Singapore: Singapore is considering a Hong Kong proposal to reopen the borders safely, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday (March 29th) after a Hong Kong official said he resumed talks on a travel bubble with Singapore .
“We are very happy that Hong Kong has brought the pandemic under control in recent weeks. This is a very positive development, ”Mr. Ong said in a statement.
“We have received a proposal from Hong Kong to reopen the borders safely. We are studying it and will respond shortly in Hong Kong. “
There are two conditions for the resumption of the travel bubble with Singapore, Hong Kong Trade and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau told reporters on Monday.
These include a COVID-19 test before departure and after arrival.
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“As Professor Chan said, there is now a vaccination program and we have enough vaccines for the whole population,” he said, referring to the Secretary of Food and Sophia Chan health.
“So under the travel bubble arrangement, if Hong Kong people are to travel, and if we are to start travel bubble arrangements with other places, then vaccination will be a requirement.
“It’s for our own protection. I think that will be the long term trend in the world. “
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Singapore and Hong Kong were due to launch an air bubble in November last year, but it was postponed after Hong Kong saw an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
On November 21, a day before the flights started, it was announced that the launch of the travel bubble had been postponed until early December.
It was then pushed back to 2021, with the exact start date yet to be determined.
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As part of this travel bubble arrangement, travelers between Singapore and Hong Kong will be subjected to COVID-19 testing instead of quarantine or a stay-at-home notice.
There were also no restrictions on the purpose of the trip and no requirement for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship.
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Mr Yau noted that the seven-day average figure of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong had fallen since early March to less than five.
This was the “trigger point” for Hong Kong to resume talks with Singapore, he said, adding that the city was also exploring travel bubble arrangements with more than 10 other countries and territories.
“We have written to some of the better doing countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand – their epidemic has subsided considerably, so we will resume the discussion with them, but of course it depends on the actual epidemic situation at the time, ”Yau said.
Hong Kong officials also announced on Monday that the city will ease some of its coronavirus restrictions as the number of local infections drops dramatically, following an outbreak earlier this month that saw an increase in cases and forced thousands of people into quarantine.
The quarantine for arrivals from countries considered low to medium risk – such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – will also be reduced from 21 days to 14 days.
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