Communication firms given go-ahead to operate 5G

Singtel, Starhub-M1 and TPG have been given a go-ahead from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), separate press releases revealed. Singtel and Starhub-M1 can now operate 5G networks nationwide, whilst TPG acquired 5G millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum rights in both 26GHz and 28GHz bands.

Nokia is now the 5G tech partner of StarHub-M1 for the 5G radio access network, as well as the preferred technology supplier for StarHub’s 5G core and mmWave networks. StarHub-M1 is exploring other network elements with vendors, including Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE.

Meanwhile, Singtel today was awarded the 3.5GHz and the (mmWave) spectrum and will build on the momentum created from ongoing 5G trials in the fields of port operations, manufacturing and cloud gaming to offer the most transformative services and solutions to support Singapore’s digital economy.

The telco has also selected Ericsson to start a period of negotiation to provide the 5G SA Core, RAN and mmWave network, with a view to finalising the contractual terms as soon as practicable.

Singtel has been test-bedding new consumer and enterprise 5G solutions through various trials with key technology vendors and public service agencies, which includes working with the PSA on developing port-related 5G use cases, such as drones and crane automation at the Pasir Panjang Terminal; exploring how 5G can enable Industry 4.0 manufacturing technologies at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre; and testing network readiness for 5G cloud gaming with IMDA and Razer.

They also launched 5G Garage together with Ericsson and Singapore Polytechnic, a live facility where enterprises can develop and test 5G solutions. In the same vein, Singtel’s Centre of Digital Excellence helps enterprise customers realise the value and speed up the adoption of 5G in their digital transformation journeys.

Singtel also announced that it will unveil its unmanned 24/7 pop-up retail store UNBOXED, which has been outfitted with live 5G connectivity. Launching in late July, customers may try out applications such as cloud gaming, 360⁰ immersive entertainment, augmented reality education, as well as checking out the latest 5G mobile devices.

Lastly, TPG is leveraging the extensive OpenRAN vendor community along with Huawei’s advanced network equipment for the optimal implementation of novel 5G services in Singapore. They claim that their existing is extensive and easily upgradeable, allowing for close tracking to the new 3GPP 5G standards as they evolve. 

Source: Singapore Business Review

Singapore – Moves to Phase 2 in COVID-19 Circuit Breaker

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on 15 Jun 2020 that Singapore will move into Phase Two after 18 June 2359 hours. This is because community infection rates have generally remained stable, cases in migrant worker dormitories have declined, and there are no new large clusters emerging.

Approach for Phase Two

The aim is to ensure that Singapore’s efforts are sustained by limiting close contact amongst individuals, whilst maintaining hygiene and safe management principles.

These safe distancing principles will apply for all activities that are allowed to resume in Phase Two:

  • Ensure safe distancing of at least one metre at all times
  • If safe distancing is not feasible, the one metre requirement can be enforced between groups, if group sizes do not exceed five people. There should be no mixing between groups. This applies to small-group social gatherings and households, who may receive up to five visitors at any one time.

Activities that can resume

These are the activities that can resume once Phase Two begins from 18 June 2020 2359 hours:

  • Retail businesses, who may re-open their physical outlets
  • Dine-in at food and beverage outlets (although live music, television and video screenings are not allowed at this stage)
  • Personal health and wellness activities
  • Home-based services
  • Tuition and other private enrichment classes (although singing or voice training classes will not resume)
  • Sports, parks and other public facilities. These include playgrounds, beaches, swimming complexes, sport halls, gyms and fitness studios, function rooms, and similar facilities in private condominiums and clubs
  • Registered clubs and societies, at their registered premises
  • All healthcare services, including face-to-face visits at residential facilities for the elderly, although safe distancing and precautionary measures will be put in place

Larger public venues, with high human traffic, such as malls and large standalone retail outlets must restrict capacity and prevent crowds or long queues from building up.


Activities that can resume with specific rules

Specific rules will apply to the following events:

  • Weddings: Solemnisations at home, and at ROM or ROMM, may take place with up to ten people, excluding the solemnizer. At other venues, they may take place with up to twenty people, excluding the solemnizer
  • Wakes and funerals: Twenty people may be present at any one time
  • Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs): Students will return to school daily from 29 June 2020. IHLs will gradually increase the number of students back on campus for face-to-face learning

Activities that cannot resume for now

Some activities, where many people come into close contact for long periods of time, will take more time to resume. This is to ensure large clusters do not form. These include:

  • Religious services and congregations
  • Large cultural venues such as libraries and museums
  • Large-scale events and venues, such as conferences, exhibitions, concerts and trade fairs
  • Entertainment venues such as bars, nightclubs, karaoke outlets, cinemas, theatres, as well as indoor and outdoor attractions

Businesses to ensure telecommuting and safe management

All employers have to ensure telecommuting by default, where possible. Employers must also ensure safe management measures are put in place. These include no social gatherings between employees and ensuring safe distancing of at least one metre at all times.

