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Covid-19: Team SJ still going strong in China and Hong Kong

Surbana Jurong North Asia colleagues are working from home as a precautionary measure during the Covid-19 outbreak. They can still buy meals online (below). The streets of some major cities have turned eerily empty as the Chinese government has strongly encouraged residents to stay at home. (Photos by North Asia colleagues)

Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China, Surbana Jurong North Asia colleagues have been working from home since Chinese New Year’s Eve on 24 January.

According to The Straits Times on 16 Feb, over 1,600  people have died mainly in China and global concern is high. The World Health Organisation considers the virus, officially called Covid-19, a global threat.

Surbana Jurong has 157 colleagues in the North Asia team based in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu and Hong Kong. Surbana Jurong does not have an office in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and no employees have visited Wuhan in recent weeks. There are also no projects in Wuhan. Colleagues are expected to return to their respective offices on 2 March.

Meanwhile our colleagues continue to work on projects and hold conference calls with one another, stakeholders and clients from home. The North Asia management team has also assembled the SJ North Asia Pandemic Recovery Plan, to protect staff from the impact of a pandemic illness, ensure information system uptime, data integrity and availability and overall business resilience.

It includes process-level plans for addressing people issues and maintaining the firm’s ability to provide business as usual. Surbana Jurong International CEO Teo Eng Cheong has also been sharing updates on the SJ North Asia WeChat group, to address any questions staff may have.

Surbana Jurong North Asia CEO Michael Ng said: “Keeping our colleagues safe and well is our first priority. At the same time, we remain dedicated to our clients and continue working with them to address their concerns and progress our projects.”

“We have colleagues facing city-level lockdowns, trapped in the middle of nowhere trying to find transport or access back to the city, getting quarantined in their own homes due to infections in their residential cluster, or simply trying to go about their daily lives by overcoming challenges in food and medical supplies,” he added. “In spite of all these, our business is still ongoing and our teams are submitting reports and designs on-time to our customers remotely.”

“In Shanghai – a metropolis of 24-million-population – the streets were empty during Chinese New Year,” Ms Eileen Chen, Marketing Manager, North Asia, said of her home city. “People are only out to buy food before rushing back to cook. If we order food online, it’s dropped off at the entrance of the housing complex, so as to minimise interactions between people.” There are temperature checks in public places as well as at entrances to every housing complex. Volunteers also constantly check if residents are staying at home and people avoid going out.

Of his colleagues in North Asia, Mr Ng said: “I am truly amazed at their resilience, dedication and professionalism. We will continue to monitor the outbreak and respond to the situation dynamically, putting first the well-being of our colleagues. Kudos to all of them!”


In Singapore, the government has raised the DORSCON level from Yellow to Orange and all Surbana Jurong HQ staff are taking precautionary measures. Temperature checks, travel declarations by visitors and a plan to allow employees to work from home have been implemented to minimise risks and ensure business continuity.

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