Singapore earmarks $19 billion for R&D, including new epidemic control programme

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas cruise ship docks at Marina Bay Cruise Center after a passenger tested positive for COVID-19 during a cruise to nowhere

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore plans to spend S$25 billion ($19 billion) on research and development projects over the next five years, including a new programme to help prepare the city-state for future disease outbreaks, it said on Friday.

The investments, equivalent to around 1% of GDP each year over the five years, top the $14 billion spent over the last five years and aim to support the city-state’s recovery from a deep pandemic-induced recession.

The other investment areas include technology, healthcare and climate change.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world a curveball, but it has also offered a model of how we can work together and leverage science and innovation to overcome our common challenges,” Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said announcing the plans.

The new epidemic preparedness programme will draw on Singapore’s COVID-19 experiences and expertise to deepen research capabilities in epidemic control, prevention and to enhance detection capabilities.

(Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Kim Coghill and Edwina Gibbs)

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