The 2-week delay of the travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore which was stated earlier has been extended again, with the rearrangement for implementing this expected to be in 2021.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Singapore (CAAS) official announcement yesterday, both Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to suspend the launch of the travel bubble between the two destinations for another month due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.
This means that the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble will be postponed until next year, with the exact rescheduled implementing time to be discussed again later this December. Previously, Hong Kong health authorities had warned that the border reopening could lead to the worst Covid-19 wave so far and implemented harsher social distancing measures. However, it happened to be the worst scenario.
According to CAAS, passengers are required to provide their airlines with their travel plans at the destination. The authorities of Singapore and Hong Kong have already conducted discussions and will promptly update the situation if there are any further developments.
It was originally expected that the first flight marking the deployment of the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble would take place on November 22 but was postponed on November 21 by the governments. Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung at the time said Singapore and Hong Kong would re-discuss the matter within two weeks. However, both sides agreed that the travel bubble would be further delayed if the number of cases exceeded 5 in either destination.
As Covid-19 cases continued to emerge in Hong Kong, the seven-day moving average of unlinked local Covid-19 cases rose to 16 on November 30, which made both Hong Kong and Singapore had no choice but to delay the launch one more time.
Hong Kong currently has a total of more than 6,300 cases, including 109 deaths. The daily new infections have crossed 70 for more than a week. This spike was led initially by a growing dance club cluster of more than 500.
Over the past few weeks, Hong Kong has consecutively put in place strict regulations, from mandating that dance club visitors go for compulsory tests to ordering patrons of specific eateries to go for the tests as the virus circulates, to curb the virus.
According to the official statement, within 2 weeks from December 2, dine-in services will end two hours earlier, at 10 pm, with the maximum number of diners at two per table. Bars, pubs, saunas, clubs, nightclubs and party rooms will remain closed. All amusement game centers, leisure venues, museums, cinemas, theme parks, karaoke establishments, mahjong clubs and swimming pools must be closed as well. Gyms, massage and beauty parlors, on the other hand, can stay open but the number of patrons must be capped at two. Civil servants are expected to work from home, and public gatherings would be limited to two people.