Singapore-Hong Kong ‘high-chance’ air bubble could be suspended if COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong continues: Ong Ye Kung

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SINGAPORE: Singaporean Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung warned on Saturday, November 21 that there is a “strong chance” that the air bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong will be suspended if the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong continues on its current trajectory.

Speaking to reporters a day before the launch of the travel arrangement – which will take place on Sunday, but with additional COVID-19 testing for travelers from Hong Kong – Mr Ong said the two cities were “still being considered low risk “.

“So tomorrow the air transport bubble will be launched. But there is a good chance that if Hong Kong continues to have dozens of cases with a good number of unrelated cases, it can be suspended. there is a good chance it will be suspended based on what we have agreed upon, ”said Ong.

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Under the travel bubble, the arrangement would be put on hold if the seven-day moving average of unrelated cases exceeds five per day in either city.

On Saturday morning, the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) said the figure for Hong Kong is currently 2.14.

If there are more than 22 unrelated cases in Hong Kong in the next three days, the threshold of five will be exceeded, the CAAS said. A two-day notice period will then be triggered, after which the suspension will take effect.

Hong Kong is seeing an increase in the number of cases, a situation that Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan called “serious”. As of Friday, 26 new infections were reported.

READ: Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble – Additional COVID-19 test for Hong Kong passengers, flights to take place on Sunday

“NATURAL PARTNERS”

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Ong Saturday, Ong also called Hong Kong a “natural partner” to the air transport bubble, citing its resilience, reliability and reliability.

He acknowledged that implementing an arrangement like the travel bubble would not be easy, but explained why the two sides decided to do it.

“We are cities and we depend on the world for our livelihood and survival. We are both aviation hubs,” Ong said.

“So it wasn’t just about attracting tourists, which is important, but also about making sure that we continue to have our airlines, continue to have our Changi airport, and that they continue to have our airlines. ‘have their HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport).

“And we continue our way of life and in some ways preserve our identity as people of global cities.

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READ: Air bubbles, more greenways are part of Singapore’s plans to ‘revive’ Changi Air Hub amid COVID-19 – Ong Ye Kung

Mr Ong spoke at the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Training Center, as SIA began the first of its behind-the-scenes tours this weekend and next.

He acknowledged that the travel bubble launch was somewhat “stained” by the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong, but said with the right precautions – using masks, avoiding congested areas and badly broken down – travel was always possible.

“I think you can always have a very meaningful and enjoyable trip, whether it’s Hong Kong or Singapore.”

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