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WORLD NEWS | How Singapore is staying ahead of other cities during the COVID-19 pandemic


Singapore Merlion Park

Author: Li Jiahui

SINGAPORE, 3 July (ANI): For many cities, the COVID-19 pandemic is now a thing of the past. There are still some outbreaks, and with them worry and apprehension, but overall, people are less afraid of the virus than they were two years ago.

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How countries and cities emerge from this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime healthcare crisis varies and depends largely on how their national and local governments and officials respond. Those with better resources, and those with the strategic foresight and planning for a post-COVID-19 world, came out stronger and ahead of their competitors.

The Economist has released an index that ranks cities based on their economic performance over the past three years to identify those thriving in the current “turbulent geopolitical era”. The ranking puts Singapore in second place, behind Miami in the US and ahead of Dubai.

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The well-respected British publication compiled a list of ten cities based on changes in four criteria over the past three years: population, economic growth, office vacancies and housing, with a view on how they are responding to the global pandemic and geopolitical uncertainty The double challenge of sexuality was compared. price. Each city is ranked according to its performance on each indicator to arrive at an overall score.

The other cities in the study, according to the ranking, are New York in fourth place, followed by London, Tokyo, Sydney, Johannesburg, Paris and San Francisco.

According to The Economist, between 2019 and 2022, Miami’s population will decline by 1.6%, real GDP will grow by 10.6%, the office vacancy rate will rise slightly by 2.3%, and real house prices will soar by 39.5%.

Singapore’s population fell by 1.2%, real GDP grew by 6.9%, office vacancy rose slightly by 1.4%, and house prices rose by 10.9%.

Dubai’s population increased by 5.8%, but real GDP contracted by 1.9%, office vacancies fell by 3%, and house prices rose by 11.9%.

Singapore’s perennial rival financial hub Hong Kong, which has stricter COVID-19 policies and only allowed quarantine-free travel in late September last year (roughly six months after Singapore), fared worse on the above metrics. Hong Kong was not included in The Economist’s research coverage.

Between 2019 and 2022, Hong Kong’s GDP will drop by about 1% to US$359.8 billion, according to the World Bank. Its population fell about 2.3% from 7.5 million to about 7.33 million, according to Hong Kong government data. Many expatriates have left China’s special administrative region for cities such as Dubai and Singapore, where COVID-19 regulations are less stringent.

With fewer residents, it’s no surprise that office vacancies are rising and residential property prices are plunging.

According to a recent Savills report, Grade A office rents in Hong Kong have fallen by 7.6% for the full year of 2022 and are now 31.4% below their 2019 peak. The report added that “the vacancy rate also increased to 10.4% from 9.9% a year ago, with a net 6.6 million square feet of vacant space by the end of 2022.”

Residential property values ​​are also falling. Prices of residential property in Hong Kong have fallen to near five-year lows as expatriate workers have left the former British colony, exacerbated by rising interest rates. Industry analysts don’t think the trend will end anytime soon.

Although Singapore’s COVID-19 lockdown is stricter than Dubai and most Western countries, life is not bad compared to Hong Kong.

Singapore’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is widely viewed as effective. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore already had a strong healthcare system. When the pandemic broke out, the widespread and rapid deployment of screening centers and contact tracing in the early stages of the pandemic led to the containment of the virus. This bought time for a nationwide vaccination campaign that eventually brought the spread of the virus under control.

Singaporean health authorities are also closely monitoring vaccine development and were among the first countries in the world to order large quantities of mRNA vaccines.

Despite border closures and a slowdown in economic activity, Singapore is preparing for the day the world reopens by investing in digital technology, training and a future-proof economy. It also provides training grants to companies and incentivizes them to retain workers so they don’t have to lay off workers.

For example, Singapore Airlines was one of the first airlines in the region to restart a large-scale flight deployment, as it retained most of its fleet and staff. That allowed the airline to capitalize on pent-up travel demand, leading to record profits.

The Economist’s report says that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “cities around the world without excessive restrictions, such as Dubai and Miami, have benefited greatly.” In some cases, at the expense of competitors of.

In Miami’s case, it’s at the expense of San Francisco. San Francisco, which ranked 10th in the Economist report, saw its population drop by 8.3 percent, while office vacancies soared to nearly 20 percent. In Asia, Singapore and Dubai benefit but Hong Kong suffers. Staying neutral in this age of geopolitical tension also helps. (Arnie)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)


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