On Thursday, authorities announced that Hong Kong and Singapore plan to open an air transport bubble as COVID-19 cases decline. This action would allow residents to travel between the two Asian hubs without having to comply with quarantine or restrictive control measures.
Open travel to both the major city in China and the southeastern country of the continent have been suspended for months due to dangerous outbreaks of coronavirus.
When the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, both governments closed their borders and denied entry to both non-residents and short-term visitors.
Additionally, Hong Kong residents returning to the territory must undergo a 14-day quarantine and wear an electronic bracelet that allows their location to be tracked.
Nevertheless, both cities have managed to control coronavirus outbreaks and have reported a low number of local infections in recent months. Therefore, they decided to agree on the travel bubble plan during discussions last Wednesday.
Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development, said in a statement: “This is a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of Covid-19”.
Furthermore, Singapore’s Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung called this action a significant advance, adding: “It is a safe, careful but significant step forward to revive air travel, and provide a model for future collaboration with other parts of the world.”
According to his statements, there is still no date set for the launch of the travel bubble. However, they stated that details will be developed in the coming weeks.
Under this plan, travelers must have tested negative for COVID-19 through a mutual recognition test to benefit from the travel bubble.
Also, representatives from both Hong Kong and Singapore said there are no restrictions on the purpose of the trip. It means that people can come and go for several reasons, including business, study, and recreation, among others.
To do this, they will fly on flights designated only to passengers with travel bubbles.
Likewise, visitors will not be subject to quarantine or a stay-at-home notice. Besides, they should not follow a controlled itinerary either.
But, everything will depend on the situation of COVID-19. According to their statement, the plan could change if the numbers related to the virus increase in any of the places. In these cases, the number of flights can be increased, reduced, or even suspended.