Singapore and Hong Kong are finally opening a travel bubble that will greatly ease movement between the two regions.
Singapore, a Southeast Asian city-state, and Hong Kong, a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, have been plotting a travel bubble for months. The bubble was initially supposed to be enacted in November, but was delayed due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.
The bubble, officially named the Air Travel Bubble (ATB), will finally launch on May 26.
“I am happy that Hong Kong got the Covid-19 situation under control. It has been a long few months, but the conditions are now ripe again to re-launch the ATB,” Mr. Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport told the BBC in an emailed statement.
The ATB will ramp up gradually. For the first two weeks, it will only feature one flight to each city, each carrying a maximum of 200 passengers. Passengers from Hong Kong will be required to be fully vaccinated, and travelers from both destinations will be required to take a COVID-19 test within three days of departure and once again when they arrive. All travelers participating in the bubble will be required to download both Singapore and Hong Kong’s contact tracing apps.
According to the BBC, if “the seven-day moving average of unlinked community cases in either place increases to more than five,” the ATB will be paused for a period of two weeks before ramping back up.
“Our goal remains striking a right balance between public health and travel convenience so that the public will feel assured while providing certainty,” Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau told the BBC.
Singapore and Hong Kong’s ATB comes less than two weeks after the creation of a similar bubble between New Zealand and Australia—though that bubble has since been paused due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the latter country.