HongKong

Hong Kong travel bubble may be delayed, new curbs

Hong Kong travel bubble may be delayed, new curbs


  • Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index fell 2.18 percent on Friday.
  • The Singapore government said it was “likely” that the planned air travel bubble with Hong Kong would not start on May 26.
  • Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian country further tightened measures to curb a rise in local Covid cases, including stopping all dine-in services and limiting public gatherings to two.

A woman jogs past the cordoned off Merlion Park in Singapore, June 12, 2020.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index ended 2.18% lower on Friday after the government announced further tightening of Covid-19 restrictions and the possibility of another delay to the air travel bubble with Hong Kong.

Airline-related stocks were hit hard. Singapore Airlines fell 5.66%, while airline catering and airport ground handling company SATS fell 3.91%.

The Singapore government said it was “likely” that the travel bubble with Hong Kong would not start on May 26 as planned. Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian country further tightened measures to curb a rise in local Covid cases, including stopping all dine-in services and limiting public gatherings to two.

Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble would have let travelers skip quarantine. It has faced multiple delays since its initial release date in November 2020 as Hong Kong reported a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are major business centers in Asia without a domestic air travel market. Their tourism and airline industries, which rely heavily on international travel, have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Hong Kong is now “a very safe area” with very few new cases detected every day. However, the number of infections in Singapore has been climbing and the city-state may not meet the threshold to start a travel bubble, he added.

Singapore and Hong Kong have previously agreed to suspend travel arrangements if the number of unlinked local Covid cases in the two cities exceeds five on a seven-day moving average basis.

In an initial update on Friday, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said it had confirmed 52 new cases of Covid-19. Of these cases, 24 were locally transmitted infections – four of which were unrelated to previous cases.

The latest figures bring the cumulative number of confirmed infections in the Southeast Asian city-state to more than 61,500, according to the health ministry.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong confirmed an imported case on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed or probable infections since the outbreak began to 11,819, official figures showed. The city reported 210 deaths, according to the data.

Wang said he had spoken to Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, about the COVID-19 situation in Singapore. Ong said the two sides will make a decision early next week on whether to proceed with the air travel bubble.

The Singapore government has also announced that more Covid-19 restrictions will be imposed from this weekend as local infections rise. The measures will be in effect from Sunday until June 13.

The new measures include:

  • No dine-in at catering establishments;
  • Small social gatherings: up to two people, up from five;
  • All workers who can work from home must do so.

Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s education minister and co-chair of the Covid task force, said the government would review the measures in the medium term, or in about two weeks’ time, to see if adjustments were necessary.

The tightening policy “will effectively freeze the recovery of private consumption in the short term,” Yu Liuqing, a country analyst at the economic think tank Consulting, said in a report.

But he added that unless another round of lockdown – known domestically as a “circuit breaker” – was imposed for a prolonged period, Singapore’s economy in general would not contract.

Singapore had already tightened restrictions further before Friday’s announcement. The measures, which began last weekend, include pre-match testing for large gatherings and the closure of some indoor stadiums.



Source link

Leave a Reply

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

Back to top button