Hong Kong and Singapore have firmed up plans for a Covid-19 “travel bubble,” the government announced on Thursday. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau told the press that a preliminary agreement would mean that visitors between the two cities would not need to go through quarantine or stay-at-home procedures.
Yau said travellers would have to acquire a negative result from a Covid-19 testing facility recognised by both regions after an agreement was reached on Wednesday. There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel, while travellers will take specific flights that will not carry any passengers transferring to other destinations. Group tours, however, would not be allowed under the current group gathering rules, he said.
Currently, Hong Kong residents visiting Singapore need only self-quarantine for one week after the city-state added Hong Kong to its list of countries and regions where the virus is “well under control.”
Full details are yet to be ironed out, Yau said, but the government said the plan should be rolled out soon. He added that travel bubbles with other countries are being considered.
“This is a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of Covid-19,” Yau said in a press release. “Hong Kong and Singapore enjoy long-time close and cordial co-operation on many fronts. I have every confidence that the ATB [Air Travel Bubble] arrangement can come to fruition very soon to facilitate resumption of air travel between our two economies.”
Minister for Transport of the Republic of Singapore Ong Ye Kung said it was a “safe, careful but significant” step in riving air travel: “Both our cities have low incidence of Covid-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control Covid-19… This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other.”
As of this week, Hong Kong has seen 5,202 cases of Covid-19 and 105 deaths, whilst Singapore has seen 57,889 cases and 28 deaths.
Additional reporting: Kelly Ho.