Hong Kong and Singapore Set an Official Date for Their COVID-19 Air Travel Bubble
The plan does not require a quarantine period.
A new air travel bubble connecting Hong Kong and Singapore is set to begin operation Nov. 22.
The arrangement allows travelers from Hong Kong and Singapore to travel between countries without having to quarantine. Travelers will have to test negative for COVID-19 three times each time they travel: before they depart, after they arrive, and before they return.
Special daily flights will transport travelers within the bubble. Passengers outside of the bubble won’t be allowed to board the flights, which will carry a maximum 200 passengers each. The availability of daily flights is scheduled to expand to two on Dec. 7.
“Hong Kong and Singapore are similar in terms of epidemic control,” Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau told the Associated Press, adding that “the revival of cross-border air travel between the two places is of utmost importance.”
Hong Kong has reported 5,400 cases of COVID-19 and 108 deaths. Singapore has reported 58,000 cases and 28 deaths.
In announcing the bubble in October, Yau described it as a “milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of COVID-19.”
Both cities have strong systems in place to manage COVID-19, Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s minister for transport, said in a statement last month “This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other," the statement said.
Travel bubbles have been floated as potential ways to keep travelers moving and out of quarantine in regions where COVID-19 has been contained, but only one other bubble is currently in operation, the Trans-Tasman bubble. That bubble allows New Zealand to travel to Sydney and Darwin without quarantine.
Should either Hong Kong or Singapore report a seven-day moving average of five or more untraceable COVID-19 infections, the bubble would be suspended for two weeks, the AP said.