The one metre safe distancing requirement may only be waived for groups of not more than five people in permitted businesses, such as F&B dine-in settings or classes where individuals come together for activities. Businesses must still ensure safe management measures are in place.

Businesses who are found to be flouting safe management principles may be required to close.

Everyone should play their part to achieve a COVID-safe Singapore

There will be more new community cases as activities resume. Everyone needs to exercise caution:

  • Be socially responsible
  • Practise good personal hygiene
  • Ensure safe distancing and adhere to safe management principles   
  • Use SafeEntry to check in and out when required, download and install the TraceTogether app   
  • Keep number of contacts small and limited to your regular circle of close contacts, to protect yourself and your families
  • Seniors, who are especially vulnerable, should continue to exercise extra caution and stay at home as much as possible

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce will monitor the situation closely, with the aim of re-opening our economy and society progressively, until a new normal is reached in Phase Three.

One day this will all be history

Over 68m travellers passed through Changi Airport in 2019, making it the 7th busiest airport in the world for international traffic. It as also recently been voted the number one airport again and Singaporeans quite rightly so, are proud of the status and credibility that this landmark brings to the country.

Landmarks across the Lion City are symbols of pride for many Singaporeans. They represent places of social interaction as well as showcasing life in the city to the many millions of visitors that come each year to explore.

However, the restrictions due to Singapore’s circuit breaker have given rise to unexpected sights across areas and landmarks that would usually be bustling with visitors, excited in experiencing Singapore’s rich culture.

Even office workers are a rare sight in what is usually a very busy central business district. Isolated buildings, open spaces usually crowded with resting tourists and workers enjoying their lunch breaks are now quiet.

It is probably a once in a lifetime experience, not to enjoy but to reflect. How a city of over 5m people suddenly became a ghost town and yet it shows the magnitude of what the Covid -19 pandemic has created. The scenes can be replicated across many cities worldwide.

However, a production company in Singapore has documented these events and wants to share this as a reminder in years to come that for a brief period – the city virtually stopped.

The video, titled One Day This Will All Be History was produced by local company Picture Perfect Productions. The 360-degree video captures empty scenes in usually crowded locations like Merlion Park, Lau Pa Sat and City Hall. Viewers can explore the 360-degree view using a smartphone or computer or get the full immersive experience through a virtual reality headset.

Mr Andrew Psarianos, chief executive of Picture Perfect Productions, and his colleague, Mr Caleb Rozzario, spent a day walking through areas of Singapore and recorded the scenes with their 360 cameras.

Mr Psarianos said ‘that having worked with DAB Events and Business Traveller Connect, he wanted to show business travellers that Singapore as with many other cities are missing the many millions of visitors we take for granted a year and capturing the emptiness of popular attractions and business districts marked a rare, historic moment, and he wanted to document and archive these sights through the immersive experience of VR video.’

The emptiness of popular tourist attractions and business districts marked a rare, historic moment, and he wanted to document and archive these sights through the immersive experience of VR video.

As these things are set to test us, we know Singapore will come back stronger and wiser and open for business very soon, as history as shown over the many years of adversity that is has had to endure.

Everybody loves visiting the Lion City whether for business or pleasure and we look forward to the day in the very near future to welcoming everyone back.


Singapore Stock Exchange – Keeping the marketplace available and accessible to business


SGX has been proactively managing the COVID-19 situation, following closely the advisories from the Ministry of Health and the relevant regulatory agencies. We have taken a holistic approach to maintain a safe working environment and strengthen resiliency. 

Loh Boon Chye, Chief Executive Officer, SGX

Loh Boon Chye, Chief Executive Officer, SGX 

“Beyond our immediate focus on the health and well-being of our employees, we are working with stakeholders across the financial community to ensure that our marketplace remains robust, uninterrupted and accessible. With COVID-19, news and information move rapidly – investors must be given the opportunity to react with confidence and manage their portfolio risks efficiently. As a key part of Singapore’s financial market infrastructure, it is important that we reinforce the nation’s position and relevance as a global financial hub, particularly if the current situation is prolonged. We have always stood by this belief: market stress is temporary, but resilience and trust in an orderly and high-quality market will stand the test of time.”

