HK, Singapore agree on two-way COVID-19 travel bubble
Hong Kong announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with Singapore to open the flow of travelers between the two cities without subjecting them to quarantine.
A government statement said the pact was settled during an Oct. 14 video conference between Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau and Singaporean Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung.
Specific details of the pact as well as the launch date have yet to be disclosed, but Yau said he is confident the air travel bubble arrangement can come to fruition “very soon.”
“This is a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of COVID-19. Hong Kong and Singapore enjoy long-time close and cordial co-operation on many fronts,” said Yau as quoted in the statement.
Travelers under the pact will have no restrictions on their purpose of travel. But they will have to test negative for COVID-19.
Passenger itineraries will not be controlled, but they will be required to travel on dedicated flights. This means no transit passengers or travelers outside of the travel bubble arrangements will be allowed on these planes.
The travel bubble pact can be adjusted by scaling the number of flights up or down depending on each city’s COVID-19 situation.
Ong lauded Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s low incidence of COVID-19 cases, as well as each city’s mechanisms to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other,” Ong said. “It is a safe, careful but significant step forward to revive air travel, and provide a model for future collaboration with other parts of the world.”
Hong Kong has recorded 5,202 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 105 deaths linked to the disease, while Singapore has seen 57,889 cases and 28 deaths.