Hong Kong-S'pore travel bubble may start by late November

Secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau expressed optimism that people will be able to start flying between Hong Kong and Singapore by the end of November 2020.
Secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau expressed optimism that people will be able to start flying between Hong Kong and Singapore by the end of November 2020.PHOTOS: CHONG JUN LIANG, AFP

HONG KONG - Travel lovers may soon be able to scratch that itch under the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble in late November.

Secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau on Sunday (Nov 1) expressed optimism that people will be able to start flying between Hong Kong and Singapore by the end of the month, as the governments finalise details of the travel bubble that was announced in mid-October.

Speaking to reporters after a TV interview, Mr Yau said travel agencies would likely start selling tickets from mid-November.

It is expected that there will be at least one designated flight between the two cities every day during the initial phase of the travel bubble.

More flights could be scheduled if the arrangement proves popular, Mr Yau said, adding that there are measures in place to suspend the travel bubble if the Covid-19 situation in either city worsens.

Separately, Hong Kong officials are still in the midst of talks with their Guangdong counterparts over a delayed plan to reopen borders with the mainland.

Tourism-related businesses have been lobbying for borders to reopen, lamenting they can no longer hold out till the pandemic fully subsides.

Hong Kong had seven new confirmed cases on Sunday, bringing the tally to 5,330, including 105 deaths. Of the new cases, six were imported and one was local.

Health authorities yesterday said a mainland woman awaiting deportation is among the seven new cases. The 42-year-old was arrested by police on Oct 28 for alleged overstay. A dozen others detained in the same room as her will be quarantined.

She had spent time in Mong Kok Police Station and detention centres in Castle Peak Bay and Ma Tau Kok, coming into contact with a dozen detainees in the same room. They will be quarantined.

Authorities are trying to find out the source of her infection.

They are also keeping a close watch on a cluster of preliminary positive infections, including a 26-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man who had stayed at the Seaview Holiday Resort in Silvermine Bay with six others between Oct 25 and 27.

A 15-year-old boy who came into contact with the 26-year-old woman during a separate family gathering also tested preliminary positive. Authorities said his school in Fanling would be shut for two weeks for disinfection.

Said the Centre for Health Protection's Chuang Shuk Kwan: "For the Silvermine case, so far we have one plus two preliminary positive cases, so it's already an outbreak. We are putting the other close contacts under quarantine and it is possible some more cases will come back positive."

LISTEN TO THE BIG STORY PODCAST