Hong Kong and Singapore have reached an in-principle agreement on an air travel bubble to help boost traffic between the two aviation hubs, ministers said today.
Under the plans, travellers will be required to return a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and will not be subject to any quarantine or stay-home orders. They will travel on dedicated flights, which will not be open to transit passengers, nor those who do not meet the air travel bubble requirements.
“Both our cities have low incidence of Covid-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control Covid-19,” Singapore’s transport minister Ong Ye Kung said in a statement issued by the Hong Kong government on Oct 15.
“This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other.”
He adds that the travel bubble with Hong Kong could “provide a model for future collaboration with other parts of the world.”
Further details will be negotiated over the coming weeks, with the launch date to be announced in due course.
Hong Kong began approaching countries about the possibility of travel bubbles back in June, including Japan, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.
“This is a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of Covid-19,” Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau Tang-wah said in a statement, adding he was confident the arrangement could come to fruition very soon.
The two ministers reached the agreement in principle during a videoconference on 14 October.
Countries are looking at various different models for travel corridors or bubbles to maintain air links while managing health risks during the pandemic.
Earlier today, Air New Zealand set out how it planned to operate under a bilateral “safe travel zone” arrangement that allows one-way quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to Australia, starting 16 October.