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Singapore-Hong Kong journey bubble delayed amid rise in Hong Kong’s coronavirus circumstances

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Singapore Airways crew members at Changi Worldwide Airport in Singapore on Oct. 24, 2020.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Photos

SINGAPORE — Singapore and Hong Kong have postponed their air journey bubble settlement for 2 weeks.

The announcement got here hours after Singapore mentioned the settlement, which was set to take impact on Sunday, would go forward as deliberate regardless of an increase in new coronavirus circumstances in Hong Kong.

“That is to safeguard public well being in each cities in addition to travellers’ personal well being,” Singapore’s aviation authority mentioned in a media launch.

Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and financial improvement, Edward Yau, mentioned the delay “is important to keep away from any inconvenience brought on by the abrupt adjustments of the scheme to passengers.”

The state of affairs might be reviewed and a brand new launch date might be supplied in December.

Hong Kong reported Saturday that the variety of new each day circumstances jumped to 43 — up from 26 a day earlier. Most of the circumstances have been native infections. The town has thus far recorded greater than 5,500 circumstances and 108 deaths, in line with the federal government’s web site.

Journey authorities from each side have at all times mentioned the deal can be suspended if the Covid-19 state of affairs in both metropolis deteriorates.

The Singapore-Hong Kong air journey bubble settlement was initially because of begin on Nov. 22 with a single flight each day into every metropolis, restricted to a most of 200 passengers per flight.

Beneath the association — the primary for each locations because the pandemic — the variety of flights will enhance provided that the unfold of Covid-19 in each cities stays below management.

Earlier Saturday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore introduced that each one arriving passengers from Hong Kong can be required to take an extra Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Response (PCR) check upon arrival. They might additionally must self-isolate of their place of residence — be it a lodge or dwelling — as they look forward to the outcomes which can take about six to eight hours, the aviation authority mentioned.

To be clear, all passengers from Hong Kong below the air journey bubble settlement would have already been required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 PCR check and procure a unfavourable check end result earlier than departing for Singapore.

The preliminary air journey bubble settlement introduced on Nov. 11 didn’t require any isolation of passengers from Hong Kong upon arrival.

Hong Kong’s ‘new wave’

Hong Kong imposed new restrictions on Saturday as town noticed a resurgence within the variety of circumstances this previous week. Secretary for Meals and Well being Sophia Chan mentioned Friday the state of affairs was “extreme.”

“We’ve got most likely entered into a brand new wave of circumstances,” she mentioned at a press briefing on Friday, citing specialists from the Centre for Well being Safety.

The federal government met late Friday to finalize different contingency measures aimed toward stemming the unfold of the virus, and won’t rule out extra stringent restrictions, Chief Govt Carrie Lam mentioned in a Fb publish.

New restrictions embody the banning of golf equipment and celebration rooms, in addition to prohibiting dwell performances and dancing in bars and pubs. The federal government introduced earlier this week that main colleges might be suspended for 2 weeks from Monday.

A lot-anticipated deal

The settlement was extremely anticipated and hailed as a “milestone” by the Singapore authorities, as the 2 cities sought to revive the aviation sector. Each Asian monetary hubs have been badly hit by the disaster as they don’t have any home demand for flights.

In accordance with journey operator Klook, different international locations have been carefully watching the success of the deal.

Eric Gnock Fah, the chief working officer of the bookings platform, advised CNBC final week that tourism authorities throughout Asia have been watching to see if the Hong Kong-Singapore journey bubble succeeded, amid hopes of ultimately making their very own plans for such preparations.

“Most of the different tourism boards round Asia have been very lively coming to us to debate in regards to the plans that they’ve put in place,” he advised CNBC earlier than the Hong Kong-Singapore journey bubble was suspended.

Searches for the 2 locations surged greater than eight occasions when the announcement was initially made, he mentioned.

— CNBC’s Karen Gilchrist contributed to this report.

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