Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung was happy to announce the launch of a reciprocal Air Travel Bubble with Hong Kong. The first flights will depart on 22 November with 200 ‘bubble travellers’ both ways.
This Air Travel Bubble is the first of its kinds for a number of reasons.
Between 2 Aviation Hubs
It is special.
“We hear about air travel bubbles being established all over the world. But this one is special and I believe it is the first of its kind in the world because first, it is between two aviation hubs of Asia: Hong Kong and Singapore,” Mr Ong said.
No restrictions on travel type
The bubble covers all segment of travellers. There will be no restrictions on the type or travel or itinerary. You can travel for business or for leisure. You can also travel to reconnect with family, friends and loved ones.
No quarantine or Stay-Home Notice
COVID-19 tests will replace quarantine and Stay-Home Notice, the greatest deterrence for travel. This is possible only because Singapore and Hong Kong have successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19, Mr Ong said.
Something precious and not to be taken lightly
Mr Ong said, “This is very precious and not to be taken lightly. Many countries or regions around the world are still struggling to control the virus. They needed to re-introduce social distancing restrictions and it is very painful. But in Singapore and Hong Kong, our people have resumed their day-to-day pre-COVID-19 activities, going to work, attending school, dining out while taking precautions such as mask wearing, safe distancing. And in Singapore, we carry tokens that facilitate contact tracing should there be infections.”
This Air Travel Bubble is possible because of our low incidence rates and comprehensive system to control the spread of the virus.
The design of the scheme enables us to achieve two objectives at the same time. It allows us to open our borders in controlled manner. At the same time, it maintains safety in our societies.
A useful reference for others contemplating how to open their borders
Mr Ong said, “We are starting cautiously , with one ‘bubble flight’ per day with a maximum of 200 ‘bubble travellers’ each way. Over time, once we gain confidence, we will review the scheme with a view to expand it further.”
While we are starting small, it is nevertheless an important step forward. “It will be a useful reference for other countries and regions that have controlled the epidemic and are now contemplating how to open their borders,” Mr Ong added.