SINGAPORE, 19 May 2021: The Hong Kong – Singapore travel
bubble is back in a holding pattern until at least 13 June, when the two
governments will review the Covid-19 situation.
Singapore’s unlinked Covid-19 cases hit an average of five during the last seven days, the ceiling that immediately triggers a postponement of bilateral quarantine free travel.
Unfortunately for travellers who had booked tickets, the travel bubble burst a week before it was supposed to relaunch on 26 May. It marks the second time that the scheme faltered since it was first launched in November 2020.
The official announcement on the postponement was made
Monday by the Singapore Minister for
Transport, S Iswaran, following a meeting with the Secretary for Commerce and
Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government,
They agreed to defer Airline Travel Bubble flights provided by Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines but continued to assure travellers both governments “remain strongly committed to launching the ATB safely.”
Singapore suffered a setback in Covid-19 cases last week
that saw unlinked community cases exceed the five case average required to
start quarantine-free travel between the two countries. The Hong Kong government said in a statement that further
updates would be announced on or before 13 June.
Both attempts to start bubble travel reaped a harvest of flight bookings for both Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines last November and again in the lead-up to the 26 May relaunch. Passengers can claim a refund, defer their bookings to the next attempt to revive the bubble or transfer their bookings to other flights that continue to operate.
Travellers can transfer their bookings to non-designated ATB flights, but they will be subject to strict border controls and quarantine at both ends. Singapore residents returning from Hong Kong will be subject to a seven-day Stay-Home Notice upon entry into Singapore. In Hong Kong, they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine if they are vaccinated against Covid-19. Non-vaccinated travellers face 21 days of quarantine with mandatory PCR tests.