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RTA COVID-19 Resource Centre

The COVID-19 outbreak has been a jarring development across the world. As the threat continues to climb, the impact of the outbreak has been palpable. National borders have been restricted, entire industries have been affected, and businesses have found themselves having to change the way they work. This has heralded much uncertainty in the commercial world.

Our RTA COVID-19 Resource Centre gathers views from our lawyers across the region on some of the common issues and legal implications of this pandemic.

Going Through This With You

We appreciate the difficulty in keeping track of the rapidly evolving regulatory changes to deal with the COVID-19 situation. Rajah & Tann Asia is closely monitoring the situation and remains ready to assist.

Our COVID-19 Legal Team comprises lawyers across the region and practice areas dedicated to serve our clients on a timely basis in this uncertain time. Please feel free to get in touch with our COVID-19 Legal Team or your usual contact at Rajah & Tann Asia if you have any queries relating to legal and operational issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's New

SINGAPORE: COVID-19 and the Journey to Recovery - Exploring the Legal and Practical Issues in the Transport of Vaccines

In recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the unifying and defining experience of the international community. The global journey appears now to be entering smoother waters, with countries headed more confidently towards stabilisation and recovery. One of the key components of the recovery plans being adopted by most countries is a concerted drive to provide vaccinations for their citizens and residents. As such, it should be expected that vaccines will continue to be in high demand across the globe.

The distribution of vaccines remains a profound challenge in the continued fight against COVID-19. How are they being transported? What are the transport requirements of specific vaccines? What are the relevant regulatory and contractual issues that may arise in the transport of vaccines? These are the questions that are of particular relevance to members of the shipping and transport industry, against the backdrop of still fraught supply chains, globally. The transport of vaccines is further complicated by the fact that most vaccines must be stored at very low temperatures, require deft handling, and have limited shelf-life. This not only requires transporters and handlers to be well-versed in cold-chain logistics, it also calls for close cooperation and coordination between those involved at the different stages of the distribution journey.

In this article, we take a look at these issues, particularly from the perspective of the Southeast Asian region from which we have invited invaluable input from the Rajah & Tann Asia network member law practices. The article explores the following: 

  1. Transportation requirements for selected vaccines;
  2. Practical issues in the various stages of the transport of vaccines;
  3. International guidelines or standards governing the transport of vaccines; and
  4. Contractual issues which may arise in the transportation process.
Singapore | General | 12 April 2022
SINGAPORE: Forward, Together: Singapore Budget 2022

In light of Singapore's economy rebounding from the reverberations from the COVID-19 pandemic, Budget 2022 was unveiled by Singapore's Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong on 18 February 2022. With the theme "Charting Our New Way Forward Together", Mr Wong laid out a wide range of measures to tackle Singapore's immediate challenges, including:

• S$500 million Jobs and Business Support Package to provide targeted help for workers and businesses in segments of the economy that are facing slower recovery;

• S$560 million Household Support Package that helps Singaporean families to manage cost of living pressures by providing support for daily essentials;

• S$600 million set aside to strengthen local enterprises under the Productivity Solutions Grant; and

• S$200 million to improve digital capabilities in businesses and workforces, such as investing in future technologies like 6G.

There were also tax measures and changes announced which were categorised as follows:

• Maintaining the Competitiveness and Resilience of the Tax System

• Building a Fairer and More Resilient Tax System

• Enhancing Service Delivery • Increasing the Carbon Tax

In this Update, we discuss selected tax measures, changes, enhancements, extensions, and refinements.

Singapore | Support Measures | 21 February 2022
SINGAPORE: Further Extension of Relief Periods for Built Environment Sector under COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act

To address the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the Built Environment sector, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act ("Act") has provided certain legislative relief. Although the sector has made steps towards recovery, it has been noted that some firms are still facing challenges. The Government has thus announced the further extension of certain prescribed periods for legislative relief relating to the Built Environment sector. 

While the prescribed periods were due to end on 31 December 2021, the relief periods under Part 2 and Part 8B of the Act have been extended to 28 February 2022, and the relief period under Part 10A of the Act has been extended to 31 March 2022. In this Update, we summarise the scope of the extensions and the relief under the respective Parts of the Act.

Singapore | Building & Construction | 04 January 2022
SINGAPORE: Rental Waiver Framework for SMEs and Specified Non-Profit Organisations Affected During Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)

On 14 September 2021, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment No. 4) Bill ("Bill") that seeks to amend the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act") was passed in Parliament. The Act provides for, among other things, targeted and temporary reliefs for individuals and businesses that are unable to perform certain contracts due to the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.

Among other changes, the Bill amends the Act to provide a Rental Waiver Framework ("RWF") to support Small and Medium Enterprises ("SMEs") and specified non-profit organisations ("NPOs") affected by the tightened safe management measures during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). Eligible tenants of commercial properties may apply for waiver of rent and licence fees under their leases and licences in specified situations, for the period starting on 5 August 2021 and ending on 18 August 2021.

Under the RWF, landlords will be required to provide a rental waiver of two weeks of gross rent[1] to eligible SME and specified NPO tenant-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties. The RWF complements earlier support measures, one of which was the Rental Support Scheme ("RSS") that provides one month of rental support in total as cash for qualifying tenants in privately owned commercial properties. Together with the RSS cash payouts, these tenants will benefit from a total of about 1.5 months of rental support. The RWF is expected to start in October 2021.

In this Update, we outline the main aspects of the RWF which are pertinent to tenants, intermediary landlords (landlords who are not the property owners and sublet the property) and property owners.

Singapore | Real Estate | 24 September 2021
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 Relief Framework for Construction Firms Facing Higher Foreign Manpower Costs Comes into Operation

Part 10A of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act ("Part 10A") has come into operation on 6 August 2021, along with the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Part 10A Relief) Regulations 2021. Part 10A provides a framework for parties to construction contracts to apply for relief from their contractual counterparties if they are affected by an increase in cost for work permit holders as a result of a COVID-19 event, such as border control quotas set by the Government limiting the inflow of foreign workers.

In this Update, we recap the key features of the Part 10A framework and highlight the Part 10A Regulations.

Singapore | Building & Construction | 11 August 2021

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