The Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Thursday (15 October) announced that Singapore and Hong Kong have reached an “in-principle agreement” to set up air travel bubble between both cities.
For those travelling under the air travel bubble, the Ministry said in its press statement that there will have no restrictions on the purpose of travel and will have no controlled itinerary.
Under the travel bubble, travellers will not be subject to quarantine or stay-home notice requirements, but will need to test negative on mutually recognised COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Those travelling under the travel bubble will also be required to go on flights dedicated.
The Ministry however noted that the air travel bubble can be scaled by adjusting the number of dedicated flights upwards or downwards, or even suspended, depending on the latest developments and COVID-19 situation in the two cities.
“With a view to achieving early implementation, both Singapore and Hong Kong are committed to fleshing out the full details of the air travel bubble in the coming weeks,” said MOT, adding that the launch date and other implementation details regarding the air travel bubble will be announced in due course.
Speaking at the media interview, Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung noted that Singapore and Hong Kong “have low incidence of COVID-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control COVID-19”.
“This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other,” Mr Ong added.
He continued, “It’s a small step, but a significant one, because both Hong Kong and Singapore that are regional Asian hub, and even a global aviation hub, and for two of us to be able to control the pandemic and come together to discuss and establish air travel bubble, hopefully this sets a model and a template for us to forge more of such relationships and partnerships.”
“So, from now on, both sides will enter into formal discussion to conclude this agreement,” Mr Ong told the media.
Upon reading the announcement from the Ministry, netizens seem to disagree with the move of establishing the air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong. Voicing their thoughts in the comment section of Facebook page of CNA, the netizens said that the restriction in the country should be loosen up before moving to the decision of opening the country border to the other countries.
For instance, the restriction on wearing mask as well as the limitation in the size of social gathering, the netizens wrote.
A couple of netizens opined that the Government should consider to open up the Singapore-Johor border, which is now only allowed for cross-border travel under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes.
Other netizens also questioned whether the Government will foot the COVID-19 treatment bill for the citizens who have contracted COVID-19 during the leisure trips.
Currently, travellers from Hong Kong that enter into Singapore need only serve a seven-day of stay-home notice as Singapore has listed Hong Kong as “low risk” places.
As of Thursday (15 October), Singapore has reported three new cases of COVID-19 , with the total number of cases now at 57,892. While according to ECNS, Hong Kong has recorded zero increase in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday (14 October), with the total number of cases stood at 5,201.