Hongkong-Singapore 'travel bubble' to commence on Nov 22

The bubble travel scheme, along with the bilateral green lane arrangement, will allow residents to travel freely between the two financial hubs

Transport Minister, Ong Ye Kung, announced in Singapore today that the bubble flight scheme will start on November 22. The scheme includes one flight a day into each city with a quota of 200 travelers per flight. This would be increased to two flights a day from Dec 7.  

Hong Kong and Singapore had agreed 'in principle' to set up a bubble in late October, allowing residents to travel freely between the two financial hubs as long as they test negative for the coronavirus, allowing travelers of all kinds to bypass quarantine. 

 The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement 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”. 

CAAS said, "The good progress in containing the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore and Hong Kong has given 200px-Ongyekungus the confidence to reopen our borders gradually, with safeguards in place to ensure our public health and safety," 

Under the agreement, all travelers will be subject to conditions such as testing negative for Covid-19, 72 hours before their scheduled departure. The flights will be direct with no transit passengers allowed to board the plane. There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel, and no need for a controlled itinerary. 

Mr Ong (pictured) said, “While we may be starting small, this is an important step forward... It will be a useful reference for other countries and regions that have controlled the epidemic, and are contemplating opening their borders.” 

Aside from air travel bubbles, there are also other schemes in place,  such as bilateral green lane arrangements, which are for essential business and official travel. 

Singapore already has pacts on essential business and official travel with China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Brunei, New Zealand and Vietnam. 

China was the first country to establish a green lane with Singapore, with Hong Kong being the 10th country to form special travel arrangements with Singapore.  

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, said, “This is the very first air travel bubble for Hong Kong. It matters not only for cross-border travel between the two places, but also reflects the government’s hope to progressively restore the city’s economic activities amid the long-drawn battle against Covid-19.” 

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