The easing of travel restrictions announced by the government on Monday marked another milestone in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. The long-awaited quarantine waivers for Hongkongers returning from more mainland provinces as well as travelling to and from Singapore would not have been possible without concerted efforts to contain infections. Hopefully, the new arrangements can be extended to more places in the region and even beyond. That it has taken so long for the Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble to take off underlines the challenges in balancing public health protection with economic activities. The move, first mooted in November, was put on hold after Hong Kong was hit with yet another community outbreak. Last week, an announcement of the relaunch was also reportedly called off amid concerns over new cases among migrant workers in Singapore. The Hong Kong government has unilaterally made full vaccination – those having taken two shots at least 14 days before travel – a mandatory requirement for residents wanting to visit Singapore. The additional safeguard, it says, can offer more health protection. But the exemptions – such as for those under the age of 16, medically unfit for vaccination, with less than 90 days’ stay before departure, or using non-Hong Kong travel documents – give the impression that the rules are not consistent. Questions have also been raised as to why Singaporeans are not subject to the same requirements. Ahead of Hong Kong travel bubble launch, Singapore boosts testing, tightens entry rules Separately, the quarantine-free scheme for residents returning from Guangdong and Macau has been extended to other mainland provinces. As long as they have not stayed in medium- or high-risk places within 14 days of travel and have obtained negative Covid-19 test results, they may return under a quota scheme via the airport or land crossings. With nearly 136,000 passenger trips having been made without apparent health risks, there is room to ease cross-boundary travel further. The demand for travel will grow as the world makes progress in the battle against Covid-19. What is important now is that all of us, wherever we are, do not let our guard down if we wish to return to some form of normal travel.