S'pore, Hong Kong in contact on whether air travel bubble will proceed amid spike in Covid-19 cases there

Flights from Singapore to Hong Kong under the Air Travel Bubble had been scheduled to begin on Nov 22, 2020.
Flights from Singapore to Hong Kong under the Air Travel Bubble had been scheduled to begin on Nov 22, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore and Hong Kong governments are in close contact on whether the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble will proceed as planned, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement on Friday (Nov 20).

Some members of the public have asked if the inaugural air bubble flights on Sunday would proceed, given that Hong Kong recorded 26 cases on Friday and Hong Kong Health Secretary Sophia Chan described the situation as "severe", the CAAS said.

In response to media queries, the authority said that it is working closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to gather the facts and will update the public shortly on whether the inaugural flights under the air travel bubble will proceed on Sunday.

Earlier on Friday, Professor Chan said that Hong Kong has “probably entered into a new wave of cases” following a spike in reported cases. 

Hong Kong reported 26 confirmed cases on Friday, of which 21 were local and the rest imported. Details of untraceable cases were not revealed. Hong Kong has so far recorded 5,517 Covid-19 cases and 108 deaths.

The Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble arrangement, which is the Republic’s first since border restrictions were imposed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, were slated to start on Sunday with one flight a day into each city and a quota of 200 travellers per flight.

CAAS said previously that the arrangement will be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked Covid-19 cases is more than five in either Singapore or Hong Kong.

As part of the air travel bubble, travellers between Singapore and Hong Kong will have to take Covid-19 tests, in lieu of serving quarantine or stay-home notices.

There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel, and no need for a controlled itinerary, but travellers are required to meet eligibility criteria and adhere to the prevailing border control measures and public health requirements of both cities.