SINGAPORE: A scheduled visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Australia will be replaced by video conference in view of Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Monday (Mar 16).

Mr Lee was originally scheduled to visit Canberra on Mar 23 but discussions will now take place remotely, in light of Australia’s new travel restrictions on visitors.

Australia on Sunday announced that anyone arriving into the country will face mandatory 14-day self-isolation, in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

READ: Australia to isolate all international arrivals to tackle COVID-19

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison telephoned Prime Minister Lee over the weekend to discuss the visit in view of Australia’s travel restrictions on in-bound visitors,” said MFA in a statement.  

“They agreed that discussions will be done via video conference instead, and to proceed with the planned signings of important bilateral agreements.

“This demonstrates the conviction of both sides that it is important to continue with the business of government, and maintain the good momentum of the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, even as we each deal with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Australia has recorded nearly 300 COVID-19 cases and authorities are worried about a rapid rise in the disease. 

A total of 226 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Singapore as of Sunday.

READ: 14 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore, including 9 imported cases: MOH

Globally, more than 160,000 people have contracted COVID-19, and more than 6,000 people have died.

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