The air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong is now a reality. The air travel bubble will start on 22 November, with one flight a day into each city with 200 passengers each way. This will increase to two flights a day into each city from 7 December. This announcement was made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) today.
Travellers have to take the dedicated flights, but will have no restrictions on their travel purpose and do not have to follow a controlled itinerary. They will also not be subject to quarantine or stay-home notice. However, they must test negative on COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests within 72 hours before their scheduled departure time.
Those departing from Singapore will be required to apply for approval to take their PCR test at least seven days before departure, and will need a confirmed flight ticket to Hong Kong to do so. From 1 December, travellers do not need to apply for approval to take the test.
Upon their arrival, travellers will also have to take a COVID-19 test at the Hong Kong International Airport. They must remain in the airport until they receive their negative test results.
Anyone who has remained in Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 consecutive days prior to travelling is eligible. However, holders of work permits or S Passes in the construction, marine shipyard or process sectors are excluded, CAAS said. Travellers heading to Singapore also have to take a PCR test within 72 hours before their scheduled departure time. They can do so at one of the recognised clinics or testing centres in Hong Kong. Children aged 12 or younger are exempted from the pre-departure test.
Foreign travellers from Hong Kong have to apply for an Air Travel Pass between seven and 30 days before entering Singapore. Applications start on 12 November at 8am.
Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders living in Hong Kong do not need to apply for this, although long-term pass holders have to apply for an approval letter for entry as per the current arrangement.
Travellers must download and register for the TraceTogether application on their mobile phones before departing for Singapore. They must keep the application activated during their stay and keep the app on their phone for 14 days after leaving.
While in Singapore and Hong Kong, visitors must comply with prevailing health and safe distancing measures, including mask-wearing and restrictions on group gatherings. Should travellers become COVID-19 positive, they will need to bear the full cost of any medical treatment, subject to prevailing medical and healthcare policies, CAAS said.
The air travel bubble will be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked COVID-19 cases is more than five in either Singapore or Hong Kong. The arrangement will resume if the seven-day moving average on the last day of the suspension period is five or fewer, CAAS said.
“The Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble enables us to achieve two objectives at the same time – open up our borders in a controlled manner, while maintaining safety in our societies,” transport minister Ong Ye Kung said. “While we may be starting small, this is an important step forward. I have no doubt both Singapore and Hong Kong will cooperate fully to make this scheme work.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that officials from both Singapore and Hong Kong have worked hard to put in place measures to allow air travel to resume safely. “Travellers will have to get used to new regulations and COVID-19 swab tests – all part and parcel of the new normal,” he added.