Singapore-Hong Kong ‘travel bubble’ flights to continue despite rising coronavirus cases in Hong Kong

Singapore Airlines crew members at Changi International Airport in Singapore on October 24, 2020.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Singapore and Hong Kong will continue their air travel arrangements on Sunday as scheduled, but additional precautionary measures will be imposed as new cases of the coronavirus in Hong Kong increase.

the The Singapore Civil Aviation Authority announced on Saturday that all passengers arriving from Hong Kong will now be required to take an additional Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival.

They will also need to self-isolate in their place of residence – be it a hotel or a home – while awaiting the results, which will take around six to eight hours, the air authority said.

To be clear, all Hong Kong passengers under the air travel bubble deal were already required to take a Covid-19 PCR test before departure and test negative before leaving for Singapore.

“As mentioned, travelers will now undergo another COVID-19 PCR test on arrival,” according to the latest version from CAAS.

the first air transport bubble agreement announced on November 11 did not require isolation of arriving Hong Kong passengers.

Hong Kong’s ‘new wave’

Hong Kong reported on Friday that the number of new daily cases had risen to 26, and most of them were local infections.

“We have probably entered a new wave of cases,” the city’s food and health secretary, Sophia Chan, said at a press briefing on Friday, citing experts from the Center for Health Protection.

She said the situation was “serious” and urged citizens to stop all unnecessary gatherings.

The government met on Friday evening to finalize other emergency measures to stem the spread of the virus, and will not rule out tighter restrictions, General manager Carrie Lam said in a Facebook post.

Hong Kong imposed new restrictions on Saturday, including a ban on clubs and party venues, as well as a ban on live performances and dancing in bars and pubs. The government announced earlier that primary schools would be suspended for two weeks from Monday.

Health authorities in Singapore and Hong Kong are in close contact and are monitoring the situation.

Singapore Civil Aviation Authority

Travel authorities on both sides have consistently said the deal will be put on hold if the Covid-19 situation in either city deteriorates.

The Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble deal is set to begin Nov. 22 with a single daily flight to each city, capped at a maximum of 200 passengers per flight. The number of flights will only increase if the spread of Covid-19 in the two cities remains under control.

Singapore’s aviation authority reiterated on Saturday that the air bubble “will be suspended if the seven-day moving average of unrelated cases exceeds five per day.”

“The figure for Hong Kong is currently 2.14,” CAAS said. “The threshold will be exceeded if there are more than 22 unrelated cases in Hong Kong in the next three days. This will trigger a two-day notice period, after which the suspension will take effect.”

“Health authorities in Singapore and Hong Kong are in close contact and are monitoring the situation,” the aviation authority said.

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