Exclusive: Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble: ‘Mid-May’ target for long-awaited deal amid coronavirus pandemic

The long-awaited Covid-19 travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore could emerge as early as mid-May, three sources told Caijing. postallaunching a second attempt to revive quarantine-free tourism between Asia’s two largest financial centers.

An exact release date is still considered a “moving target,” according to people familiar with the matter.

One of the sources said mid-May was the timeline authorities were trying to achieve, but added that it was too early to disclose the new conditions.

Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will be the first two airlines to launch bubbles, according to the previous plan.
Skyline of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.Image source: Xinhua News Agency

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, insisted earlier this week that Hong Kong residents must be vaccinated before flying to Singapore, but has yet to make a similar requirement.

Sticking to vaccinations could limit the number of people who are immediately eligible to fly, depending on vaccination requirements. It can also motivate those keen to travel outside of Hong Kong.

“This requirement will protect Hong Kong residents from infection when they travel abroad,” a source said. “So Hong Kong people who want to join the air travel bubble need to get vaccinated now.”

Battered travel industry calls for mutual vaccine recognition as bubble hopes soar

As of Wednesday, only 4.2% of the city’s population, or 318,700 people, had received the second dose of the vaccine, compared with 8.4% of residents who had received the first dose.

However, taking into account the government’s definition of 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine, the proportion of people who are fully vaccinated drops to just 0.6%. Of those fully vaccinated as of March 31, 44,032 had received the Sinovac vaccine and one had received the BioNTech version, according to official data.

Hong Kong will lower age threshold Allowing people aged 16 to 29 to be vaccinated means that all adult age groups across the city are eligible to seek protection from Covid-19.
2013a871 b0a9 4c7d a328 5eb7b0bbeffd fb4f1e1c
The number of Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong has declined after a fierce battle with a fourth wave of cases.Photo: Yang Xin
The first Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble, aborted at the last minuteOn October 14 last year, the two governments agreed in principle. The official announcement was made on November 11, with a provisional release on the 22nd of the same month. But that plan was halted after a resurgence of community infections in Hong Kong.

Previously, the bubble allowed up to 200 people a day to travel in both directions on designated flights without being quarantined. If operations go well, capacity will double in two weeks. Transit passengers are barred from bubble flights.

Circuit breakers were designed to stop the foam.In November last year, Hong Kong was on the cusp of a fourth wave of Covid-19—by Dance Club Cluster – The number of infections crossed the bubble threshold of 5 untraceable cases in the 7-day running average for both cities. The threshold was breached on November 23rd, and it was not breached until 84 days later, on February 15th this year.

When the suspension began, Hong Kong had recorded 5,560 cases of Covid-19, including 108 deaths. As of Thursday, the number of infections had reached 11,618, with 209 deaths.

Covid-19 testing is expected to remain a condition of the bubble. It also means that individuals in both cities must stay there for two weeks before departing. In the initial scenario, both Singapore and Hong Kong required PCR testing on departure, and travelers arriving in Hong Kong were also screened again.

Travel experts earlier said Singapore was ahead of Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam in forming a travel bubble with Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government, as well as Australia and New Zealand, are considered low-risk areas by the Hong Kong government. Fully vaccinated arrivals from these countries are currently subject to a mandatory 7-day hotel quarantine. For similar arrivals who have not been vaccinated, the quarantine period is two weeks.

Additional reporting by Denise Zeng

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button