Travellers looking forward to their flights are deeply disappointed. The much-awaited Air Travel Bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong, due to be launched tomorrow, is now deferred for 2 weeks. This is due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.
This shows just how fluid the situation can be with COVID-19. Things don’t always go as planned.
Earlier today, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore had announced that the Air Travel Bubble would be launched as scheduled. As an added precaution, arriving passengers will have to take a COVID-19 test.
However, due to the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he had a discussion with Hong Kong Secretary Edward Yau. They decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the ATB by two weeks.
“We will review within two weeks on the new launch date and update again,” Mr Ong said in a Facebook update on the situation.
Hong Kong reported 26 new cases on Friday. The city reported 43 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. Of these, 36 were locally transmitted. Thirteen of Saturday’s cases were from unknown transmission sources.
“In the light of the recent surge of local cases, we have decided, together with the Singapore government, to defer the air travel bubble’s launch by two weeks,” Mr Yau told reporters in Hong Kong.
Mr Ong said, “I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travellers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint. The airlines will be contacting the travellers individually.
“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 will press on and look forward to when we can safely launch the ATB.”