In another much-required boost to the tourism industry, Hong Kong and Singapore have agreed to open the “travel bubble” on November 22, their governments reportedly said on November 11. While the COVID-19 pandemic has long-stalled the tourism sector of all nations across the globe, Hong Kong’s commerce minister Edward Yau said in a briefing that a quota of at least 200 residents from each city will be permitted to travel on one daily flight to the other.
However, only those passengers will reportedly be allowed to board the flight who have been in the former British colony or Singapore for at least two weeks and have tested negative for COVID-19. The newly-introduced concept of ‘travel bubble’ between nations has been a boon for the travel industry allowing safe air travel in the world that is still crippled under the global health crisis.
These transport bubbles that have been rolled out by governments rocked by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, mean that two nations have arranged to and from commercial flights even if international flights are absent. Air bubbles are reciprocal, which implies that both countries enjoy the same benefits. Also known as “transport bubbles” or “air travel arrangements”, these temporary arrangements are a desperate measure by nations across the globe to resume the commercial passenger services.
While passengers boarding the flight have conditions, they will be subjected to a different set of requirements in Hong Kong and Singapore. Tourists arriving in Hong Kong will have to test negative for COVID-19 again at the airport in a bid to avoid a quarantine period. Meanwhile, those reaching Singapore will have to download a contact-tracing mobile application.
This to-and-fro arrangement offering safe travel to nations will less spread of the disease between Hong Kong and Singapore will be operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Hong Kong’s commerce minister reportedly also said that if either country records a daily average of more than just five cases from untraceable sources for more than seven days, the travel bubble arrangement will be suspended for two weeks. However, if the situation remains under control like right now, the daily quota might be increased from December 7.