SGX has been working with the wider capital markets industry to understand their practical difficulties during this period. To support our listed companies, SGX RegCo announced last month that it would allow issuers with a 31 December financial year-end, up to 30 June 2020 to hold AGMs to approve their 31 December 2019 (FY Dec 2019) financial results. The Waiver will be granted to issuers subject to notification to SGX RegCo and fulfilment of certain criteria. This Waiver is in addition to the 7 February 2020 announcement that companies with their principal place of business in the PRC or have business with significant operations in the PRC, will have up to 30 June 2020 to hold their AGMs.

Following the recent MOH’s advisories on social distancing and travel restrictions, we recognise it is now even harder for companies to arrange in-person AGMs. 

SGX RegCo has announced the following measures and guidance, either on its own or jointly with statutory agencies, which are relevant to the COVID-19 situation: 

In addition, SGX will provide a grant of up to S$5,000 per company to all qualifying Mainboard and Catalist companies, to help defray the additional costs of organising AGMs in light of the new MOH guidelines. This ‘AGM Facilitation Grant’ will cover all AGM-related expenses incurred between 16 March 2020 and 15 March 2021, such as augmenting physical AGMs with video conferencing, additional logistics such as on-site temperature taking or pre-AGM shareholder communication, amongst others.

For further information then visit

Parliament Singapore

4 ways the Resilience Budget is helping Singapore’s businesses stay afloat

Parliament Singapore

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have long-lasting economic repercussions, as the global economy faces demand and supply shocks, falling growth forecasts and rising uncertainty.

To pull through this difficult time, additional support will be given to businesses. Addressing immediate challenges, the Resilience Budget will tackle the 3 Cs on business owners minds – cash flow, cost, and credit, in addition to offering help to specific sectors affected by COVID-19

Here are the four ways the Resilience Budget is going to help businesses:

Majulah Singapura

The Government is working to flow payouts under the wage support schemes quickly to provide timely assistance. By end-May 2020, a total of $5.6 billion would have been paid out. On top of this, an additional $500 million of wage credits under the enhanced support will be brought forward. Altogether, by Oct 2020, $16.2 billion will flow into the hands of businesses through the Job Support Scheme and Wage Credit Scheme.

To further ease cashflow as businesses await cash from wage support schemes, companies and self-employed persons will be granted an automatic deferment of income tax payments for 3 months. No application will be required.


Businesses Deferment of income tax payment due in
Companies Apr, May and Jun 2020
Self-employed persons May, Jun and Jul 2020
Employees May approach IRAS if they need help with tax payments and
wish to avail themselves to this arrangement

Help with business costs

Where the cost is within the Government’s control, it will do its best to help.

The Property Tax Rebate announced in the Unity Budget will be enhanced, by raising the amount and covering more types of properties:

  • For 2020, qualifying commercial properties that have been more badly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak will pay no Property Tax. These include hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops, and restaurants. This is a step up from the 15%-30% Property Tax Rebate announced earlier.
  • Businesses in other non-residential properties such as offices and industrial properties affected by the COVID-19 situation will be granted a Property Tax Rebate of 30% for the year 2020.

Landlords are urged to fully pass on the rebate to tenants by reducing rentals, to directly ease the cash flow and cost pressures faced by tenants.

Rental waivers will be enhanced to support tenants.


Tenant Rental Waivers
Stallholders in hawker centres managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators

3 months
(up from 1 month announced in Budget 2020)

Eligible tenants under government agencies

2 months
(up from 0.5 month announced in Budget 2020)

All other non-residential tenants

0.5 month


In addition, all government fees and charges will be frozen for one year, from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Help with credit

Financing schemes will be further enhanced so that even the hardest-hit businesses will continue to have access to credit.

Earlier enhancements were made to the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) – SME Working Capital Loan to alleviate SMEs’ cash flow concerns, and the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) was introduced for enterprises in the tourism sector.

To support businesses’ trade financing needs, the EFS – Trade Loan will be enhanced, with the maximum loan quantum being increase from $5 million to $10 million, and an increase in the Government’s risk-share to 80%, up from 70%.

Subsidies to businesses for loan insurance premiums will be increased from 50% to 80%, under the Loan Insurance Scheme.

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme will be expanded to all enterprises, and the maximum supported loan will be increased from $1 million to $5 million.

SMEs that require support beyond the TBLP can continue to tap on the EFS – SME Working Capital Loan. The maximum loan quantum for this will be further enhanced, from $600,000 to $1 million.

The Government will work with Participating Financial Institutions to defer capital payments for one year on the EFS-Working Capital Loan and the TBLP loans if requested by businesses, subject to assessment by Participating Financial Institutions.

In addition to financing schemes, $20 billion of loan capital will be set aside this budget. This will help to support good companies with strong capabilities, and catalyse private sector loan capital.

