- Singapore and Hong Kong's long-delayed travel bubble is set to launch on May 26, both cities announced Monday.
- Residents will be able to travel between the two cities without a quarantine.
- The bubble will start with one flight per day each way with a maximum of 200 passengers.
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Singapore and Hong Kong's long-delayed travel bubble is set to launch on May 26, both cities announced on Monday.
The bubble, which was delayed from November 2020, will allow visitors to travel between both cities without having to serve a quarantine as long as they fly on designated flights and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure, in line with the terms of the bubble first announced in November. Visitors will be able to travel freely with no restrictions on itineraries or where they stay.
"I am happy that Hong Kong got the COVID-19 situation under control," Singapore's Transport Minister, Ong Ye Kung, said in a press release announcing the launch of the bubble. "It has been a long few months, but the conditions are now ripe again to re-launch the ATB (air travel bubble). Both sides will need to stay very vigilant in the next one month, so that we can launch the first flights smoothly."
In addition to a pre-departure PCR test, visitors to Hong Kong must be tested upon arrival at the airport, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development, Edward Yau, said Monday. Travelers in both directions must have not traveled anywhere other than Singapore or Hong Kong in the 14 days before their departure.
The bubble is set to start with one flight each day in each direction, with a maximum 200 passengers on each flight, the transport minister said. After two weeks, the number of flights will be reviewed. A source told Bloomberg that daily flights would be increased by June 26 as long as neither place reports a new virus outbreak.
The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble was set to launch in November but was postponed after Hong Kong reported a new surge in coronavirus cases. Since then, its infection rates have fallen to an average of about seven new daily cases on average over the past week. Singapore is reporting an average of 25 new infections each day, most of which were among people already in quarantine.
The bubble set to start in May will be suspended if the seven-day average of unlinked community cases exceeds five in either Singapore or Hong Kong, according to Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority.
Both cities' borders have been largely closed to tourists for over a year, and most returning residents are required to undergo a hotel quarantine – typically for 14 days in Singapore and 21 days in Hong Kong.
Over the course of the pandemic, Singapore has reported a total of 60,966 cases and 30 deaths among its population of 5.7 million. Hong Kong, which is home to 7.5 million people, has reported 11,737 cases and 209 deaths.
The announcement of the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble came a week after Australia and New Zealand launched a similar bubble. On Friday, less than a week after it opened, that bubble was paused after two Australian regions entered a three-day lockdown due to a new COVID-19 case detected in the community.