Home Top Stories The much-hyped Hong Kong-Singapore ‘travel bubble’ is postponed amid Covid-19 spike

The much-hyped Hong Kong-Singapore ‘travel bubble’ is postponed amid Covid-19 spike


(CNN) — The highly-anticipated Hong Kong and Singapore “air travel bubble” was postponed Saturday — lower than 24 hours earlier than it was because of launch.
The bubble would have allowed quarantine-free, air journey between the 2 Asian hubs. But a spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong means the association will likely be postponed for 2 weeks, stated Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and financial growth, at a press convention Saturday.

Hong Kong reported 43 new coronavirus circumstances on Saturday, the very best each day spike in over three months. Among them, 36 have been domestically transmitted — together with 13 which might be untraceable.

The quarantine-free hall was meant to spice up tourism and enterprise journey between the 2 Asian hubs, which have largely contained their coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong has recorded 5,561 Covid-19 circumstances, together with 108 deaths, for the reason that outbreak started, whereas Singapore has reported 58,000 infections and 28 deaths.

Quarantine-free journey would have been a giant deal for each locations, the place strict arrival laws have been in place for months. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, each governments shut borders and denied entry to most non-residents and short-term guests. In Hong Kong, returning residents are required to bear a 14-day quarantine and put on an digital bracelet to trace their location.

How the bubble was meant to work

The bubble was set to start Sunday with one flight a day into every metropolis, with a quota of 200 vacationers per flight — and later set elevated to 2 flights a day.

Travelers must meet sure parameters earlier than embarking, equivalent to having made no journeys within the earlier 14 days, and bear obligatory Covid-19 testing. But they would not be topic to any quarantine or stay-home discover necessities, or a managed itinerary, upon arrival.

However, the association all the time included the caveat that ought to the Covid-19 state of affairs deteriorate in both metropolis, the plan could be suspended.

Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority initially introduced on Saturday morning that the journey bubble with Hong Kong could be launched as scheduled. But later that day, the city-state’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung introduced there had been a change of plan.

“Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yau and I discussed further this afternoon, and decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the ATB, by two weeks. We will review within two weeks on the new launch date and update again,” Ong stated.

Hong Kong has seen a pointy rise in coronavirus infections previously few days, after weeks of steadily low variety of circumstances.

The metropolis’s Centre for Health Protection “strongly urged” the general public to keep away from all non-essential journey exterior Hong Kong, and referred to as on residents to keep away from going out, eating out and having social contact.

“The scale of the increase is very alarming,” Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch at Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection stated on Saturday.

She warned that this new improve in circumstances will likely be “very difficult to control.”

CNN’s Jessie Yeung contributed to this text.

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