Businesses and individuals facing cash flow challenges will be receive help from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which is working with banks and insurers, for their loan obligations and insurance premium payments. 

Help for sectors most affected by COVID-19

Additional help will be given to specific sectors that are most directly affected by COVID-19. These include sectors that rely on tourism and international travel, which have been hit the hardest, as well as sectors that involve a high level of human interaction that have been hit by safe distancing measures.

Enhanced Jobs Support Schemes will be rolled out for business in the aviation, tourism and food service sectors. For every local worker employed, a total of up to 75% wage offset for the first $4,600 of monthly wages will be provided.

$350 million enhanced aviation support package will be introduced to fund measures such as rebates on landing and parking charges, and rental relief for airlines, ground handlers and cargo agents.

$90 million will be set aside to help the tourism industry rebound strongly, when the time is right.

The Point-to-Point Support Package to help taxi and private hire car drivers will be extended and enhanced. Eligible taxi hirers and PHC drivers will continue to receive the Special Relief Fund payments of $300 per vehicle per month until end-Sep 2020.

Private bus owners will be given a one-year road tax rebate and a six-month waiver of parking charges at government-managed parking facilities.

The arts and culture sector will be given an additional $55 million support package, to save jobs and support  upskilling and digitalisation of the sector.

What businesses can do in the meantime

As Singapore prepares for recovery, businesses should continue to make use of this downtime to digitalise, restructure, and transform.

They can leverage the SMEs Go Digital Programme, the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) to do so. These schemes will be enhanced until Dec 2020, in the following ways:

  • SMEs Go Digital Programme will provide support for more digital solutions, from basic remote working tools, to more advanced systems.
  • Maximum support levels for PSG and EDG raised to 80% and 90% respectively to spur transformation.

Upgrading workers’ skills must continue to be a focus, thus enhanced support for skills upgrading will be provided in the following ways:

  • Course fee subsidies will be extended to the arts and culture and land transport sectors from 1 Apr 2020. This is on top of enhanced training support for aviation, tourism, food services, and retail trade sectors previously announced at the Unity Budget.
  • 90% absentee payroll rates will be extended to all employers, to provide additional cash flow relief when they send their workers for training, from 1 May 2020.
  • The duration of the enhancements will also be extended, to cover eligible courses starting before 1 January 2021.


DBS to boost its cash flow support for SME

DBS to boost its cash flow support for SME’s

DBS to boost its cash flow support for SME

DBS further boosts its cash flow support for SMEs, upsizes collateral-free digital business loan to SGD 200,000

Quadrupling of original loan quantum will provide SMEs access to substantial working capital support to weather economic storm

Singapore, 07 Apr 2020 – DBS today announced that it will further bolster its liquidity relief support for SMEs impacted by COVID-19 by increasing the quantum of its Digital Business Loan to SGD 200,000. This is double the upsized SGD 100,000 quantum announced on 3 April 2020, and four times the original quantum of SGD 50,000 when the relief measure was first introduced on 26 February 2020.

Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking, DBS, said, “DBS is fully supportive of the newly announced measures in the Solidarity Budget to protect lives and livelihoods amidst this COVID-19 crisis. DBS stands shoulder to shoulder with our customers, and today, we will be further ramping up our support for the SME community. We hope that by significantly beefing up the Digital Business Loan, SMEs can now access even more substantial working capital support to weather the economic fallout from COVID-19.”

The Digital Business Loan will continue to be collateral-free, with SME clients needing to service only interest for the first 12 months, up from the original three-month interest servicing period announced on 26 February 2020. DBS will continue to waive all processing fees, usually pegged at 1% of the loan quantum associated with this loan.

Today’s announcement is in addition to DBS’ third round of liquidity relief measures for SMEs announced on 3 April 2020, which includes the introduction of a nine-month principal repayment moratorium for SMEs refinancing their commercial property loans with DBS.


The Digital Business Loan adds to the raft of relief measures that DBS has made available to SMEs, including a six-month principal repayment moratorium for existing SME property loans, and an extension of import facilities of up to 60 days to act as immediate cash flow support.

Since the launch of the DBS F&B Digital Relief Package two weeks ago to help F&B establishments tap new income streams by building their online presence in just three days. DBS is in the process of onboarding more than 70 F&B businesses from household chains to hotels, standalone cafes and restaurants which combined, number more than 100 F&B outlets.

Tee added that the bank will continue engaging its SMEs and industry partners to address the specific needs of different sectors during this period. It aims to introduce more of such targeted relief packages in the coming weeks to support different SME segments.

