SINGAPORE - Singaporeans can fly for leisure again soon under an air travel bubble (ATB) arrangement if the Covid-19 situation in both the Republic and Hong Kong remains stable over the next month.
Here is what you need to know about Singapore's air travel bubble arrangement with Hong Kong, which is slated to start on May 26:
Q: When do you need to get tested for Covid-19?
A: Pre-departure tests must be carried out within 72 hours of your trip and there are also on-arrival tests for Covid-19. These tests will have to be booked and paid for by travellers.
Travellers to Singapore can wait for Covid-19 test results at their declared place of accommodation. Travellers to Hong Kong will wait for their results at the Hong Kong International Airport.
Q: Do you need to be vaccinated before your trip?
A: Hong Kong passport holders have to wait 14 days after they get their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to be eligible to travel.
Non-Hong Kong passport holders do not need to be vaccinated to take the bubble flights.
Short-term visitors from Hong Kong will need to apply for an air travel pass at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website between seven and 30 days before entry to Singapore.
In the 14 days before leaving Hong Kong or Singapore, travellers must not have visited any other place. This period does not include stay-home notice or mandatory quarantine periods.
Q: Do you have to download contact tracing apps?
A: Travellers will have to download contact tracing apps for the city they will be heading to - Singapore's TraceTogether or Hong Kong's LeaveHomeSafe.
Those travelling in both directions are also required to submit declaration forms online to the respective authorities before arrival.
Travellers also have to take designated flights serving only air travel bubble passengers. Transit and non-ATB travellers are not allowed on these flights.
Q: What happens if you get infected with Covid-19 during your trip?
A: Travellers who get infected with Covid-19 in Hong Kong have to bear the full cost of medical treatment. Short-term visitors flying from Hong Kong to Singapore must buy travel insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000 for Covid-19-related medical costs.
The ATB will be suspended for at least 14 days if the seven-day moving average of daily number of unlinked local Covid-19 cases (excluding dormitory resident cases in Singapore) exceeds five in either city.
The suspended ATB can resume only after cases come down for a sustained level agreed upon by both Singapore and Hong Kong.
Q: What rules do you need to follow in Hong Kong?
A: Social distancing rules in Hong Kong, particularly those to do with dining out, will be eased from Thursday (April 29) for two weeks as long as people are vaccinated and use the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app.
Bars, pubs, party rooms, bath houses, karaoke clubs and nightclubs, which have been shut for five months, will also be allowed to reopen if the conditions are met.
With the temporary easing of rules, eateries where all staff have had at least the first shot of the vaccine are allowed to offer dine-in services in a specified area till midnight, and each table can seat up to six patrons. Customers do not need to be vaccinated but have to use the LeaveHomeSafe app.
Those who choose to write their contact details down on paper rather than use the government app will have to sit in a separate area where each table can only have up to four people and dine-in services end at 10pm, which is the current arrangement.
Rules will be further relaxed if all staff have received two doses of the vaccine and waited 14 days for antibodies to develop, and customers have had their first jab and use the LeaveHomeSafe app. Dine-in services in a specified area can then last till 2am and each table can seat up to eight patrons.
Q: What are the restrictions in Singapore?
A: Group size gatherings are capped at eight people in public places.
Compulsory mask-wearing remains in place.
The operating capacity for attractions is capped at 65 per cent.
From June 1, digital check-ins for contact tracing at places with higher footfall or where people are likely to be in close proximity can be done only by using the TraceTogether app or token.