UPDATE 1 – HK-Singapore travel bubble delayed as surge in Hong Kong COVID-19 cases

UPDATE 1 – HK-Singapore travel bubble delayed as surge in Hong Kong COVID-19 cases

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HONG KONG, Nov 21 (Reuters) – A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, which was due to start on Sunday, will be delayed by two weeks, officials in Hong Kong said on Saturday, as the Chinese-controlled city reported a surge in daily coronavirus cases.

The travel bubble that allows a limited number of passengers to fly in both directions without going through quarantine will be reconsidered in early December, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau told the media.

“Given the recent surge in local cases, we have jointly decided with the Singapore government that (we) will delay the launch of the shuttle bubble by two weeks,” he said. “Today’s decision is a responsible one.”

The pause came as Hong Kong reported 43 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its highest daily death toll in nearly three months. It also faces more than 60 preliminary cases.

Under the “travel bubble” arrangement, people will be allowed to travel between the two cities without adhering to quarantine rules, but must take a COVID-19 test before departure and upon arrival. There are no restrictions on travel purposes.

Passengers will also have to travel on designated flights, and currently only Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines have been selected to operate these flights.

Hong Kong has recorded more than 5,500 coronavirus cases and 108 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began. (Reporting by Joyze Zhou, Julie Zhu and Twinnie Siu. Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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