DBS has also begun advising SME customers keen on tapping the relief measures announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore on 31 March 2020. These include allowing SMEs banking with DBS to choose to defer principal payments on all secured term loans up to 31 December 2020, subject to eligibility. SMEs will also be able to extend the tenure of their loans by up to the corresponding principal deferment period if they wish. This relief will be available to SMEs that are not more than 90 days past due as of 6 April 2020.


Will other countries follow Singapore Govt’s lead by booking hotel rooms for Stay at Home notices – 7,500+ rooms booked

Life in isolation is not all bad for those returning from overseas who have to remain in designated hotel rooms while serving their 14-day stay-home notices (SHN).

Hotels deliver three meals a day to the guests, with some providing local favourites like laksa and char kway teow. Certain hotels also offer laundry services and personal shopping services to help guests get their hands-on daily essentials.

Some resorts are also coming up with ingenious ways to keep cabin fever away. For example, at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, staff could soon be conducting regular exercise sessions on the hotel’s garden lawn. Guests will be able to join in and stretch their legs from the safety of their balconies. The hotel is also looking into providing colourful art and craft materials for younger guests.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Tuesday that all those returning from the UK and the US from 11.59pm on Wednesday will serve their SHN in dedicated facilities instead of in their own homes.

Singaporeans returning from the two countries account for a large share of imported cases so far. About 1,200 people a day have been returning from both countries.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is one of many hotels here that have been designated as a dedicated facility. Some of the other hotels include Grand Park Orchard, and three hotels under Far East Hospitality: the Village Hotel Albert Court, Village Hotel Sentosa, and The Elizabeth Hotel.

Asked why the hotels decided to take in SHN guests, chief executive officer of Far East Hospitality Arthur Kiong said: “As a home-grown company, we feel it is our national duty to support government initiatives, and to help our fellow Singaporeans and residents navigate these waters. It is during times like these that courage, generosity and resilience make a difference.”

The Government has arranged for returnees to be transported directly from the airport to their designated hotels. Guests are pre-checked in before arriving at the hotel so all they need to do is pick up their room keys from designated locations. Since it is mandatory for them to serve out their SHN in the hotels, the cost of their stay will be paid by the Government.

In a joint statement, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) expressed gratitude to participating hotels for helping to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The statement said: “Through a multi-agency effort involving STB, SLA and other public service organisations, the Government was able to procure SHN facilities in a matter of days, to quickly ramp up the supply of rooms to house many of the returnees to Singapore.

“The public can be assured that proper measures will be put in place to ensure that all participating hotels abide by proper protocols for cleanliness and safety during the 14-day SHN period for occupants.”

During this period, designated hotels are accepting only SHN guests, with some hotels even completely closing off access to members of the public.

Hotels that were previously accommodating regular guests made arrangements for those people to move to sister hotels. For example, prior to taking in the SHN guests, Grand Park Orchard relocated existing guests to Grand Park City Hall.

Precautions are taken to ensure the health of the SHN guests and staff, and that there is minimal interaction between both parties.

Some precautions include temperature screening for guests upon arrival, regular temperature screening twice a day for staff, designated lifts for guests, and meals delivered in disposable containers which are left at the room door for guests to collect. Guests are also required to stay in their rooms at all times.

A spokesman for Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa said: “The hotel has stepped up precautionary measures since January, which include increased frequency for cleaning and sanitising of hotel facilities and all public areas, and masks and sanitiser are placed around the hotel readily available for usage.”

The resort is also equipped with closed-circuit camera monitoring and a 24-hour, on-site emergency response team.

Hotels are also helping to allay the feelings of solitude of guests. Staff check in daily via telephone or write handwritten notes of encouragement to provide some human connection.

Executive housekeeper at Grand Park Orchard Josie Lam, one of those attending to SHN guests, said: “Honestly, a lot of fear is due to a lack of understanding. These guests are all healthy people that do not display any symptoms.

“The 14-day isolation is a precautionary measure.”

She added that she felt safe even though there were some cases of those on SHN testing positive for the coronavirus.

She said: “If you think about it, in a controlled environment such as the hotel, the chances of getting the virus is less than, say, going to a crowded club. As a Singaporean, I feel proud to be able to contribute and support my country in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.”

