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Delayed Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble to restart May 26

Hong Kong and Singapore will launch a long-delayed travel bubble on May 26, both governments announced Monday.

Under the agreement between the two financial hubs, people will be allowed to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong quarantine-free by flying on designated flights from May 26. There will be one daily flight in either direction carrying 200 passengers.

Prior to departure, travelers must have remained in Singapore or Hong Kong in the last two weeks, excluding time spent in quarantine. They will also need to test negative for coronavirus 72 hours before flying and be screened again upon arrival. Passengers from both sides will need to download their host city’s contact-tracing mobile app and keep it activated throughout their trips.

Travelers from Hong Kong will need to have received their second coronavirus vaccine jab 14 days before flying, but there is no such requirement for those coming from Singapore.

Both cities agreed that the travel bubble scheme would be suspended for two weeks if the daily average of untraceable coronavirus cases exceeds five in either city.

Speaking at a media briefing Monday morning, Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Secretary, said the plan’s launch depends on the pandemic’s situation in the coming four weeks.

“An important precondition for relaunching the travel bubble is that a balance between public health and convenience for travelers can be struck,” he said.

The announcement came more than five months after Hong Kong and Singapore launched the travel bubble on Nov. 11, only to suspend it for two weeks after 10 days due to a surge in cases in Hong Kong. The plan was delayed indefinitely on Dec. 1.

At a separate press conference, Singapore’s Transport Minister Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Monday that the Singapore-Hong Kong arrangement, if successful, “will have significant signaling effect to the rest of the world.”

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have largely brought the Covid-19 situation under control, although new cases have recently emerged in both places. More than a week ago, Hong Kong reported discovery a highly infectious coronavirus variant. In Singapore, a probe was launched into possible reinfection cases at a migrant worker dormitory. EFE


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