Latest News: 19 February 2021

Connect@Changi
Connect@Changi

1. MOH: No indication that senior warded for cardiac arrest event was caused by COVID-19 vaccine

A 72-year-old Singaporean man suffered a cardiac arrest after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. However, the Ministry of Health has announced that there is no indication that the cardiac arrest was due to the vaccination.

The man had received the vaccine on the morning of Tuesday, 16 February. His cardiac episode occurred later that night and he was admitted to the intensive care unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

TTSH then conducted an initial assessment and found no indication that the cardiac arrest was due to the vaccination. At the moment, further tests are being conducted to establish the cause of the episode.Ā 

In MOHā€™s statement, it was also noted that the man has a prior history of cancer, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia.Ā 

Additionally, they confirmed that ā€œhe had been assessed by trained healthcare personnel to be suitable for COVID-19 vaccination prior to vaccination…he was also observed on-site for about 30 minutes post-vaccination and was wellā€.Ā 

MOH has again emphasised the importance of the vaccination to protect seniors due to their increased risk of complications from COVID-19 infection. It also added that the World Health Organisation has found no evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine contributes to an increased risk of death in the elderly.Ā 

2. Opening of short-stay facility, Connect@Changi, allows business visitors to meet without serving quarantine

Connect@Changi, a pilot short-stay facility that allows business travellers around the world to stay and conduct meetings without the need to serve quarantine on arrival, has opened its doors on Thursday, 18 February.Ā 

The hotel cum business centre is part of Singaporeā€™s efforts to resume international business meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility is ā€œbubble-wrappedā€ such that visitors do not mingle with the community in Singapore, but will still be able to hold face-to-face meetings with local residents at the facility.Ā 

To facilitate this, meetings between business travellers and those from Singapore will take place in special meeting rooms with air-tight glass panels. There are separate entrances and exits, as well as different ventilation systems, for the two groups of people.Ā 

The facility also allows for large-scale video conferences should there be a need for hybrid meetings. To allow for the signing of papers, special document exchange boxes are available where the papers will be sanitised before being transferred to either side.

Visitors to the business centre will have to adhere to a host of new safe management measures, including keeping to groups of not more than five per cohort.Ā 

Upon arrival at Changi Airport, all foreign travellers looking to stay at the facility are required to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction test. Theyā€™ll then be transported to their rooms, where they must stay until they receive a negative test result (approximately six hours later).Ā 

Theyā€™ll be required to repeat the test on days three, seven, and 14 of their stay. The minimum length of stay is set at 24 hours, while the longest is at 14 days.Ā 

To minimise contact between guests and staff members, no housekeeping will be conducted during their stay and contactless delivery will be practiced for all meals. Guests will still be able to obtain food and beverages from self-service coffee kiosks and vending machines, or order food delivery for third-party applications.Ā 

At all times, the facilityā€™s employees are required to don masks, face shields and gloves. For housekeeping and certain tasks, full personal protective equipment is required.

For a start, Connect@Changi will be launching 150 rooms and 40 meeting rooms that can hold four to 22 attendees. It will be expanding in phases and eventually reach a full potential capacity to host approximately 1,300 business travellers.Ā 

Rooms start from S$384 for 24 hours, and are inclusive of three meals, any COVID-19 tests required and airport transfers. Bookings can be made via connectatchangi.sg or through the Connect@Changi mobile app.

3. Nature advocates seek mitigating action following erroneous clearing of Kranji woodland area

Expressing concern over the erroneous clearing of segments of the Kranji woodland area, conservation advocates have said that this could hinder authoritiesā€™ efforts to engage with environmental groups.

On Tuesday, 16 February, JTC said that an environmentalist specialist had been appointed to conduct a study in December, and to formulate an environmental management plan for delegated land plots in the area. Land was cleared before the study was completed.

The Kranji woodland area measures about 70ha and is located along the Rail Corridor. While 18ha had been allocated for the first phase of development to pave the way for the Agri-Food Innovation Park, parts of it were cleared by Huationg, a contractor of JTC Corp, prior to the completion of an environmental impact assessment.

Upon discovery of the error on 13 January, JTC said that it ordered the firm to stop clearing all work immediately.

Facebook user Brice Li posted aerial images of the cleared area, resulting in an outcry on social media from environmental advocates.

The 24km rail corridor stretches from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands. The railway land, which belonged to Malaysia, was returned to Singapore in 2011 and is seen as a green corridor that will link a number of future developments.Ā 

Chairman of the Nature Society Singaporeā€™s conservation committee Mr Leong Kwok Peng said that the forested area in Kranji is one of the remaining woodland areas on the northern part of the Rail Corridor and is a corridor for wildlife.

He added that the patch of forest was necessary for animals to forage, and that the nature society hopes that the remaining belt of greenery can be preserved and expanded.

Professor Koh Lian Pin, conservation scientist and Nominated Member of Parliament, said that baseline environmental studies aid in drawing attention to possible ecological consequences if the site is cleared or disrupted.

He noted that such studies are essential to policymakers, as they provide insights to ā€œhelp them make more informed decisions and to consider the need for any mitigation actionsā€.

MP Louis Ng (PAP-Nee Soon), who is also the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Sustainability and the Environment, expressed shock over the erroneous clearing.

Mr Ng said that he has filed a parliamentary query asking if the National Development Ministry is investigating the error, and if the current environmental impact assessment (EIA) framework will be bolstered to prevent such mistakes from occurring again.

Biological scientist and senior lecturer at the department of biological sciences in the National University of Singapore (NUS) N Sivasothi said that the next best step would be to re-examine the cleared area for impact mitigation, and involve nature groups in this course of action as quickly as possible.

Join the conversations on THG’sĀ FacebookĀ andĀ Instagram, and get the latest updates viaĀ Telegram.

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