Singapore in 'close contact' with Hong Kong over 'severe' COVID-19 situation there ahead of air travel bubble launch

Singapore in 'close contact' with Hong Kong over 'severe' COVID-19 situation there ahead of air travel bubble launch

Singapore Hong Kong skyline
The skylines of Singapore (left) and Hong Kong (right) at night. (Photos: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Authorities in Singapore will update the public "shortly" regarding the upcoming launch of an air travel bubble with Hong Kong, after a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong on Friday (Nov 20).

Singapore is due to launch an air travel bubble with Hong Kong on Sunday, with an initial one flight a day into each city.

However, Hong Kong recorded 26 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, with the city's top health official describing the situation as "severe".

It was previously reported that the arrangement would be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average for unlinked coronavirus infections exceeds five in either city.

In response to a CNA query, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that members of the public have asked if plans for the travel bubble will proceed as planned in light of the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong.

READ: Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble: What you need to know

READ: Hong Kong closes more schools as COVID-19 situation turns 'severe', health minister says

"We are working closely with Singapore Ministry of Health to gather the facts, and will update the public shortly," said CAAS.

"The Singapore and Hong Kong Governments are in close contact on the situation."

Under the air travel bubble arrangement between Singapore and Hong Kong scheduled to begin on Sunday, travellers will not be subject to quarantine or stay-home notice.

Travellers have to take COVID-19 tests and dedicated flights, but there are no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirement for a controlled itinerary.

Hong Kong has been spared the dramatic escalation of COVID-19 cases seen in other major cities, with new daily infections having mostly been in the single-digits or low double digits in recent weeks.

Of the 26 new cases reported on Friday, 21 were local transmissions, prompting Health Secretary Sophia Chan to say the city has "probably entered" a fourth wave of infections.

Hong Kong health authorities said another 40 people were likely to be infected, awaiting final confirmation.

Hong Kong now has a total of 5,517 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 108 fatalities. 

Singapore on Friday reported 4 new COVID-19 cases, all of which were imported. No locally transmitted cases were reported for the 10th consecutive day. Singapore's tally of COVID-19 infections stands at 58,143, with 28 fatalities.

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