Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether he can provide an update on the planning and execution of the recent Singapore Tennis Open and what lessons have been learnt from organising a major sporting event under COVID-19 restrictions; and (b) whether more international or major sporting events can be expected to be held in Singapore in the near future.
Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law:
- Singapore hosted the Singapore Tennis Open at the Singapore Sports Hub over 20-28 February 2021. The event saw over 50 professional players from more than 15 countries, including Singapore, vying for the Singles and Doubles titles, supported by nearly 300 staff and volunteers. We also welcomed 500 local spectators for the event’s weekend finale.
- The safe and successful organisation of the event was the result of close coordination between ministries and key event partners such as the Sports Hub and the Singapore Tennis Association, that worked closely to ensure a well-planned, well-executed event, with the appropriate safe management measures (SMMs) in place.
- Beyond the mandatory pre-departure and on-arrival COVID tests, personnel arriving from overseas were required to undergo daily Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing and follow a controlled itinerary that kept them “bubbled” apart from the local community to minimise the risks of COVID transmission.
- Sport Singapore (SportSG) also ensured the safety of the local workforce supporting the event, including tournament staff, officials and volunteers, who were required to don personal protective equipment such as gowns, face-shields and gloves. As a precaution, these personnel were required to undergo daily Antigen Rapid Tests (ART). Spectators attending the matches were also required to undergo antigen testing before they were allowed into the tournament arena.
- Such measures, alongside our mask-on policy, safe distancing protocols, and adoption of Trace Together, contributed to ensuring a safe event experience for everyone.
- The successful conclusion of the Singapore Tennis Open event marks a significant step toward the resumption of international sporting events in Singapore. MCCY would like to express our appreciation to the event partners, as well as the Association of Tennis Professionals officials and players, whose understanding and cooperation with our health protocols contributed to the event’s success. Singaporeans can expect to see more of such events return to Singapore in the near future, where MCCY will continue to work closely with the health authorities to put in place appropriate SMMs to keep Singapore safe, as society progressively transitions to a new normal.