These are just some of the major hotels that are stepping up for the nation in time of need by providing their properties for SHN:

Hotel Location Operated by Number of Rooms
Conrad Centennial Singapore Marina Bay Hilton Worldwide 512
Grand Park Orchard Orchard Park Hotel Group 308
InterContinental Singapore Bugis InterContinental Hotels Group 403
Pan Pacific Singapore Marina Bay Pan Pacific Group 790
Parkroyal Collection Pickering Chinatown Pan Pacific Group
Royal Plaza on Scotts Orchard Sajahtera Investments 511
Six Senses Duxton Tanjong Pagar InterContinental Hotels Group 49
Six Senses Maxwell Tanjong Pagar InterContinental Hotels Group 138
Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa Sentosa Shangri-la Group 454
Swissotel The Stamford Singapore City Hall Swissotel Hotels and Resorts 1,261
Village Hotel Albert Court Bugis Far East Hospitality 210
Village Hotel Sentosa Sentosa Far East Hospitality 193


Source: and


A team of Australian researchers say they’ve found a cure for the novel coronavirus and hope to have patients enrolled in a nationwide trial by the end of the month.

University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research director Professor David Paterson told today they have seen two drugs used to treat other conditions can wipe out the virus in test tubes.

He said one of the medications, given to some of the first people to test positive for COVID-19 in Australia, had already resulted in “disappearance of the virus” and complete recovery from the infection.

Prof Paterson, who is also an infectious disease physician at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, said it wasn’t a stretch to label the drugs “a treatment or a cure”.

“It’s a potentially effective treatment,” he said.

“Patients would end up with no viable coronavirus in their system at all after the end of therapy.”

The drugs are both already registered and available in Australia.

“What we want to do at the moment is a large clinical trial across Australia, looking at 50 hospitals, and what we’re going to compare is one drug, versus another drug, versus the combination of the two drugs,” Prof Paterson said.

Given their history, researchers have a “long experience of them being very well tolerated” and there are no unexpected side effects.

“We’re not on a flat foot, we can sort of move ahead very rapidly with enrolling Australians in this trial,” Prof Paterson said.

“It’s the question we all have – we know it’s coming now, what is the best way to treat it?”

Prof Paterson said positive experiences in the fight against coronavirus have already been recorded overseas, citing China and Singapore. His research team are confident they can start getting the drugs to patients in a very safe way on home soil.

“We want to give Australians the absolute best treatment rather than just someone’s guesses or someone’s anecdotal experiences from a few people,” Prof Paterson told

He said they hope to be enrolling patients by the end of March.

“And that way, if we can test it in this first wave of patients, we do fully expect that there are going to be ongoing infections for months and months ahead, and therefore we’ll have the best possible information to treat subsequent patients,” Prof Paterson said.

“That’s really our aim, to get real world experience in Australia.”

He said the trouble with the data coming from China was that it wasn’t really gathered “in a very controlled way”, given they were the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak at the time.

“Things were just chaotic,” Prof Paterson said.

“There were these emergency hospitals being built and the system really being very, very stretched.”

One of the two medications is a HIV drug, which has been superseded by “newer generation” HIV drugs, and the other is an anti-malaria drug called chloroquine which is rarely used and “kept on the shelf now” due to resistance to malaria.

He said the researchers want to study them in a “very meaningful way” against the coronavirus to “try and alleviate that anxiety of Australians”.

“There have already been patients treated with these in Australia and there’s been successful outcomes but it hasn’t been done in a controlled or a comparative way,” Prof Paterson said.
The drugs would be given orally, as tablets.

Prof Paterson said patients would be asked to participate “as soon as they’re admitted” to hospital with the aim of beginning treatment “very early on in their illness”.

He said the research was sparked by Chinese patients, who were first given the drug in Australia, showing their doctors information on the internet about the treatment used overseas.

“Our doctors were very, very surprised that a HIV drug could actually work against the novel coronavirus and there was a bit of scepticism,” he said.

“That first wave of Chinese patients we had (in Australia), they all did very, very well when they were treated with the HIV drug.

“That’s reassuring … that we’re onto something really good here.”

The RBWH Foundation has established a Coronavirus Action Fund. By Monday afternoon it had raised $30,000 of the desired $750,000 for the clinical drug trials and other related medical research.

“The trials will start as soon as funding is secured,” the fund states.

When asked why they had to put a call out money, Prof Paterson said they “want to give as many people in Australia access to this” and can’t take doctors away from their normal work.

“The reality is that doctors are going to need to be concentrating on their patients and we need to get a very strong research team across Australia that can make sure that all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed and make sure that it is a really high-quality study so that we can be really confident in the results,” he said.

“We did this with bushfires, this is an example where we’re reaching out to the public to put the financial support behind the study so it can get underway.

“Fifty hospitals have expressed interest in participating and we expect there may even be more to come.”


Singapore Airlines – A Class Above The Rest

Nearly 120 years has passed since the first ever flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903 and the fascination that followed with flying continues today. Modern, comfortable aircraft and more destinations to travel to has made the world feel smaller and brought more people together as the fascination with air travel continues to grow.

