Three Covid-19 experts in Singapore knighted by French government

SINGAPORE – Three Covid-19 experts in Singapore had been knighted by France on Tuesday (April 26) in recognition of their excellent contributions in well being and science, particularly in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, which helped to strengthen ties between the 2 international locations.

Singapore’s chief well being scientist, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, and National Centre for Infectious Diseases government director Leo Yee Sin had been conferred the title of Knight of the French Order of the Legion of Honour, an award based in 1802.

Professor Laurent Rénia, director of the Respiratory and Infectious Diseases Programme on the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University and senior fellow on the A*Star Infectious Diseases Labs, was conferred the title of Knight of the French National Order of Merit.

They had been bestowed the awards by France’s Ambassador to Singapore Marc Abensour on the French Embassy in Cluny Park Road.

The Legion of Honour is France’s highest award for excellent service made by civilians or army personnel to the nation, no matter their citizenship, whereas the National Order of Merit, created in 1963, is the second nationwide order after the Legion of Honor.

Both orders encompass three ranks: Chevalier (Knight), Officiers (Officer) and Commandeur (Commander).

Prof Tan advised The Straits Times that the award acknowledges the groups of individuals working behind the scenes on the analysis and growth that has been actually helpful for Singapore’s response to the pandemic.

It additionally displays the worldwide nature of analysis innovation and the significance of casual networks that helped to offer the world with the scientific insights and instruments wanted to manage the pandemic, he mentioned.

Prof Tan, who can be government director of the Ministry of Health’s Office for Healthcare Transformation, mentioned these connections had been constructed on many years of prior funding in fundamental analysis and intensive collaboration between scientists throughout many disciplines and international locations.

“We have colleagues in many parts of the world with whom we can talk at the science level and at the policy level, just exchanging information, understanding how the situation is over there. Those insights are very valuable and usually shared before they are publicly known.”

Professor Leo, too, shared the view, saying the world has turn out to be smaller and there’s a should be very effectively related to each a part of the world.

Prof Renia, who’s French, mentioned he had been working with Prof Leo for greater than a decade, “and so when Covid-19 arrived, it was natural that the collaboration continued”.

At the ceremony, Mr Abensour mentioned Prof Tan collaborated with France on many bilateral exchanges and data sharing classes relating to pandemic administration, to the mutual advantage of each international locations.

“Your openness to Franco-Singaporean collaborations, leadership and mentorship abilities have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on France-Singapore partnerships,” he mentioned.

Prof Leo performed an important function because the chairperson for the Singapore aspect, in the France-Singapore scientific working group on infectious illnesses that was arrange in July 2020, added Mr Abensour.

Of the work group’s contributions, he mentioned: “This has opened up multiple channels of cooperation in these priority areas between Singapore and France, not only at our respective national levels, but also on the international stage.”

He mentioned Prof Rénia distinguished himself on quite a few events as a reference for the Singaporean authorities, in addition to the high-quality scientific analysis he carried out in France.

As a key member of the Scientific Committee created by the French Embassy at first of the pandemic, he contributed enormously to informing and reassuring the French group in Singapore on the evolution of the pandemic.

Addressing Prof Rénia, Mr Abensour mentioned: “After 15 years working on infectious diseases and immunology research being based in Singapore, you are indeed one of the pillars of the bilateral cooperation between France and Singapore in this field.”

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