Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is at Davos attending the World Economic Forum (WEF), but has been closing tracking the country's preparations against the new coronavirus from Wuhan.
"We have just had our first cases in Singapore. This was to be expected, given the high volume of international travel here," he said in his Chinese New Year 2020 message.
PM Lee stressed that Singapore is well prepared, having been "gearing up for such a situation ever since we dealt with SARS in 2003".
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has activated plans to counter the spread of the virus, which so far does not appear to be as deadly as SARs was, he added. "Singaporeans should be calm but watchful as we implement measures to keep everybody safe and healthy."
In his statement, PM Lee said he will miss my usual New Year’s Eve reunion dinner at home in Singapore, but one of the highlights of his trip is the chance to celebrate Chinese New Year with the Singaporean community in Zurich.
"I look forward to seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar accents, thousands of miles away from home. No matter where in the world we may be, there is something special and heart-warming that bonds Singaporeans together, and a special place in our hearts for Singapore," he said.
Adding that "strong families make for a strong nation", PM Lee highlighted the role of a family in society, and various recent initiatives that aim to support young families. These include increasing preschool subsidies, promoting flexible work arrangements to support parents and caregivers, and introducing full subject-based banding in secondary schools to reduce stress on students and parents.
The moves have been put in place, in the hopes of encouraging more young couples to start new families, or add to their growing families. "Choosing a life partner or having a child is a deeply personal decision. But from my own experience, there is no greater joy than hearing the laughter of our children and grandchildren, especially on festive occasions like Chinese New Year," the Prime Minister said.