- Proposed quarantine-free travel with the Lion City put on hold as HK battles its fourth wave of Covid-19
- The governments of both cities with reassess the coronavirus situation in late December
Following a fourth wave of coronavirus in Hong Kong, a proposed travel bubble with Singapore has been postponed until 2021.
The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said in a statement that the bubble arrangements would be reviewed in “late December”, with a view to reassessing the health conditions in Hong Kong.
“The decision on a further deferral of the launch date of the ATB (air travel bubble) was taken in view of the severity of the epidemic situation in Hong Kong, with the number of local cases of unknown sources increasing rapidly,” the government statement said.
Passengers who made bookings in December were advised to contact their airline and adjust their travel plans.
The much-hailed bubble between the two major Asian air transit hubs was postponed on the eve of its inaugural flights, dealing a huge blow to airlines that had embraced the quarantine-free plan in the hope it would shore up a financially devastated sector that has seen travel all but collapse during the year-long coronavirus pandemic.
On November 21, officials from both cities declared a postponement of at least two weeks to give Hong Kong time to reassess its newest outbreak of Covid-19 cases.
Since then, Hong Kong confirmed it was battling a severe local outbreak, forcing authorities to tighten social-distancing guidelines to their harshest levels since July, meaning a delay to the travel bubble was inevitable.
The Hong Kong-Singapore travel corridor was planned to serve as a model for how other destinations with low rates of Covid-19 could restart commercial flights safely, with strict epidemic monitoring and rules on who was eligible to fly.