The Impact of COVID-19 on Singapore: Lessons Learnt



6.50pm:      Log in to Webinar

7.00pm:      Dr Margaret Tan, Director of Programmes at Tembusu College, will introduce the Tembusu Forum

7.05pm:      Professor Tommy Koh, Rector of Tembusu College, will introduce the topic and speakers

7.15pm:      Associate Professor Jeremy Lim

7.30pm:      Mr Vikram Khanna

7.45pm:      Dr Ng Kok Hoe

8.00pm:      Question & Answer session with students

8.50pm:      Concluding remarks by speakers and Chair

9.00pm:      End of forum



Mr Vikram Khanna is Associate Editor and economics columnist at The Straits Times, the flagship media property of Singapore Press Holdings, where he has worked since 1993. Prior to joining SPH, he served with the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, for seven years. Vikram has B.A., M.A. and M.Phil degrees in economics from the University of Cambridge, UK. He is the author of the book Headwinds and Hazards: Economic Snapshots in an Age of Populism. He is a Vice-President of the Economic Society of Singapore.

For this forum, Mr Khanna will be presenting on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and Singapore, as well as the government responses to the pandemic and their effects.


Associate Professor Jeremy Lim is the Director of the Leadership Institute for Global Health Transformation (LIGHT) at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, where he works to enhance cooperation, capacity building and knowledge sharing across the region. He is also the Co-founder and CEO of AMiLi, the first dedicated gut microbiome full service company in Southeast Asia.

Trained in surgery and public health, Associate Professor Lim attained various post-graduate qualifications including membership in the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh), Masters of Medicine (NUS) and Masters of Public Health (Johns Hopkins, as a Fulbright scholarship awardee). He was an inaugural fellow of the Asia Society A21 young leaders programme in 2006.

Associate Professor Lim has a special interest in ways that technology can increase health equity and access to care. He advises a number of health technology companies and programmes in the region and globally. He also serves on the boards of/advises various charities and social enterprises, including HealthServe, Dover Park Hospice and SNTC. Assocaite Professor Lim has worked in executive roles in both public and private sectors, including time spent as a senior official in the Ministry of Health, Singapore, and was, prior to AMiLi, founding partner of global consultancy Oliver Wyman’s Asia health and life sciences practice (2013).

For this forum, Associate Professor Lim will speak on the social disruptions brought about by COVID-19 control measures and the consequent effects on health and, in particular, mental health.


Dr Ng Kok Hoe is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Case Study Unit at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where he also leads the Social Inclusion Project, a research programme dedicated to analysing how public policies shape opportunities for participation. He received his PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he was a UK Commonwealth Scholar and won the Titmuss Prize. Since leaving the Singapore civil service, he has consulted for the government and NGOs on social policies and social services. His research is concerned with income security, minimum income standards, housing policy and homelessness. He led the first nationwide street count of homelessness in Singapore in 2019, and is co-editor of the book They Told Us to Move: Dakota—Cassia (Ethos Books, 2019), which examines the impact of housing relocation on a social housing community.

For the forum, Dr Ng will discuss how COVID-19 has shed light on the meeting of basic needs, economic vulnerability and housing insecurity in Singapore.

A writeup by NUS News on the Forum can be found here.


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.