HK-Singapore travel bubble slated for May 26 start

Hong Kong and Singapore announced on Monday that a long-awaited “travel bubble” will start on May 26 at the earliest, following the easing of the coronavirus situation in the two places.

Under the agreement, residents will be allowed to travel between Hong Kong and Singapore on designated flights, without the need to quarantine.

Travellers are required to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours before they take the flights. They will also undergo another coronavirus test on arrival.

Hong Kong residents hoping to take this opportunity for overseas travel to the Lion City will also need to be fully vaccinated. Singaporeans are not required to take coronavirus vaccines before they come to Hong Kong.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau insisted it is reasonable to ask Hong Kong residents to get vaccinated before they fly to Singapore, saying it was an additional safeguard.

“We have made provisions for the entire community to be vaccinated so as to protect themselves and the purpose of asking Hong Kong residents going out to have vaccination prior to joining the scheme is in fact protecting their own health,” Yau said.

“It would be up to the other government whether they would require such an arrangement.”

However, residents aged under 16 or considered unsuitable for vaccination on medical grounds are exempt. Also exempt from the vaccination requirement are residents who have spent fewer than 90 days in the SAR prior to departure, as well as those using non-Hong Kong travel documents.

Hongkongers will need to download Singapore’s TraceTogether mobile app, and keep it activated throughout their stay in the city and keep its records for two weeks after they depart.

Travellers from Singapore to Hong Kong will need to download and use Hong Kong’s LeaveHomeSafe app, and keep its records for 31 days after returning to Singapore.

The Hong Kong government said that between May 26 and June 9, there will be two daily flights between Hong Kong to Singapore – one in each direction. Each flight will carry 200 travellers.

From June 10, this will be increased to four flights per day – two in each direction – with the number of flights allocated between Singapore- and Hong Kong-based airlines.

The travel bubble had been scheduled to launch in November 2020, but was delayed following a surge in coronavirus. Officials say the travel bubble could be suspended again if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong and Singapore was more than five.