Latest News: 22 January 2021

1. Singapore to host first ATP 250 tennis tournament from 20 to 28 February

Singapore will be hosting an ATP 250 tennis tournament next month from 20 to 28 February. The tournament will be a hardcourt event and is scheduled to take place at the Singapore Sports Hub.

SportsSG will be working with the Singapore Tennis Association and the Singapore Sports Hub to ensure that strict COVID-19 safe management measures are in place at the venue, and that travel protocols for players and officials adhere to prevailing government guidelines.

The announcement comes after the ATP, the governing body of menā€™s professional tennis, awarded single-year licenses for the 2021 season to Singapore and Spainā€™s Marbella. These new ATP 250 events are part of measures to increase playing opportunities that were curtailed by the pandemic.Ā 

The ATP 250 tournament category ranks after the four Grand Slams, ATP Masters 1000 events, and ATP 500 events.Ā 

More information on the tournament, including the line-up of players, schedule, COVID-19 protocols, and ticketing details will be announced at a later date.

2. 2021 Joint Admissions Exercise posting results to be released on 28 January

Posting results for the 2021 Joint Admission Exercise (JAE) will be released at 9 a.m. on 28 January 2021. Students will be able to obtain these results through the JAE Internet System or SMS.Ā 

Subsequently, students who are posted to a junior college (JC) or Millennia Institute (MI) should report to these institutions at 7.30 a.m. on 29 January. Students who are unable to report on the first day of school due to valid reasons may contact the school to confirm and reserve their placement.

Meanwhile, students posted to polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will receive a letter with enrolment details later on.Ā 

If students wish to appeal for a transfer to another JC or to MI, they should contact the institutions of their choice directly by phone or email. The schools will then have the discretion to consider the application if it has available vacancies, and if the applicant meets this yearā€™s cut-off point.

Students who wish to appeal for a transfer to another polytechnic or ITE Higher Nitec course may do so via the JAE Online Appeal Portal, which will also be open for those who were not posted to any course during the JAE.Ā 

Applicants can submit appeals from 9 a.m. on 28 January until 4 p.m. on 2 February. Appeal outcomes will be released at 9 a.m. on 17 February.

3. Industry leaders to mobilise other employers in their sectors to uplift capabilities

At the fourth SkillsFuture Fellowships and SkillsFuture Employer Awards Ceremony, Minister of Education Lawrence Wong spoke about how the Singapore Government is partnering with industry leaders (which they termed ā€˜Queen Beeā€™ companies) to uplift the capabilities of their sectors by engaging in workforce developments.Ā 

Mr Wong addressed the next bound of SkillsFuture, where the government intends to continue encouraging employers to ā€œtake ownership of the skills development of their staff and workersā€.Ā 

To do this, Mr Wong hopes that the ā€˜Queen Beeā€™ companies will help to mobilise other employers in their respective sectors or industries to engage in workforce developments. This can be done by ā€œtraining beyond [their] own needs, or aggregating demand across the sector for skills development programmes.ā€

At the ceremony, 18 workers were awarded S$10,000 for skills mastery in their fields and commitment to mentorship and the skill development of others. The recipients come from various industries, such as healthcare, design, and landscape.

Meanwhile, 22 firms (seven small and medium enterprises (SME) and 15 non-SMEs) were recognised as exemplary employers which have made significant efforts in the skills development of their employees and developed skills-based career pathways for them.

Mr Wong encouraged businesses and employers to emulate the award winners of the ceremony in having a ā€œpassion for lifelong learning, the continuous pursuit of skills mastery and excellence, and the willingness to adapt and prepare for change.ā€

He said that amid the current uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the above are ā€œevergreen traits that will stand us in good stead, regardless of what challenges await us in the future.”

4. Compulsory Covid-19 test for cargo drivers at Woodlands and Tuas

Cargo drivers entering Singapore from the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints will now have to take a compulsory COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART). Those who test negative will be allowed to enter Singaporeā€™s borders.Ā 

In the initial phase, drivers who will have to undergo the test will be selected at random, but the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has announced that they ā€œintend for all cargo drivers and accompanying personnel to undergo the testing in the coming weeks.ā€

This new requirement is part of Singaporeā€™s strengthened border controls, to manage the risk of imported cases.Ā 

Anyone who tests positive will not be allowed to enter Singapore, said the MTI spokesman. The individual will be asked to return home, and be advised to take a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.Ā 

If the result is positive, they can only enter Singapore after recovering completely from COVID-19 ā€“ at least 21 days after the date of diagnosis.Ā 

5. COVID-19 vaccinations begin for SAF personnel; NCID staff receive their second dose

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel have started receiving their vaccinations yesterday, with plans made to vaccinate the majority of SAFā€™s active forces by mid-2021 ā€” which includes regulars and full-time national servicemen.Ā 

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad were also vaccinated alongside the first batch of SAF personnel on 14 January. They will get their second dose 21 days later.

This initial phase of the vaccination programme for SAF medical and COVID-19 frontline personnel is expected to be completed within six weeks, inclusive of the second dose.

Meanwhile, 39 out of 40 healthcare workers from the National Centre of Infectious Diseases (NCID) received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week. They were the first in Singapore to receive the vaccine on 30 December.Ā 

Thus far, none of the staff who received the first dose of the vaccine to date have reported adverse effects.Ā 

6. Authorities mulling over new COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Chinese New Year as community cases creep up

In view of the increasing number of community cases ahead of Chinese New Year, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force and Education Minister Lawrence Wong has announced that the authorities are currently considering introducing new restrictions and safeguards.Ā 

Mr Wong noted that the increased number of community cases has been ā€œcreeping upā€, which could be due to the higher number of interactions from year-end festivities.Ā 

ā€œTherefore, we are considering now whether or not there might be additional restrictions and safeguards that might be necessary to keep infections under control. Exactly what they are, whether they pertain to house visitations, what kinds of measures ā€“ we are still studying, and when we are ready, we will highlight them,ā€ said Mr Wong, without providing further details.

He also emphasised that the measures against the virus are ā€œnever staticā€, with the possibility of being changed even during Phase 3 itself.

 

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