Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble being finalised: Ong Ye Kung
Minister says both cities actively discussing plans to start delayed arrangement
Details of an arrangement to restart all forms of travel between Singapore and Hong Kong without quarantine are being finalised, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung yesterday.
Mr Ong said the two cities have been actively discussing plans to start the air travel bubble, which was initially slated to take off in November last year.
"We are finalising the details of our revised agreement and hope to announce our plans soon," he said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Transport.
The much-delayed travel bubble, which will be the first of its kind for both cities, was postponed late last year after a spike in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.
But talks on belatedly starting the arrangement have progressed as the coronavirus situation in Hong Kong has improved in recent months.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam had said on Tuesday she expects "an early indication of agreement between the two sides" on the travel bubble.
She also said it will be mandatory for travellers from Hong Kong heading to Singapore to be vaccinated, even though this is not a requirement imposed by Singapore.
"The basis for discussion with Singapore is that people leaving Hong Kong and entering Singapore need to be vaccinated," said Mrs Lam.
"We want to provide incentives to encourage Hong Kong citizens to get vaccinated."
Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau had said on March 29 that the city's residents who want to take part in travel bubble arrangements would have to complete two doses of vaccines and wait at least 14 days after the second jab before they can go on such flights.
Under the original agreement between Singapore and Hong Kong, passengers must test negative for Covid-19 before they can board the direct flights.
Both cities had previously agreed the arrangement would be suspended if the seven-day average of unlinked Covid-19 cases in either city exceeded five.
Over the past week, Hong Kong has been recording two or three local infections daily. There were 13 new cases on Tuesday, of which three were local. Hong Kong has more than 11,600 Covid-19 cases and 207 deaths in all.
Meanwhile, Singapore has recorded two new Covid-19 cases in the community per week in the past two weeks.
It had a total of 60,719 cases as at yesterday.