Fast forward over a century later, air travel is no longer a rare commodity, with millennials averaging 7.4 flights a year while an average business traveller takes 6.8 flights a year. The excitement and novelty of travelling 30,000 feet in the air may be wearing off, but that does not stop Singapore Airlines, the world’s most awarded airline in the world, from keeping the wanderlust flying high.

Why They Are the Number One Airline in The World

Singapore Airlines aim to take you on a journey, a journey that will transform your very concept of what it is to fly and what it is to be valued. For nearly a quarter of a century now, Singapore Airlines knows that travel isn’t just about getting their customers from A to B. It’s about getting them to a state of mind that is based on contentment and satisfaction. When you travel with Singapore Airlines, you feel you are getting above and beyond what you expected and beyond what others are getting, it’s an ethos that keeps winning them awards – Best Airline in the World, Best First Class and Best Business Class in Asia, Best First Class Seat in the world, and more in the recent Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards 2019.

The Cabin Crew

Singapore Airlines cabin crew undergo 14 weeks of intensive training, the longest crew training programme in the industry. Even in the digital age of automation, nothing can replace the personal, warm service of a crew – especially when you’re flying home after an intense business meeting. It is no wonder Singapore Airlines was awarded World’s Best Cabin Crew at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2019. Nonetheless, the airline embraces and continuously invests in technology – not to replace its people but to elevate their legendary service.

World Class Service at the Tip of Your Fingers

For a frequent traveller, the new SingaporeAir mobile app is the ultimate one-stop centre for all your travel needs. Some of the innovative features to streamline and personalise the user’s mobile experience include “Translation Assistant” that uses real-time language translation by voice to help travellers communicate better when they are overseas; and a “Measure Your Baggage” function for determining if the size of your bag is within carry-on limits using augmented reality. Among the many upgrades to existing features, real-time information such as boarding gate details and the weather at your destination has been added to the app’s “My Trips” function.

The SIA Onboard Experience

Singapore Airlines is recognised for being the pioneer of inflight innovation –Besides being the first airline in the world to offer passengers a choice of food and drinks, free headsets for entertainment, audio and video on demand in all classes, they also have world-renowned chefs to thoughtfully create inflight menus. No detail is too small for the airline. Wholesome meals are developed to specifically alleviate fatigue and promote good digestion. Crew adjust temperature and lighting settings based on different phases of the flight, the climates passengers are travelling between, how full the plane is, and other factors. Even the curve of the armrest or the angle at which a seat reclines to is being considered to ensure maximum comfort and personal space for each passenger.

Corporate Travel Programme                                                                                          

Take your business’ travel budget further than you ever thought possible with Singapore Airlines’ 2 exclusive programmes for businesses. For large businesses, the Corporate Travel Programme offers companies preferential corporate rates that results in bigger savings for every trip. Employees are also rewarded as they earn KrisFlyer miles for every flight. For more information on the Corporate Travel Programme, click

HighFlyer Programme

The HighFlyer programme ensures that small and medium-sized businesses also enjoy special perks. While the company earns HighFlyer points, the employees stand to earn KrisFlyer miles too. HighFlyer points can be used to purchase flight tickets for employees, with no minimum spend required. For more information on the HighFlyer programme, click

The Singapore Stopover Holiday

For those who wish to spend more time exploring Singapore during their layover or extending their stay in the Lion City beyond their business trip, take advantage of the Singapore Stopover Holiday package, which not only includes a hotel stay but access to an extensive suite of Singapore’s top attractions, experiences and dining deals worth more than SGD500. These stopover deals are exclusive to Singapore Airlines customers and can be purchased by passengers stopping over in Singapore en-route to their final destination. For more information on the Singapore Stopover Holiday programmes, click

So, the next time your work takes you across the world, why not travel with the world’s best airline?

Relocating to Asia? – Why the property market is quite exciting

Finding the right place to live is one of the most important decisions you have to make in life and can impact on a healthy work-life balance. Nowhere is it more important than fast-paced, vibrant locations such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where working hard is the norm but having a place to call home, in a location that suits your living needs is paramount if you’re going to find that healthy balance.

The property market in Asia is an exciting one and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. It has been documented as one of the top five cities in Asia to buy property and arguably described as having the most open and competitively priced market in Southeast Asia.

With a stable property market, Malaysia stands alone as the country in Southeast Asia where non-locals can own 100% of the property in their own name and even get a long-term residence status through property ownership. This opens the door to a viable and secure future in Kuala Lumpur and although there are certain restrictions on foreign ownership, it still leaves a variety of property and locations to choose from.

Move to Kuala Lumpur and you will be living in Malaysia’s most expensive housing, spread throughout eclectic districts that have a variety of living options.

