Air “travel bubble” between Hong Kong and Singapore to be suspended for 2 weeks (Updated: 5.20pm)

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21st November 2020 – (Hong Kong) The air “travel bubble” (ATB) between Hong Kong and Singapore will take effect tomorrow (22nd). Visitors travelling between the two places do not need to be quarantined. However, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong has soared recently. Whether the “travel bubble” can be implemented as scheduled remains variable. The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau met up with media reporters at 5pm today (21st) to announce the postponement of the air travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore for 2 weeks.

Yau said that in view of the invisible transmission chain in the community, there are relevant arrangements to reduce the inconvenience caused to passengers. This is a decision made after discussions between the governments of the two places. It is hoped that the impact on passengers from the two places will be reduced. It is considered a responsible approach and the departure date will be announced in early December.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced earlier today (21st) that when Hong Kong travel bubble passengers arrive at Singapore Airport from tomorrow, they will need to undergo an additional virus test. The test fee is about 196 Singapore dollars (about HK$1,130) and fee will be waived during the first week i.e. 22nd-28th. Passengers will need to wait for the results and the waiting time is expected to take 6 to 8 hours. The authorities also pointed out that according to the agreement, if there are more than 22 cases with unknown sources in Hong Kong in the next three days, the travel bubble of the two places will be suspended. According to the agreement between Hong Kong and Singapore, travellers originally did not need to be tested for the virus when they arrived in Singapore, so they could travel freely in Singapore.

 The Governments of HKSAR and Singapore will continue to closely monitor the epidemic situation of both places, exchange relevant data and statistics, and maintain close communication. The new date of inaugural flights will be announced in early December. Travellers who wish to travel between the two places via the ATB arrangement should watch out for the latest announcement and adjust their itineraries according to their own situation.

  To cater for possible fluctuation in the epidemic situation, the ATB has a built-in mechanism whereby the number of designated flights may be increased, decreased or even suspended depending on the situation. If the latest seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local cases is more than five for either Singapore or Hong Kong, the ATB arrangement will be suspended after two days (including the day on which the exceedance of the threshold is announced) for a two-week period. If the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local cases reported on the last day of the suspension period does not exceed five for both Singapore and Hong Kong, the ATB arrangement can resume on the next day.

Cathay Pacific said that if passengers who bought flight tickets between Singapore and Hong Kong need to suspend their flights before departure, Cathay Pacific can refund the ticket price for the affected passengers, or can choose to waive the handling fee for ticket changes.

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