Coronavirus Regional situation

Singapore, Hong Kong to review air travel bubble in late August

The long-anticipated quarantine-free travel corridor between Hong Kong and Singapore will not be opening any time soon.

Singapore's Transport Minister S. Iswaran and Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau have agreed to resume talks on the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) only when the Covid-19 situation allows.

"Both parties will remain in close contact and monitor the public health situation in both places before taking stock in late August on the ATB," Singapore's Transport Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

This comes as Singapore moves to tighten its Covid-19 measures from tomorrow to Aug 18, as the Republic goes back to phase two (heightened alert) to stem a recent spike in community cases.

Singapore saw a record high of 182 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases as at yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said that given the recent surge of cases in Singapore, the condition for launching the ATB "could not be met for the time being".

The spokesman also said both Hong Kong and Singapore have agreed that a review of the way forward could be conducted late next month, taking into account the effectiveness of the enhanced infection control measures implemented by Singapore and the global situation at that time.

The Hong Kong-Singapore travel scheme was slated to launch last November but was postponed to May after Hong Kong had a surge in cases.

It was derailed again when the number of Covid-19 cases began to rise in Singapore before stabilising early last month. It then spiked again recently.

Last week, Hong Kong legislators urged the government to scrap the travel plan as Singapore shifts from a zero-infection strategy, which Hong Kong places great importance on.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2021, with the headline 'Singapore, Hong Kong to review air travel bubble in late August'. Subscribe