Hong Kong, Singapore announce plans for travel bubble

Hong Kong/Singapore  |  Thu, October 15, 2020  | 08:32 pm

Hong Kong and Singapore will set up a travel bubble, the two cities announced on Thursday, as they moved to re-establish overseas travel links and lift the hurdle of quarantine for visiting foreigners.

Commerce Secretary Edward Yau of Hong Kong and Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung of Singapore said travelers under the scheme would need to get negative test results for COVID-19 and fly on dedicated flights.

In the coming weeks, more information, including the launch date, will be fleshed out, they 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,” Singapore’s Ong said.

For Hong Kong, which has barred non-residents since March, its first re-establishment of travel links with another city is the Singapore contract. Mainland China and neighboring Macau travelers also face 14 days in quarantine.

Singapore has already announced important business and official travel agreements from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and unilaterally opened its doors to general tourists from Brunei, New Zealand, Vietnam and most of Australia.

Singapore eased the quarantine this week to just seven days for Hong Kong passengers, from 14 earlier. It has put the city on its list of low-risk areas.

Due to border closures, international travel in Asia has plummeted during the pandemic, with passenger numbers down 97 percent in August, says the Asia Pacific Airlines Group.

In the afternoon trade, shares in Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific increased by more than 7 percent following the report.

After August, Hong Kong’s daily coronavirus infections have fallen mostly into single digits and some social distancing curbs have eased. Similarly, Singapore has seen its daily cases decline below 10.

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