Air travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore called off

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Singapore and Hong Kong have mutually agreed to cease discussions over an air travel bubble with the two jurisdictions adopting vastly different strategies in emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble had originally been scheduled to launch on 22 November 2020, with one charter flight carrying a maximum of 200 passengers to depart each day initially, rising to two flights per day from 7 December. The plan was postponed due to rising COVID-19 case numbers in Hong Kong, then again in May 2021 as cases rose in Singapore.

Officials had planned to review the status of the travel bubble in late August but announced Thursday that this would no longer be the case.

“In Singapore, a substantial proportion of our population is fully vaccinated,” the Ministry of Transport said in a statement. “Hong Kong too is progressively vaccinating its population.

“Both sides are focused on keeping our populations safe and preventing the risk of imported cases but our strategies differ, with Singapore now taking steps towards becoming a COVID-resilient nation.

“Against this backdrop, both parties agreed that it would not be possible to launch or sustain the ATB in its present form.”

That decision hasn’t stopped Singapore from adding Hong Kong and Macau to its list of Category 1 nations, allowing visitors from the two SARs to enter without needing to quarantine as of 11.59pm tonight.

Although that measure won’t be reciprocated for now, the Ministry said, “Singapore and Hong Kong will continue to explore new ways of strengthening connectivity and links with each other, and revive the air travel between our two major international aviation hubs.”

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