing that he had even read the research paper published by Singapore on the long-term effects on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory System).
Besides that, the two Ministers sat down to discuss the lessons learnt from handling COVID-19, as well as the potential areas of research collaboration on pandemic preparedness.
“The world must work in unison to prevent the next pandemic, and our two countries will do our part in this global effort,” DPM Heng wrote, adding that they have reaffirmed the excellent ties between Singapore and Germany as well.
DPM Heng’s last stop in Europe would have been Switzerland, if everything had gone according to plan.
Alas, COVID-19 has decided to throw a wrench into things again, and now the Deputy Prime Minister is stuck in his hotel room, celebrating Father’s Day through a video call with his family.
At least he has a nice view outside of his window.
DPM Heng signs off with parting well-wishes, “Here’s also wishing all fathers good health. Stay safe, and stay strong everyone!”
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