Hong Kong-Singapore quarantine-free travel bubble to commence on May 26

Travellers between the Singapore and Hong Kong will be required to download the contact tracing app used in each respective city-state.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: Getty

The Hong Kong and Singapore governments have jointly announced that quarantine-free international flights between the two jurisdictions will begin on May 26.

Under the terms of the air travel bubble (ATB), travellers departing from Hong Kong to Singapore are required to download, register, and use Singapore's TraceTogether mobile app. Meanwhile, travellers from Singapore to Hong Kong will be required to download and use Hong Kong's LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) application, and relevant records must be retained for 31 days after departing Hong Kong.

Travellers within the ATB must also test negative to COVID-19 both before and upon arrival, and cannot have visited anywhere else other than the two cities for two weeks before their flights, under the terms of the travel bubble.

Additionally, Hong Kong travellers will be required to have had two doses of coronavirus vaccine at least 14 days before their flight to qualify, the governments said, noting it as a way to encourage Hong Kong citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The travel bubble arrangement between the two locations was agreed to in November last year, and designated flights were originally scheduled to begin in the same month. However, the launch of the travel bubble was delayed when COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong worsened.

"With the gradual stabilisation of Hong Kong's epidemic situation since mid-February and satisfactory epidemic control in Singapore all along, the two governments consider that now is a suitable time to re-launch the ATB," the Singapore government said.

When the ATB commences, one flight a day will travel in each direction, with passenger numbers to be capped at 200 each flight for the first two weeks, with numbers to be reviewed thereafter.

Both sides added they will continue to "closely monitor" the pandemic in the lead up to the launch date.

"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 Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said.

"The re-launch of ATB not only meets the aspirations of the people and business communities on cross-border travel, but also signifies that gradual resumption of cross-border travel is achievable through mutual collaborations among different places.

"We will continue to maintain communication with the Singapore government and closely monitor the epidemic development of both places to ensure the smooth launch of ATB."

Just last week, Australia and New Zealand resumed air travel. However, quarantine-free travel between Western Australia and New Zealand was paused over the weekend, following a COVID-19 outbreak in Perth that sent the state into a snap three-day lockdown to curb any potential spread.

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