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Singapore-Hong Kong air journey bubble launch deferred for two weeks after COVID-19 instances spike in Hong Kong

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SINGAPORE: The launch of an air journey bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong has been deferred for 2 weeks after a spike in COVID-19 instances in Hong Kong, Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung stated on Saturday afternoon (Nov 21).

The air journey bubble was supposed to start out on Sunday.

In a Fb put up on Saturday, Mr Ong stated he has held discussions with Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Financial Growth Edward Yau concerning the journey bubble.

“Given the evolving state of affairs in Hong Kong, (Mr) Yau and I mentioned additional this afternoon and determined that it will be higher to defer the launch of the air journey bubble by two weeks,” Mr Ong stated.

“We are going to evaluate inside two weeks on the brand new launch date and replace once more.

“I can totally perceive the frustration and frustration of travellers who’ve deliberate their journeys. However we expect it’s higher to defer from a public well being standpoint.” 

The airways shall be contacting travellers individually, the transport minister added.

READ: Hong Kong reports 43 new COVID-19 cases, tightens measures 

On Saturday, Hong Kong reported 43 new COVID-19 instances, of which 36 had been regionally transmitted. 13 of Saturday’s instances had been from unknown transmission sources.

Town had reported 26 new COVID-19 infections on Friday. 

“Within the mild of the current surge of native instances, we have now determined, along with the Singapore authorities, to defer the air journey bubble’s launch by two weeks,” Mr Yau stated, including that the town will proceed to evaluate the state of affairs with the Singapore Authorities.

A spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Meals and Well being Bureau added: “The variety of confirmed native instances with unknown sources of an infection has been on a rising pattern not too long ago, indicating the existence of silent transmission chains in the neighborhood.”

On Saturday, Singapore reported five new COVID-19 cases – all imported and positioned on stay-home discover upon arrival. It was the 11th consecutive day with out any regionally transmitted infections in Singapore.

TRAVELLERS MAY TAKE NON TRAVEL BUBBLE FLIGHTS

Underneath the air journey bubble, travellers must take devoted flights operated by Singapore Airways and Cathay Pacific.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) stated on Saturday that travellers should still proceed their journey on non-designated air journey bubble flights.

“Nevertheless, such travellers shall be topic to the prevailing border management and well being necessities of each cities,” stated CAAS in a media launch. 

For instance, Singapore residents getting back from Hong Kong shall be topic to a seven day stay-home discover upon entry into Singapore.

Singapore Airways stated clients who not want to fly between Singapore and Hong Kong after the deferment announcement was made can request for a full refund for the unused portion of their tickets, and have cancellation charges waived.

READ: SIA, Cathay clients who not want to fly after Singapore-Hong Kong air journey bubble deferment can request for full refunds

In response to CNA’s queries, Cathay Pacific stated that its inaugural air journey bubble flight (CX759) on Sunday has been cancelled. Passengers can change their reserving, request a full refund or alternate their ticket for airline credit with out cost.

For passengers booked on Cathay Pacific air journey bubble flights between Nov 24 and Dec 5, they have mechanically been positioned on new, non-air journey bubble flights departing on the identical date and time as their authentic reserving.

“Regular quarantine guidelines will apply” for these flights, the airline stated. Passengers can even change or cancel their reserving with out cost.

SITUATION IN HONG KONG “WILL REMAIN SEVERE IN THE NEAR FUTURE”

Earlier on Saturday morning, Mr Ong stated there was a “excessive probability” of the air journey bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong being suspended if the COVID-19 state of affairs in Hong Kong continued on its present trajectory.

READ: Air journey bubbles, extra inexperienced lanes a part of plans for Singapore to ‘revive’ Changi Air Hub amid COVID-19 – Ong Ye Kung

Underneath the phrases of the journey bubble, the association can be suspended if the seven-day shifting common of unlinked instances exceeds 5 per day in both metropolis.

Hong Kong has seen a spike within the variety of COVID-19 instances, a state of affairs the town’s Secretary for Meals and Well being Sophia Chan described on Friday as “extreme”. 

Following Saturday’s announcement, the Hong Kong authorities stated it’s anticipated that the epidemic state of affairs within the metropolis “will nonetheless stay extreme within the close to future”.

“If the air journey bubble is to be launched as scheduled tomorrow, probabilities of making fast adjustment are excessive,” it stated in an announcement on its web site.

“The deferral of the inaugural flights is an appropriate and accountable association to minimise the inconvenience precipitated to the air journey bubble travellers and cut back the uncertainty of their itineraries.”

Mr Ong stated: “This can be a sober reminder that the COVID-19 virus remains to be with us, and whilst we struggle to regain our regular lives, the journey shall be stuffed with ups and downs. However we’ll press on and sit up for after we can safely launch the air journey bubble.”

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