The Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble (ATB) has been deferred for two weeks, following a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Saturday (21 Nov).
Just earlier this morning, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced that the travel arrangement between both cities will proceed as planned on Sunday (22 Nov), with condition that travellers from Hong Kong must take a COVID-19 test upon arriving in Singapore.
This is despite Hong Kong had confirmed 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday (20 Nov), which its Health Secretary Professor Sophia Chan described the situation as “severe”.
Shortly after, at 5pm, the Minister took a U-turn on the decision stating that the ATB launch has been deferred for two weeks due to the evolving COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong.
“Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yau and I discussed further this afternoon, and decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the ATB, by two weeks,” Mr Ong wrote on his Facebook.
He added that the government will review the new launch date and provide an update within two weeks.
“I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travellers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint,” said the Minister.
Mr Ong also assured that the airlines will be contacting the travellers individually on the deferment.
“This is a sober reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs. But we will press on and look forward to when we can safely launch the ATB,” he asserted.