See More on Facebook


CapitaLand, more Singapore companies suspend some businesses in China amid Wuhan virus spread

CapitaLand has closed all four of its malls in Wuhan, where the virus outbreak originated, and both of its malls in Xi’an, as required by the respective local authorities, it said on Wednesday morning (Jan 29).

Written by

Updated: January 29, 2020

Property giant CapitaLand and more Singapore-listed companies announced temporary closures of businesses in China as the coronavirus death toll and number of infections there continue to rise.

Its supermarkets in CapitaMall Westgate, Wuhan and CapitaMall Xindicheng, Xi’an remain open to ensure the supply of food and daily essentials to the local communities. The six CapitaLand malls in Wuhan and Xi’an will reopen when local conditions permit.

Meanwhile, the company’s remaining 45 malls across China – located in cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai – continue to operate with shorter hours. CapitaLand said it will continue to review its properties’ operating hours in line with local conditions and regulations.

CapitaLand also said that its wholly owned lodging unit The Ascott Ltd is proactively extending assistance to guests whose travel plans to China have been disrupted. This includes accommodating its guests if they need to stay longer and waiving cancellation fees for guests who have to change their travel plans.

All CapitaLand properties in China have adopted precautionary measures, in accordance with guidelines from the health authorities. These include conducting temperature checks at its properties and intensifying cleaning and disinfecting of common areas. CapitaLand will also conduct contact tracing and have designated premises at its properties for the isolation of those suspected to be infected with the virus.

CapitaLand, through its philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, has set up a 10 million yuan (S$1.96 million) healthcare fund to assist nationwide medical and healthcare related efforts in China’s fight against the outbreak.

The first phase of the fund will be disbursed for the procurement of medical supplies, protective gear and testing kits for hospitals in Wuhan.

In Singapore, CapitaLand said it has implemented precautionary measures in line with guidelines from the authorities. Besides stepping up cleaning efforts, hand sanitisers are available for tenants, shoppers and guests in the properties. There are also designated premises with predetermined routes within its properties for the isolation of those suspected to be infected with the virus. Security teams will escort any suspected cases to the ambulance pick-up point. CapitaLand said it would step up precautionary measures further where necessary.

At construction sites, CapitaLand will take measures in accordance with the advisory issued by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore. This includes advising main contractors, in particular, to adopt practices such as implementing a robust sickness surveillance process to identify and manage unwell employees as well as to maintain a site attendance record and visitors’ contact information for traceability.

Its employees here will defer all non-critical travel especially to China and affected countries with known or suspected cases of the virus. Staff who have just returned from China are advised to check their temperature twice a day for 14 days. During the 14-day monitoring period, they are advised to adopt flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and teleconferencing.

CapitaLand also stressed on Wednesday that it has in place business continuity plans (BCP) to enable the group to continue its critical activities and minimise impact to operations. It has set up a special task force to coordinate its response across its operations in China and in its other markets.

Mr Lee Chee Koon, group chief executive officer, said: “To date, the group’s business operations, including in China and Singapore, remain largely stable. Our priority is to focus on ensuring the well-being of our tenants, shoppers, guests and employees. We are all in this together during these trying times.”

Mr Manohar Khiatani, senior executive director of CapitaLand Group, who has been appointed as the group BCP commander, said its plans include working from alternate sites, working from home and the use of teleconferencing.

“Where necessary, operational personnel will be divided into primary and alternate teams. We will continue to monitor developments and the authorities’ directives, take the necessary steps to minimise impact to our operations and update our stakeholders in a timely manner,” he said.

A day earlier, three other Singapore-listed companies announced precautionary measures for their China operations.

On Tuesday evening, Straco Corporation said it has temporarily closed three attractions in China – Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Underwater World Xiamen and Lixing Cable Car – to help prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus.

The manager of Dasin Retail Trust, meanwhile, said the Reit’s five retail malls in China have shortened their business hours except for those outlets providing basic public services such as supermarkets and certain food and beverage services. Cinemas, KTVs, ice skating rinks, bookstores and other crowded places within the malls have been temporarily closed.

Earlier on Tuesday, the manager of Sasseur Real Estate Investment Trust (Sasseur Reit) said it had temporarily shuttered its four outlet malls in China.

Singapore-listed companies with direct ties with China have been hit hard since trading resumed on Tuesday after the long Lunar Year weekend.

