Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung announced yesterday (11 Nov) that the first air travel bubble arrangement has been set up with Hong Kong.
Starting from 22 Nov, travellers from both Singapore and Hong Kong would be able to visit each other’s city for leisure. The scheme will start with one flight a day into each city with a quota of 200 travellers per flight. Flights will be increased to two a day from 7 Dec.
The arrangement, however, will require that travellers between Singapore and Hong Kong take a COVID-19 test, in lieu of serving quarantine.
Travellers will need to take a COVID-19 test first in their respective city, 72 hours before their scheduled departure. They must test negative.
In Singapore, travellers can go directly to any of the 600 clinics and private healthcare providers to get their test done. On arrival in Hong Kong, they will be required to take another COVID-19 test and remain at the Hong Kong airport until the results are out, which can take up to 4 hours.
For Hong Kong travellers arriving in Singapore, however, the Singapore authorities do not require them to take any COVID-19 tests upon their arrival here. Their pre-departure tests in Hong Kong will be deemed to be sufficient. Ong told the media that the scheme is “not designed to be symmetrical”.
In a separate briefing in Hong Kong, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau revealed that a COVID-19 test at the Hong Kong airport would cost only HK$499 (S$87) for those travellers arriving in Hong Kong.
COVID-19 test costs S$300 at Changi airport
While Hong Kong travellers under the air travel bubble arrangement between the 2 cities will not need to take any COVID-19 tests at Changi airport upon arrival, others will need to.
For example, according to the Manpower Ministry (MOM), pass holders who spent the last 14 consecutive days in Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand and Vietnam coming back to Singapore must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Changi airport.
“Employers must book and make payment for the test (S$300 including GST) before the pass holders arrive in Singapore,” MOM said. A link provided by MOM to pre-book and pay for the test said that the COVID-19 test is conducted at Changi airport.
After the test, the pass holders have to remain isolated in their accommodation (outside the airport) until they have obtained a negative test result. If tested negative, they are not required to serve Stay-Home Notice (SHN).
But strangely, MOM said children who are 12 years old and below do not need to take the COVID-19 test.