Singaporeans separated from family saddened by delayed travel bubble
Hong Kong-based student Kengie Tang, 22, has been separated from her mother and brother in Singapore for the past six months.
Ms Tang lives with her Singaporean father in Hong Kong and had booked flight tickets home for this month.
"During the months leading up to my exams, I missed my family so much, I contemplated returning home, even with the quarantine in place," she said.
But her hopes were dashed when the relaunched Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble (ATB) allowing quarantine-free travel between both cities was delayed again after a spike in Covid-19 cases in Singapore.
The travel arrangement had been slated to take off yesterday.
The ATB was deferred on May 17 for the second time when the seven-day moving average of unlinked community cases in Singapore increased to six.
Singapore's Ministry of Transport had said the two cities will monitor the public health situation and review the new launch date of the ATB towards the end of phase two (heightened alert) of the country's reopening.
Singaporean Lynette Chua, 32, has been hoping that she and her newborn daughter can be reunited with her husband who is working in Hong Kong.
Ms Chua, who has been based in Hong Kong for the last four years, returned home last November with her Singaporean husband for the birth of their daughter in February.
Her husband, 31, who works in a bank, spent two months with their daughter before returning to Hong Kong for work last month.
To reunite her family, Ms Chua had booked a plane ticket for her husband to come to Singapore next month.
The family of three had also booked tickets to return to Hong Kong in July.
She said: "I am worried that if the ATB continues to be delayed, my daughter would not be able to recognise her father.
"The long quarantine is not good for my baby, and the hotel setting is not ideal for caring for her.
"The Hong Kong government had also released a list of hotels that travellers can be quarantined at, and I believe most family rooms and suites have been snapped up."
Dr Wong King Yin, a marketing lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, said the deferred Singapore-Hong Kong ATB could cause further delays in other ATBs.
She said: "If the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB is a success, other countries would be more confident to join the two cities and help the aviation and tourism industry to recover step by step by setting up more ATBs in the region."