Shares of CapitaLand, for example, fell 19 cents or 4.9 per cent to $3.70 on Tuesday before its announcement. On Wednesday, the stock edged down one cent or 0.3 per cent to $3.69 by the midday trading break.

Before its announcement, Straco Corp, which gets 73 per cent of its revenue from China, was the worst hit on Tuesday as its shares sank 6.5 cents or 10.6 per cent to 55 cents. By Wednesday noon, the counter was down 0.5 cent or 0.9 per cent to 54.5 cents.

Units of Dasin Retail Trust, meanwhile, slipped 0.5 cent or 0.6 per cent to 83 cents.

Sasseur Reit, whose units sank 10.3 per cent on Tuesday after its announcement, was trading up two cents or 2.6 per cent to 80.5 cents by midday on Wednesday.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


EDITORIAL: Mr Trump in India

US President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were able to convey a robust message to the west of the Radcliffe Line, thanks largely to their personal chemistry. The diplomatic irony has been rather exceptionally bitter. Donald Trump’s 36-hour visit to India was somewhat pushed out of focus by the communal flare-up that has overwhelmed parts of Delhi, with the death toll rising to 27 till Thursday afternoon. And yet the US President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were able to convey a robust message to the west of the Radcliffe Line, thanks largely to their personal chemistry. And unlike some previous US Presidents, Mr Trump chose not to follow up his visit to India with another to Pakistan… as often as not to sing a different piece. No, he hasn

By The Statesman
February 28, 2020


As Covid-19 spreads, public health officials consider plans for a worst-case scenario

 Department of Health Services has a Plan B for a few infections but its Plan C envisions shutting down all schools, public transport and gatherings in case of a mass outbreak. While Covid-19 coronavirus infections have significantly slowed in China, they are rapidly spreading around the globe, prompting countries to step up measures to control the spread and the UN 

By The Kathmandu Post
February 28, 2020


Vietnam reaffirms support for nuclear non-proliferation treaty

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, has reaffirmed Vietnam’s strong support for the realisation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on three pillars. During a session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the NPT, Ambassador Quy affirmed that Vietnam has joined all international efforts regarding non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, including regional and global conventions; complied with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s highest safety standards; and strictly followed the UNSC’s resolutions. He said any intentional, unintentional or miscalculated use of nuclear weapons seriously threatened global peace and

By Viet Nam News
February 28, 2020


Budget debate: Coronavirus concerns present long-term opportunities, say MPs

Many have little savings to see them though a work drought, she said, noting that a number of events and work assignments have been cancelled or deferred as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. While the coronavirus outbreak has battered businesses, it has also created opportunities to better prepare Singapore for future challenges, MPs said on Thursday (Feb 27). Speaking on Day 2 of the debate on the Budget statement, they said these include getting more firms to adopt e-commerce, diversifying supply sources and making flexible work arrangements permanent for working parents and caregivers. A total of 54 MPs, including political office holders, spoke over two days on various aspects of the Budget. USING TODAY’S CRISIS TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTU

By The Straits Times
February 28, 2020


Coronavirus: 2 new cases confirmed; 4 more, including private hospital doctor, discharged

 Two patients from the Grace Assembly of God cluster, cases 49 and 73, were also discharged.  Two new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) were confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Feb 26) and four others have recovered and were discharged. This brings the total number of cases here to 93, of which 62 have fully recovered. Case 59, the private hospital doctor, was among the four discharged. The 61-year-old Singaporean was confirmed to have the virus on Feb 13 and had been warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. He is not linked to any of the five known clusters but is a non-medical contact of case 72, a 40-year-old man from China who holds a Singapore work pass. Case 56, a Banglad

By The Straits Times
February 27, 2020


Japan provides protective gear for use in battling coronavirus

 The government of Japan has given personal protective supplies to the Ministry of Health to help medical staff if they are required to care for people infected with the coronavirus. The items were handed over at the Ministry of Health on Tuesday by the Ambassador of Japan to Laos, Mr Takewaka Keizo, to Minister of Health Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong. The supplies comprised 4,680 isolation gowns, 6,100 gloves, 6,000 N95 masks, 13,200 surgical masks, 27 goggles, and 240 bottles of alcohol hand rub. Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong thanked the government of Japan for its assistance, saying “On behalf of Laos, we would like to express our appreciation to the government of Japan for its continuing support to our country.” The ministry has been st

By Vientiane Times
February 27, 2020