Three Covid-19 experts in Singapore honored by the French government

SINGAPORE – Three Covid-19 experts in Singapore were knighted by France on Tuesday 26 April, in recognition of their exceptional contributions in the field of health and science, in particular during the Covid-19 pandemic, which contributed strengthen ties between the two countries.

Singapore’s Chief Health Scientist, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, and National Center for Infectious Diseases Executive Director, Leo Yee Sin, were awarded the title of Chevalier of the French Order of the Legion of Honour, a distinction founded in 1802.

Professor Laurent Rénia, Director of the Respiratory and Infectious Diseases Program at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University and Principal Investigator at A*Star Infectious Diseases Labs, was awarded the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre national of French merit.

They were handed over by the French Ambassador to Singapore Marc Abensour at the French Embassy in Cluny Park Road.

The Legion of Honor is the highest French distinction rewarding the exceptional services rendered by civilians or soldiers to the country, whatever their nationality, while the National Order of Merit, created in 1963, is the second national order after the Legion of Honour.

Both orders consist of three ranks: Chevalier (Knight), Officers (Officer) and Commandeur (Commander).

Professor Tan told the Straits Times that the award recognizes teams of people working behind the scenes in research and development who have been truly helpful to Singapore’s response to the pandemic.

It also reflects the international nature of research innovation and the importance of informal networks that have helped provide the world with the scientific knowledge and tools needed to control the pandemic, he said.

Professor Tan, who is also executive director of the Office for Healthcare Transformation at the Department of Health, said these links build on decades of previous investment in basic research and extensive collaboration between scientists. many disciplines and countries.

“We have colleagues in many parts of the world that we can talk to on a scientific level and on a policy level, just exchange information, understand how the situation is there. That information is very valuable and usually shared before it happens. not be made public.”

Professor Leo also shared the view, saying that the world has become smaller and there is a need to be very well connected to all parts of the world.

Prof Renia, who is French, said he had worked with Prof Leo for over a decade, “and so when Covid-19 arrived it was natural that the collaboration would continue”.

During the ceremony, Mr. Abensour said that Professor Tan had collaborated with France in many bilateral exchanges and information-sharing sessions regarding the management of the pandemic, for the mutual benefit of both countries.

“Your openness to French-Singaporean collaborations, your leadership and mentoring abilities have a deep and lasting impact on France-Singapore partnerships,” he said.