Singapore, April 26
Singapore and Hong Kong on Monday agreed to set May 26 because the launch date of the air travel bubble after the pandemic state of affairs eased within the two main world aviation and monetary hubs, months after calling off the same settlement that will ease travel restrictions.
They reviewed the preparations and made a number of enhancements to the settlement, together with stricter situations for the resumption of the travel bubble, ought to it’s suspended due to new COVID-19 neighborhood clusters in both metropolis, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport mentioned.
The travel bubble was initially scheduled to begin in November final yr, however was deferred due to a spike in infections in Hong Kong.
“The COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong has improved, with very few local unlinked COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. Community cases in Singapore remained very low throughout the time,” mentioned the ministry.
“The risk profiles of both cities are therefore now similar,” it mentioned.
Both the cities will carefully monitor the COVID-19 state of affairs from now to May 26, and can proceed with the launch “if the situation continues to be steady and under control in both cities”, the ministry mentioned.
The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble will begin “cautiously”, with one flight a day in every path, with a cap of 200 passengers per flight, it mentioned, including that the numbers might be reviewed after the primary two weeks.
Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung mentioned the travel bubble is a big transfer between two aviation and monetary companies hubs in Asia.
“I am happy that Hong Kong got the COVID-19 situation under control,” Channel News Asia quoted the minister as saying.
“It has been a long few months, but the conditions are now ripe again to re-launch the ATB. Both sides will need to stay very vigilant in the next one month, so that we can launch the first flights smoothly,” Ong mentioned.
Hong Kong’s Secretary for (*26*) and Economic Development Edward Yau mentioned that the 2 governments have reached a consensus on the most recent travel bubble preparations, and can put in place extra stringent public well being protocols in response to the most recent COVID-19 growth.
“Our goal remains striking a right balance between public health and travel convenience so that the public will feel assured while providing certainty,” the Channel quoted Yau as saying.
“The re-launch of ATB not solely meets the aspirations of the folks and enterprise communities on cross-border travel, but additionally signifies that gradual resumption of cross-border travel is achievable by means of mutual collaborations amongst totally different locations.
“We will continue to maintain communication with the Singapore Government and closely monitor the epidemic development of both places to ensure the smooth launch of ATB,” he added.
The travel bubble might be suspended if the seven-day shifting common of unlinked neighborhood instances in both metropolis will increase to above 5. It can solely resume when the COVID-19 state of affairs has stabilised, mentioned the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
Under the travel bubble, there are not any restrictions on the aim of travel and no necessities for a managed itinerary or sponsorship. Visitors have to take pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 swab assessments and travel on designated flights operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. PTI