Edwin Tong self-isolating after his Covid-19 swabber tested positive for Covid-19

He was speaking at the Patron of the Arts Awards 2021.

Jane Zhang | September 17, 2021, 05:30 PM

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Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong is currently self-isolating after the healthcare professional who swabbed him for Covid-19 tested positive himself.

Tong revealed this information during his opening speech at the National Arts Council's (NAC) Patron of the Arts Awards 2021 on Friday (Sep. 17).

Self-isolating after contact with Covid-19 case

Speaking virtually as the guest-of-honour, Tong apologised for his inability to attend the event in-person:

"Very sorry that I can't be with you in person."

He explained that the healthcare professional who had swabbed him in a series Covid-19 tests after Tong returned from Tokyo, Japan — where he had been to support Team Singapore's Paralympic athletes — had tested positive for Covid-19.

Tong said that he is now self-isolating.

"I'd been looking forward to being present at these awards, but really, such are the times that we're living in now; nothing can ever be fully predicted."

The Ministry of Health (MOH) had announced on Sep. 6 that individuals who may have come into contact with positive Covid-19 cases will be sent Health Risk Warnings (HRW) and Health Risk Alerts (HRA).

Those who receive HRWs must, by law, get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result from their first test.

They are also required to do Antigen Rapid Test (ART) tests thereafter, and another PCR test on the eighth day.

Importance of arts scene in Singapore

In his speech, Tong recognised the "rich vibrancy" of the arts scene in Singapore, and how far it has come over the past few decades.

He spoke of the successful establishment of "high quality" and "internationally regarded" cultural institutions, such as the Esplanade and National Gallery Singapore, as well as "highly-respected educational institutions" including School of the Arts (SOTA), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), LASALLE College of the Arts, and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

"In my mind, there is no doubt that local arts and culture are essential to our society, essential to nation-building and will continue to be so, probably increasingly so."

Arts in Singapore are at an important inflection point, he said. The arts scene had been on a "healthy and positive trajectory" when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which "battered and railroaded the arts sector all over the world".

Tong recognised the importance of the National Arts Council (NAC) as a strong advocate for the arts community, and also expressed his gratitude to private sector patrons and supporters for their "unstinting commitment to the arts in Singapore".

He laid out future steps to set the course for the arts landscape in Singapore, including the launch of the showcase on Singapore's Cultural Medallion recipients at The Arts House later this year and NAC's partnership with the Singapore Land Authority to start a project next year to set up pilot arts sandboxes in Kampong Java.

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Top photo via YouTube / National Arts Council and Mufid Majnun on Unsplash.

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