Singapore welcomes talks with Hong Kong on resuming cross-border travel

Hong Kong has sent letters expressing interest in a "travel bubble" to 11 countries, including Singapore. PHOTOS: REUTERS, DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong said on Thursday (Sept 10) the Republic welcomes talks with Hong Kong on the gradual resumption of cross-border travel between the two sides.

It added that, given the strong business and social ties between the two cities, the resumption of cross-border travel will benefit both.

The Consulate-General said that with a low number of new community cases daily and one of the lowest Covid-19 fatality rates in the world, Singapore has the confidence to reopen its economy, albeit gradually and carefully.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said the city had sent letters expressing interest in a "travel bubble" to 11 countries, including Singapore.

The territory is already in talks with Japan and Thailand on the resumption of travel.

Hong Kong's leadership also announced on Tuesday the cautious easing of some social distancing rules in the territory as its third coronavirus wave stabilises.

Barring any spike in infections, the limit imposed on eateries will be raised for a week to four people a table, up from the current two patrons, from Friday.

Sports premises, amusement game centres and places of public entertainment will also reopen, said its Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan on Tuesday.

Singapore currently permits visitors from five countries, with varied number of restrictions in place.

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On June 3, Singapore and China announced details of a "fast lane" or "green lane" agreement for travellers from both sides to fly into each other's countries without serving a quarantine period of up to 14 days.

Singapore then reopened its borders with Malaysia under two schemes - the Reciprocal Green Lane and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement - on Aug 17.

General travellers from New Zealand and Brunei started arriving in Singapore from Tuesday, while a Reciprocal Green Lane with the latter was announced on Sept 1.

On Sept 2, a "fast lane" for essential business and official travel between Singapore and South Korea was announced.

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