Published: Sun, November 22, 2020

Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble postponed

Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble postponed

Edward Yau, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development, announced the two-week delay during a press conference on Saturday.

An arrangement to allow air travelers between Hong Kong and Singapore to forgo quarantine has been delayed after Hong Kong reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

Under the arrangement, people would be allowed to travel between the two cities without observing quarantine but must take a Covid-19 test before departure and upon arrival.

"For any scheme to be successful, they must fulfill the condition of securing public health, and also make sure that both sides would be comfortable and feel safe about the scheme", Yau said. All global passengers are required to undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the airport, according to rules issued by the city state's government in July. "In light of the situation in Hong Kong, I think it's the responsible way to put this back for a while, and then sort of relaunch it at a suitable juncture".

In a statement to PTI, an Air India spokesperson said the airline had been barred from operating any flights between Delhi and Hong Kong between November 20 and December 3. "But there's a high chance if Hong Kong continues to have tens of cases with a fair number of unlinked cases, it may be suspended", the channel quoted Mr. Ong as saying. In recent days, however, the city has seen a spike in new infections. Singapore has reported 58,148 cases, but only 28 fatalities.

Although the average of five had not been reached in Hong Kong, the bubble was suspended after Yau and Singapore's transport minister, Ong Ye Kung, held discussions on Saturday.

"A few passengers on a Delhi-Hong Kong flight of Air India earlier this week tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival", the government official said.

Reportedly, this is the fifth time that the Hong Kong government has banned Air India flights from India for landing with passengers who were already symptomatic after being screening by the authorities. "But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint", he wrote.

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