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Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble postponed (again)

Travel Bubbles are always a great concept in theory but they can be a hit or miss. With the help of a travel bubble, people can travel quarantine-free between two areas that are ‘low-risk’ for COVID-19. However, travel bubble between Singapore and HongKong is a different story altogether.

Postponed again

Originally, the quarantine-free travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong was scheduled to launch in November 2020. But due to sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, the bubble was put on hold.

After some months, Singapore and Hong Kong announced that a travel bubble would begin between the two countries starting 26th May 2021. Cathay Pacific had even put the flights on sale as part of it.

Both the countries had agreed that the travel bubble would be suspended if there were a rolling seven day average of more than five untraced cases in either place.

Well, Singapore is now up to a rolling seven day average of six untraced cases per day, meaning that the bubble is now suspended. Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said:

Both sides remain strongly committed to launching the ATB (Air Travel Bubble) safely. However, in light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB. Both sides, therefore, agreed to defer the launch of the ATB to protect the health of travelers and the public in these two places.

A statement on info.gov.hk said:

The two governments will continue to closely monitor the epidemic situation in both places, including the effectiveness of the enhanced anti-epidemic measures introduced by the Singapore Government, which have taken effect from yesterday (May 16) and would last till June 13. During this period, both sides will continue to maintain communication, exchange relevant data and statistics, and review developments closely before deciding on the way forward with the inaugural flights under the ATB. A further announcement will be made on or before June 13.

Cathay Pacific was due to start flights as part of the travel bubble from 26th May 2021, but has posted the following on the website:

In view of the recent Covid-19 epidemic situation in Singapore, the governments of Hong Kong and Singapore have decided to postpone the launch of the Air Travel Bubble. A further announcement is expected to be made on or before June 13. Please refer to the Hong Kong Tourism Commission website for the latest updates.

Singapore tightens restrictions

The new measures that are introduced by the Singapore government to combat the spread of the virus include:

  • People will be allowed out in groups of only two
  • Households will not be allowed to receive more than two visitors per day
  • Individuals should cap their social gatherings at two a day
  • Bars and restaurants can offer only takeaway and delivery
  • Working from home will be mandatory when it is possible to do so
  • Schools will be closed and moved online

Restrictions even with a Travel Bubble

Although travellers will not need to quarantine under the travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong, they would have to take a RT-PCR test before the flight and then again after landing. This is applicable travelling in either direction. For Hong Kong residents to travel, the Hong Kong government requires its citizens and residents to be fully vaccinated.

The main concern at the moment appears to be the Indian B.1.617 strain of the coronavirus that experts believe is a more transmissible variant of COVID-19.

Travel bubbles between Australia and New Zealand & New Zealand and Cook Islands have been successful. We will come to know about the fate of Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble once the committee reviews the situation on 13th June 2021.

What do you think of the travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong? Let me know in the comments section below.

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