Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said today that an economic recession could be a possibility as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Singapore's economy has already exceeded that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) back in 2003.
Speaking during a visit to Changi Airport Terminal 3 today, PM Lee said that the impact will be significant as the country battles a "very intense outbreak" of COVID-19.
"It's already much more than SARS, and the economies of the region are much more interlinked together. China, particularly, is a much bigger factor in the region," he said.
"I can't say whether we will have a recession or not. It's possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit" he added.
The SARS outbreak in 2003 lasted from March until July that year before it was eradicated in Singapore.
"That was, I think, very fast. I expect it not to be so fast this time," PM Lee said.
Singapore has 58 cases of the coronavirus disease as of February 13 and is currently under DORSCON Orange alert level.
The virus christened COVID-19 by WHO was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.