Hong Kong has suspended a planned quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore for the second time and tightened controls on entry from Taiwan as it tries to fend off a surge in cases in the region.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong government said on Monday that a further announcement on the travel bubble would be made by June 13, when current Singaporean anti-epidemic measures are set to expire.

Singapore. Photo: PokemonaDeChroma, via Flickr.

Singapore reported 38 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases on Sunday and 21 on Monday. Dine-in services at restaurants have been halted and the number of household visitors restricted as part of stricter anti-pandemic measures.

The “bubble” was initially suspended last November. On that occasion, it was due to surging cases in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong also banned all travellers from Taiwan apart from returning Hong Kong residents, who will have to undergo a 21-day quarantine in designated hotels and take four tests during the period.

If fully vaccinated, travellers will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine and three tests during that period, as well as two mandatory coronavirus tests on the 16th and 19th day after arriving in Hong Kong.

File photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Travellers from Taiwan will have to present a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours before departure.

Taiwan, one of the most successful countries in the world at combating the coronavirus, reported 333 locally transmitted cases on Monday after a sudden sharp rise. It has banned all arrivals apart from those with residence certificates from Wednesday onwards.

‘Vaccinate while you can’

Leading Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung urged people to get vaccinated, saying he feared people saw it as unnecessary as the city was close to “clearing zero.”

Around 1.16 million people in Hong Kong had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of Monday, or about 18 per cent of the population, and around 787,200 had been fully vaccinated.

“I hope that Hong Kong citizens can get vaccinated as soon as possible, get vaccinated while they can still choose [their vaccines], because in September, one type of vaccine will no longer be provided,” said Yuen, referring to the BioNTech vaccine.

Hong Kong reported one imported Covid-19 infection on Monday and no local cases. Visitors and residents of three premises were told to undergo another compulsory test on Tuesday after cases with mutant strains were found there:

List of locations under the compulsory testing notice for Tuesday (Click to open):

  • Tower 11, Carmel Cove, Caribbean Coast, 1 Kin Tung Road, Tung Chung
  • Fung Hing House, Hing Wah (II) Estate, 18 Wan Tsui Road, Chai Wan
  • 37-39 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.