S’pore-Hong Kong travel bubble was postponed again after rising Covid-19 cases in S’pore, Transport News & Top Stories
SINGAPORE – The air bubble (ATB) allowing travel without quarantine between Singapore and Hong Kong will be delayed again, after a spike in Covid-19 cases in Singapore.
The Ministry of Transportation (MOT) said on Monday May 17th that Transport Minister S. Iswaran had a meeting Monday morning with Hong Kong Trade and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau on the issue.
“Both sides remain firmly committed to launching ATB safely,” MOT said. “However, in light of the recent increase in unrelated community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB.”
The two sides therefore agreed to postpone the launch of ATB to protect the health of travelers and the public in these two locations, MOT added.
He said the two cities would monitor the public health situation and review the new launch date for ATB flights towards the end of phase two (heightened alert) of Singapore’s reopening.
Both cities had said the air transport bubble would be suspended when the seven-day moving average of community cases unrelated to Singapore or Hong Kong rises to more than five.
As of Sunday, the seven-day moving average of unrelated community cases in Singapore had risen to nearly five. There were also dozens of other related cases in the community.
The bubble was due to take off on May 26, six months after its initial launch planned last November. It was first postponed last year by both sides due to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong.
Former Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is now health minister, said last Friday that Singapore is very likely not able to meet the criteria to launch the bubble.
“What we’re going to do now is watch the numbers closely over the next few days to revisit the start date, and early next week we’ll make a decision and an announcement.”
Mr Ong said last week that he briefed Mr Yau from Hong Kong on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore.
He then said both cities were heavily engaged in the bubble, but had to start it safely. They would also respect the recovery mechanisms that the two parties had agreed upon.