Hong Kong and Singapore Travel Bubble Delayed by COVID-19 Outbreak | Hong Kong


A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, which was originally scheduled to begin on Sunday, has been postponed amid a spike in infections in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.The air bubble, intended to boost tourism for the two cities, will be delayed for at least two weeks, Hong Kong Trade and Economic Development Minister Edward Yau said at a press conference on Saturday.

The arrangement aims to allow travelers between the two cities to enter without quarantine as long as they perform coronavirus tests before and after arriving at their destination and fly on designated flights.

Hong Kong reported 43 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, including 13 local infections not found.

“For any program to be successful, they must fulfill the condition of ensuring public health and also making sure that both parties would be comfortable and feel safe with the program,” Yau said.

“In light of the situation in Hong Kong, I think this is the responsible way to delay this for a while and then relaunch it at a convenient time.”

The plan will be reviewed in December, he added.

Under the original deal, the travel bubble was to be suspended if the number of local infections not found in Singapore or Hong Kong exceeded five on a seven-day moving average. The current average in Hong Kong is nearly four, prompting Yau and Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung to postpone the maiden flight.

Hong Kong’s top health official on Friday said the city had “probably entered” a new wave of cases. Recent clusters include taxi drivers, a dance studio, and hotels.

Hong Kong has confirmed a total of 5,561 cases, including 108 deaths. Singapore has reported 58,148 cases, but only 28 deaths.

Prior to the postponement, Singapore said on Saturday morning that travelers arriving from Hong Kong via the bubble would be required to take a coronavirus test on arrival. Originally, only people disembarking in Hong Kong had to be tested.

Ong said in a Facebook post that the postponement is a “sober reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still with us.”

“I fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travelers who have planned their trips. But we think it’s better to differ from a public health point of view, ”he wrote.


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