The Hong Kong and Singapore tourism bubbles will start on November 22. The passenger quota is initially set at 200 passengers per day for one way.

The long-awaited travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will start on Nov. 22, with the number of people allowed to travel quarantine-free in both directions initially limited to 200 people per day.

The two governments simultaneously revealed details of the landmark arrangement on Wednesday, noting that travelers are expected to pay about HK$1,890 each for up to three tests and that rapid Covid-19 tests are yet to be used in the travel bubble, slowing action.

A deal for the world’s first leisure travel bubble was negotiated between the two cities in about two months as Covid-19 infections in the rest of the world soared to more than 50 million cases and 1.3 million deaths.

“This policy has not come easily,” said Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development. “The ability of the bubble to function and be maintained well will depend on the cooperation of all parties, including the participation of residents and their efforts to maintain social distancing.”

Singapore ramps up testing ahead of Hong Kong travel bubble

“This is the closest thing to cross-border travel before Covid-19, and it was possible because both Singapore and Hong Kong managed to control the spread of Covid-19,” said Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung.

The coronavirus pandemic has effectively shut down air travel and squeezed an economy that relies on tourism. Airlines have been among the hardest-hit industries, forced to ground most flights and seek government help to stay afloat.

Goh Choon Phong, chief executive of Singapore Airlines (SIA), welcomed the bubble arrangement, saying: “It paves the way for us to open up in a safe and calibrated manner with the necessary testing protocols in place, and for other Bilateral aviation offers a promising model.” Arrangements around the world. “

Passengers from these two cities must travel on designated bubble flights and meet certain conditions and requirements, including undergoing up to three Covid-19 tests at different stages of the journey.

At the beginning of the plan, each city will have one flight per day, carrying 200 passengers. After the plan starts, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will alternately operate flights. From December 7, the number of flights to each city will increase to two per day.


Hong Kong, Singapore reach agreement in principle on travel bubble

Hong Kong, Singapore reach agreement in principle on travel bubble

If the daily average number of untraceable Covid-19 cases in any city reaches five or more per week, the travel bubble will be suspended. When that number drops below five again, the bubble resumes.

Hong Kong recorded 18 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, including three untraceable local infections, the highest number of new cases in a single day since Oct. 8, health officials said. The number of confirmed cases in the city now stands at 5,407, with 108 deaths. Singapore added 18 new cases of imported infection, with a total of 58,091 confirmed cases and 28 deaths.

Meanwhile, the airline industry suffered a setback, dashing hopes for faster travel as Hong Kong health authorities refused to rely on rapid tests, which can yield Covid-19 results in as little as 30 minutes.

this postal Reports on Tuesday that a rapid test at the heart of Hong Kong’s plan to reopen to international travel came back less accurate than expected, prompting authorities to extend the pilot trial for another week.

Under the current bubble plan, travelers arriving in Hong Kong need to wait at least four hours for PCR test results.

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Officials ruled out using rapid Covid-19 tests in the initial implementation of the travel bubble.Photo: AFP

Dr. Chen Hanyi, director of the Hong Kong government’s Department of Health, said that the airport rapid detection test is underway.

“Unless the data proves to be sensitive and good enough, we’re not going to use this kind of rapid test,” she said.

Cathay Pacific has automatically rebooked designated Bubble flights for passengers already booked. Passengers traveling on other flights may choose to switch to quarantine-free service if eligible.

Meanwhile, SIA will redesignate some bubble flights while canceling flights on non-bubble days. Transit passengers and those not eligible for quarantine-exempt travel will be diverted to flights operated by budget airline Scoot.

To enter the travel corridor, passengers flying from Hong Kong to Singapore must undergo a coronavirus test at an approved clinic or testing center no more than 72 hours before departure, the latter costs HK$240. Hong Kong passengers do not need to undergo additional testing upon arrival at the Singapore airport.

However, passengers arriving in Hong Kong from Singapore will need to undergo an additional test in addition to the pre-departure test in Hong Kong at a cost of HK$499.

Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble: Everything you need to know about flights, tests and fees

Singapore’s Ong said that in discussions with Hong Kong, both sides agreed that “key” was the pre-departure tests. “Beyond that, we say, on each other’s territories, I think we should be able to flexibly impose additional conditions if we want to, especially at the outset,” he added.

Ong also urged airlines to be “responsible” in pricing, noting that while there was pent-up demand, people were also wary of travel.

Hong Kong and Singapore have been looking to form their own travel bubbles with other destinations in a bid to revive tourism. In 2019, there were more than 450,000 tourists from Singapore, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. There were 489,000 tourists from Hong Kong in the same year, the city-state’s counterparts said.

Additional reporting by Guo Xinghui and Elizabeth Cheung

This article appeared in the print edition of the South China Morning Post: Hong Kong and Singapore give green light to world’s first leisure travel bubble

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