Singapore and Hong Kong have postponed a planned air travel bubble meant to boost tourism for both cities, amid a spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.
Edward Yau, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development, announced the two-week delay during a press conference on Saturday.
"Consequently, the airline's Delhi-Hong Kong flights have been banned till December 3", the official added.
"This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs. But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint", he wrote.
The air travel bubble is meant to allow visitors between the two cities to travel without having to serve a quarantine
Another mandatory COVID-19 test is carried out for passengers after landing in Hong Kong and reports of this test may be at variance from the reports of tests conducted 72 hours before taking the flight, the spokesperson mentioned. However, all worldwide passengers are required to undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the Hong Kong airport. A two-day notice period will apply before the travel bubble is suspended.
Customers who no longer wish to travel due to the deferment of the air travel bubble may request for a full refund of the unused portion of their ticket and have the cancellation fees waived. Also, AI's Mumbai-Hong Kong flights during October 28-November 10 were also barred. "But there's a high chance if Hong Kong continues to have tens of cases with a fair number of unlinked cases, it may be suspended", the channel quoted Mr. Ong as saying.
Prior to the postponement, Singapore said Saturday morning that travelers arriving from Hong Kong via the bubble would be required to take a coronavirus test on arrival. "But in the light of the recent upsurge of local cases, we have decided together with Singapore government that we would defer the launching of the Air Travel bubble by two weeks". But they will be subject to Singapore's quarantine arrangements such as the seven-day stay-home notice.
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