Vaccinations needed for Hong Kong travellers to S'pore in travel bubble: Carrie Lam

HK Commerce Secretary Edward Yau previously mentioned a proposal for vaccination for HK residents travelling overseas.

Sulaiman Daud | April 13, 2021, 03:20 PM

[Editor’s note, Apr. 14, 10:55am: The article was updated to reflect that Carrie Lam stated that Hong Kong will require vaccinations for travellers leaving for Singapore.]

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Singapore will not make vaccination of Hong Kong visitors a requirement for participation in an Air Travel Bubble.

However, she added that Hong Kong will require travellers leaving for Singapore to be vaccinated.

The Straits Times reported Lam's comments on April 13, before a weekly council meeting.

She added that she expected an "early indication of agreement" that would allow both sides to inform the public when travel between the two cities can resume.

Hong Kong's proposal

Previously, Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau said on March 29 that Hong Kong residents had to complete two doses of vaccination and wait for 14 days prior to their flight.

He added that this was for the protection of Hong Kong residents before they travelled overseas in a bubble arrangement:

"If Hong Kong people are to travel and if we are to start any travel bubble arrangements with other places, then vaccination will be a requirement. I believe that will be the trend around the world in the long run."

Yau mentioned that this proposal had been submitted to Singapore, and Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung confirmed that the Singapore government is studying it.

Ong noted then that the Hong Kong government had kept the pandemic under control, and called it a "very positive development".

ST added that Hong Kong has been recording two to three local infections daily in the past week, as of April 12.

No plans to impose vaccination as a requirement for entry: Ong Ye Kung on March 1

Previously in Parliament on March 1, Ong touched upon the issue of recognising vaccination for overseas travellers.

In reply to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) Gan Thiam Poh, Ong said Singapore is in discussions with the International Civil Aviation Organization on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.

He added that over the past year, Singapore allowed some travel to take place without requiring vaccinations as a condition for entry, and the ministry had no plans to impose such requirements now.

Instead, testing and Stay-Home Notices are used to protect the community from the spread of Covid-19.

Ong again discussed vaccination for foreign travellers in Parliament on March 5.

Responding to MP Ang Wei Neng, Ong said that vaccinations are only one aspect of pandemic control, with social distancing, contact tracing, quarantine and testing also vital elements.

In another speech on the same day, Ong elaborated that Singapore could combine vaccination with tests and bubble-wrapped travel to open up air travel corridors, once having identified places with low-to-moderate infection rates.

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Top image from Carrie Lam's Facebook page.