(Singapore, Feb 4, 2020) Singapore is planning to provide targeted support to the sectors that have been more directly affected by the new coronavirus, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has announced.

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that the Government will provide more details of the targeted support in due course in the Budget 2020 to be announced on 18 February.

A government announcement says that the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak emerged unexpectedly, amidst early signs of stabilization in the global economy.

The initial economic impact of the outbreak 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 the situation rapidly evolves, depending on how the 2019-nCoV situation progresses, the impact on the island country’s economy could broaden and intensify, the announcement said.

“This will add to the uncertainties about the economy and about jobs. Singaporeans are understandably concerned. 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.”

This will include 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.

The announcement says that even as the Government helps the firms and workers tide through this challenging period, it 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 2019-nCoV situation continues to be fast developing, the Government says it will continue to keep a close watch on the situation and implement decisive measures as soon as needed.