S'pore open to travel bubble with Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan & Brunei

The transport minister called these regions 'natural partners'.

Joshua Lee | April 26, 2021, 03:56 PM

The Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) is set to launch on May 26 -- barring any deterioration of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in both cities -- and Singapore is open to more air travel bubbles with other regions, said Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung today (April 26) during a doorstop interview.

Moving forward, Ong said that there are several "natural partners" that Singapore is open to having air travel bubbles with.

Ong was pointing to Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, China, and Taiwan.

"These are the few places and so far that there's no evidence suggesting that travelling in to Singapore from these travellers have led to any community cases."

However, he also stressed that the key objective of the ATB is to remove the Stay-Home Notice and quarantine requirements while containing the risks.

To that end, Ong said, Singapore can employ a mix of measures like finding "safe" partners, "bubble-wrapping" a traveller's itinerary, conducting rigorous testing, and encouraging vaccination in order to replace Stay-Home Notice.

"So you've got four ways to lower risks that can potentially potentially replace SHN, and you don't work in isolation, you can mix and match combine them. And I think we are finding the right formula to combine those measures in order to remove SHN."

Travelling to Hong Kong in the SG-HK Air Travel Bubble

Regarding the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble, there are a few changes that travellers to Hong Kong should take note of.

Who can travel in the S'pore-Hong Kong ATB?

Anyone can travel from Singapore to Hong Kong in the ATB, regardless of their nationality or citizenship.

There will be no restrictions on the type of travel or itinerary, which means that anyone who wants to travel, regardless of reason for travel, will be able to do so.

However, they must have remained in Singapore for at least 14 consecutive days prior to departure.

This 14-day period excludes any compulsory Stay-Home Notice (SHN) period arising from their last return to Singapore from overseas.

One thing to note: Holders of Work Permits or S-Passes issued by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower working in the construction, marine shipyard, or process sectors are excluded from travelling from Singapore to Hong Kong on the ATB.

Covid-19 testing

Travellers must take a pre-departure Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time of the designated ATB flight and obtain a negative test result.

Travellers must also take a Covid-19 test upon arriving at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and remain at the airport until their test result comes back negative.

As of now, travellers departing Singapore for Hong Kong are not required to be vaccinated. However, Hong Kong will require those departing from Hong Kong to be vaccinated.

Must download LeaveHomeSafe app while in HK

Travellers from Singapore are required to download and install the LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) app on their mobile devices prior to leaving for Hong Kong.

During the duration of their stay in Hong Kong, travellers are required to scan the LHS QR codes displayed at the relevant premises they visit, and retain their LHS app visitation records for 31 consecutive days after leaving Hong Kong.

Stringent conditions for starting ATB

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) also announced very stringent measures for monitoring the Covid-19 situation in both cities.

Both cities will use the seven-day moving average of daily unlinked Covid-19 cases as a barometer.

This does not include cases reported from the migrant worker dormitories because the risk profile of a dormitory case is much lower than that of a community case, said Ong Ye Kung.

A seven-day moving average here refers to the total number of unlinked cases over the past seven days divided by seven days.

If that number is more than five in either Hong Kong or Singapore, the ATB will be suspended for 14 days. The suspension will start after two days, and it will last for two weeks.

Conditions for resuming the ATB are even more stringent.

The seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong and Singapore must not exceed five on the last day of the 14-day suspension period.

In addition, there must be three consecutive days where the daily number of unlinked local Covid-19 cases does not exceed three in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local Covid-19 cases on the last day of the three consecutive days does not exceed five in both places.

Top images by Photoholgic on Unsplash, Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash