Hong Kong-Singapore ‘travel bubble’ postponed

(CNN) – The much-awaited Hong Kong and Singapore “air travel bubble” was postponed on Saturday – less than 24 hours before the launch.
The bubble would have allowed quarantine-free, air travel between the two Asian hubs. But a spike in Hong Kong’s coronovirus infection at a press conference on Saturday meant Edward Yau for Commerce and Economic Development said the arrangement would be postponed for two weeks.

Hong Kong reported 43 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest daily spike in three months. Of those, 36 were dispatched locally – including 13 that are inaccessible.

The purpose of the quarantine-free corridor was to promote tourism and business travel between the two Asian centers, with large scale outbreaks of their coronaviruses. Hong Kong has recorded 5,561 Kovid-19 cases, including 108 deaths since its outbreak, while there have been 58,000 infections and 28 deaths in Singapore.

Quarantine-free travel would have been a big thing for both destinations, where strict arrival rules have been in place for months. When the coronovirus epidemic hit, both governments closed the borders and denied entry to most non-residents and short-term visitors. In Hong Kong, returning residents undergo a 14-day quarantine and wear an electronic bracelet to track their location.

How was the bubble to work

The bubble was set to start Sunday with one flight a day in each city, a quota of 200 passengers per flight – and later increased to two flights a day.

Passengers must meet certain criteria before they are ready, such as no travel was made in the last 14 days, and undergo mandatory Kovid-19 testing. But they will not be subject to any quarantine or stay-home notice requirements upon arrival, or a controlled itinerary.

However, this arrangement always included the claim that if the situation deteriorated in one of the cities of Kovid-19, the plan would be suspended.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced early on Saturday morning that the travel bubble with Hong Kong would be launched as scheduled. But later that day, the city’s state transport minister, Ong Ye Kung, announced that a change had been made to the plan.

“Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yau and I discussed further this afternoon, and decided it would be better to postpone the launch of ATB for two weeks. We will review the new launch date within two weeks. Then Update from, ”said ONG.

Hong Kong has seen a rapid rise in coronovirus infections in the last few days, following fewer consecutive cases in the week.

The city’s Center for Health Protection urged the public to “vigorously” avoid all non-essential travel outside of Hong Kong, and called on residents to avoid going out, dining, and making social contact.

“The scale of growth is very worrying,” said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Diseases Branch at Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection.

She warned that this new increase in cases would be “very difficult to control.”

Jesse Yeung of CNN contributed to this article.


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