Top of the list of most popular areas to live in Kl is KLCC, unsurprisingly commanding a high price tag for purchases and rentals.

But you will be buying into that city centre lifestyle. Ensuring easy access to the office but also within walking distance to world-class shopping centres and restaurants, and the Golden triangle entertainment district which all help in maintaining that vital work-life balance.

Spacious condominiums and apartments with building facilities of fitness centres and swimming pools are popular here. You’ll find a mix of singles, couples and families from around the world enjoying this lifestyle connected to the heart of the city.

Damansara Heights (Bukit Damansara) is also known to locals as Kuala Lumpur’s Beverly Hills district and there’s no need to explain why when you see the quality of accommodation on offer in one of the most affluent parts of the city.

It’s a leafy neighbourhood but a convenient 15 minutes away from KLCC. Made up of mostly gated communities of bungalows, small houses and scatterings of low rise apartments all within close proximity to schools, makes this a perfect location for families too.

If you are looking for an established but less modern neighbourhood of long-term residents that include ex-pats, then Bangsar is the place for you to nest. Young singles and couples who have a desire to experience community in Kuala Lumpur tend to gravitate here, but the lack of international schools and day-care centres makes Bangsar a little less practical for families.

Bungalows and condos built in peaceful settings are close to the buzz of affordable bars, restaurants and shopping centres.

Desa Sri Hartamas has a get-away-from-it-all feel even though its great road links give quick access to KLCC. It underwent a major, but sympathetic renovation in the 1990s. Low-rise condos and townhouses with lots of green spaces give this district a homely and secure feel with good access to amenities such as childcare facilities, high-end spa facilities and the country club.

Another popular, upmarket area to live in KL is Mont Kiara. There is a wide range of accommodation on offer here from deluxe bungalows, small houses, high- rise apartments and high-end accommodation to suit any lifestyle. This suburban district has everything you will need or want for yourself and your family. But public transport links aren’t as extensive here so a car might need to be considered.

If money isn’t an issue and you are looking for a haven to establish a perfect work-life balance, then look at what Bukit Tunku has to offer. It’s the luxury end of the market outside of KLCC. The affluent lifestyle afforded by a big bank balance or a generous company housing allowance means exclusive condos surrounded by greenery and everything else that might entice you to work from home more often!

Singapore has a property market that is booming. It is the second most expensive housing market in the world, second only to Hong Kong and has revelled in enormous increases in real estate prices over the last few years, due to a high level of development around the city-state. But the market for foreign investors is regulated by the Government who controls prices, allocation and permits in order to prevent speculative buying and selling.

Nevertheless, there’s a huge amount of foreign investment. Property offers a relatively stable and safe investment opportunity compared to some other Asian countries because of a number of factors that include its strong strategic position, neutral stance, low crime and high standards of living.

Singapore is a small island with strong public transport links throughout. This means that you can’t go wrong finding a location to call home. It comes down to what type of property suits your lifestyle and property type here produces a beautiful patchwork of eclectic housing across its landscape, giving you a great deal of choice.

Condominiums and apartments are the most widespread property type in Singapore and a popular choice for those looking to move to the island.  They are usually leased partially furnished with larger items of furniture and appliances included, making it a practical option. Finding the right place to live to establish that perfect work-life balance isn’t hard when you are presented with condos and apartments in complexes that usually have 24-hour security and swimming pools, and many even have tennis courts, squash courts, gyms, saunas, children’s playgrounds and BBQ areas.

Bungalows are independent residence that can be one or multi-storied. There’s no one particular style as they are influenced by colonial, Balinese and modern living. You’ll find a hefty price tag for a bungalow with land and a swimming pool in Singapore’s land-scarce climate.

A particular type of bungalow is the Black & White Houses, tracing back to the Tudor-style house introduced by the English officers in colonial times. Mostly leased out by the Singapore Government now, a few are privately owned and can be seen commanding an impressive foothold in the Singapore landscape.

Quintessentially Singapore-styled detached, semi-Detached and terraced houses are scattered throughout Singapore in rows or as cluster houses. These are arranged as the name suggests, around focal points such as courtyards or swimming pools. They are a popular property type for families wanting that community feel and outside space for their children to play.

And then there are the shophouses or Peranakan Townhouses that colour the landscape throughout Singapore but particularly found in the city centre, Chinatown and Little India. They are again a remnant of British colonialism from the early 20th Century. These two or three-story buildings have been renovated to produce lovely private housing, and businesses such as restaurants, boutiques and hotels

So, there’s undoubtedly a lot of choice in the Asian property market and Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are prime examples of that. It’s good to remember that ‘home is where the heart is’ and heart can certainly be found in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.