Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble

Andrew Cummings
November 22, 2020

Hong Kong has banned Air India flights from Delhi till December 3 after a few passengers on its flight tested positive for the novel coronavirus post-arrival earlier this week, an official said on Friday.

The launch of the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble will be deferred for two weeks, and the new launch date will be announced later, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said yesterday.

The bubble, which was originally slated to start Sunday, would allow a limited number of air travelers to avoid quarantine.

Both cities now require most travelers to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

"For any scheme to be successful, they must fulfill the condition of securing public health, and also make sure that both sides would be comfortable and feel safe about the scheme", Yau said. All global passengers are required to undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the airport, according to rules issued by the city state's government in July.

Prior to the postponement, Singapore said Saturday morning that travellers arriving from Hong Kong via the bubble would be required to take a coronavirus test on arrival.

As per the norms, only those travellers are allowed to land in Hong Kong who have a negative Coronavirus certificate from a test performed within 72 hours before the scheduled trip. "But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint", Ong wrote.

Retired banking professional Tan Lay Hoon, 53, who was supposed to take the first bubble flight from Singapore to see her husband who is based in Hong Kong now regrets booking it.

The Hong Kong health authorities yesterday reported 43 Covid-19 cases, 13 of which were unlinked. "But there's a high chance if Hong Kong continues to have tens of cases with a fair number of unlinked cases, it may be suspended", the channel quoted Mr. Ong as saying.

"The scale of the increase is very alarming", said Doctor Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch at Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection.

In total, Hong Kong has confirmed more than 5,500 cases of the coronavirus according to Johns Hopkins University. "But in the light of the recent upsurge of local cases, we have decided together with Singapore government that we would defer the launching of the Air Travel bubble by two weeks".

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