A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore from May 26 has been postponed for a second time, officials say, after a spike in cases in Singapore derailed the plan for quarantine-free travel between the financial hubs.
The proposed Hong Kong/Singapore travel bubble has been popped for the time being, as Singapore battles with a rise of COVID-19 cases.
The bubble was initially slated to begin in November last year but was called off after a rise in cases in Hong Kong.
Under the plan, travellers would have to test negative for COVID-19 before departure and on arrival to move freely between the cities.
But that plan now sounds like a dream that isn’t going to come true anytime soon, unfortunately.
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Hong Kong and Singapore have been largely successful in keeping the virus at bay over the past year with strict border controls and effective tracing of infections but new cases in Singapore this month have dashed hopes for the air travel bubble (ATB).
“In light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB,” Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement.
But both sides remained committed to launching the bubble safely, it said. The Hong Kong government said another announcement would come on or before June 13 – the day Singapore exists a four-week lockdown.
Hong Kong has seen its daily cases drop to low single digits while the government has relaxed some coronavirus rules for vaccinated people in a move to incentivise residents to get inoculated.
The travel bubble was due to start with one flight a day into each city, with up to 200 travellers on each flight.
Officials had said that if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local COVID-19 cases was more than five for either Singapore or Hong Kong, the scheme would be suspended.
For Hong Kong, which has banned non-residents from coming to the city since March last year, the deal with Singapore would have been its first travel link with another city.
Let’s hope the cases are under control very soon and we can look towards more travel bubbles and open borders in the not-so-distant future.
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