Ahead of Hong Kong travel bubble launch, Singapore ramps up testing, tightens entry rules for travellers


Ahead of Hong Kong travel bubble launch, …
BTS and TXT to feature in new K-pop mobile…
The biggest difference between the new…
Where to buy PS5 in Australia: keep…
Once Vilified, Pot Is Becoming (Gasp!)…
Sergio Reguilon Says Gareth Bale is…
1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R Still Feels…
United is bringing back its ultra-premium
World coronavirus count reaches over 50…
HK’s TVB drops Jacqueline Wong for…
New installation at waterfront garden
Lyft’s ride-hailing business is starting to…
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on PS4 is $20…
New Jersey sues 3 firms over chemicals in…
The Ninja Indoor Grill That Doubles as an…
Ireland FA Confirm Positive COVID-19…
Job diary: I’m an LA-based flight attendant…
Norwegian Air furloughs staff, pleads…
Apple’s new M1 computers top out at…
Xbox Live struggles with logins on Xbox…
Qapita to digitise records for startups…
6 Instructor-Approved Yoga Blocks (& Tips…
Forget pumpkin! Pecan pie is the holiday…
Mikel Arteta urged to make key defensive…
Send a tip on music that inspired your…
How to preorder the new Arm-based Mac…
The PS5 Lets You Automatically Invert…
Restaurants struggling to survive the…
Apple Announces New MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, And Mac Mini With M1…
Singapore authorities will tighten entry requirements for most travellers from next Tuesday, even as it prepares to launch quarantine-free travel with Hong Kong, with an announcement on the start date of the travel bubble expected on Wednesday.
In a press statement on Tuesday, Singapore’s multi-ministry task force to manage the Covid-19 pandemic said travellers entering Singapore who were not citizens or permanent residents from 11.59pm on November 17 must show a negative coronavirus test taken 72 hours before their flight to the city state.
Only nine “lower-risk” countries and regions are exempted – Hong Kong, mainland China, Brunei, New Zealand, Vietnam, Australia, Macau, Taiwan, and Malaysia excluding Sabah.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
It also noted that travellers from Hong Kong would continue to serve the seven-day stay home notice in their place of residence if they were “not under the approved Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble”.
Video player from: YouTube (Privacy Policy, Terms)
Both governments had, in announcing plans to open their borders to each other for leisure travel after more than eight months, said there would be designated travel bubble flights. These would only be for travellers who had been in either city for at least 14 days before departure and not transit passengers. Travellers would need to take mutually-recognised Covid-19 tests.
Airlines plying the world’s 17th busiest route between the air hubs had kept mum about flight operations, leaving travellers wondering if prearranged bookings would automatically qualify for the travel bubble.
Singapore Airlines is currently selling tickets for 10 flights a week between the two cities, while Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific has been doing so for its seven flights a week.
Hong Kong’s commerce secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah said this month the bubble would begin towards the end of November.
There would be at least one flight between the two cities every day and travel agencies could start selling tickets by the middle of the month, he said.
Flight searches between Singapore and Hong Kong leapt to 50 per cent of 2019 levels following the announcement of the travel bubble. The number of realised bookings subsequently jumped to 30 per cent of pre-crisis levels from the same time last year a week after the announcement on October 15, according to travel data firm ForwardKeys.
Asked if Singapore would establish travel bubbles with Macau and Taiwan, Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the virus task force, said the government was open to it.
The new tighter rules for other travellers were based on indicators such as the number of cases and measures put in place by those economies before deciding on the regulations.
“There is some qualitative assessment on top of the reported figures,” he said.
“It’s a dynamic process because the situation evolves very rapidly so we continuously update the classification.”
Singapore seems to have contained the virus, with few or no new cases in the community in the past few weeks. More social activities and meetings have resumed, with some bars and nightclubs reopening from next month under a pilot programme.
The country was now increasing the accessibility of coronavirus testing, the task force said. Companies or individuals who require a test can procure test kits or services from some 600 clinics across the island starting November 30.
“We are also conducting pilots on pre-event testing using antigen rapid tests to enable more large-scale and higher-risk activities to resume in a safer manner,” said the press statement.
Officials also touched on vaccines, given American pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its experimental Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective.
Video player from: YouTube (Privacy Policy, Terms)
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, the other co-chair of the task force, said the city state had further broadened and diversified its vaccine portfolio directly with “a number of” pharmaceutical companies, in a bid to improve its chances of securing a vaccine for Singaporeans. He declined to elaborate on which vaccine companies Singapore was working with, citing commercial confidentiality and noting that some contracts were still being negotiated.
Gan added the health ministry had last month set up a committee made up of experts to closely monitor data from vaccine clinical trials, and would recommend the vaccination approach for different segments of the Singapore population.
Even with a vaccine, it would take time to vaccinate the entire population, the health minister made said.
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Millionaire MENSA Trader’s Top Weekly Picks
Standard Chartered by CNBC Catalyst

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.