Scoot passenger flights barred from entering Hong Kong after two passengers tested COVID-19 positive

Scoot passenger flights barred from entering Hong Kong after two passengers tested COVID-19 positive

Scoot air planes are seen on the tarmac at Singapore's Changi Airport
Scoot airplanes on the tarmac at Changi Airport. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Scoot passenger flights departing from Singapore will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong from Friday (Apr 16) to Apr 29, the government of Hong Kong said on Thursday.

The announcement came in a daily press release providing updates and COVID-19 case numbers for the territory.

Thursday's press release stated that a Scoot passenger flight (TR980), arriving from Singapore to Hong Kong on Apr 11, had two passengers who tested positive for COVID-19.

One passenger had also failed to comply with requirements “specified under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H),” said the release.

According to a Hong Kong government website on COVID-19, the requirements prescribed by Chapter 599H are quarantine-related.

“The DH (Department of Health) thus invoked the regulation to prohibit landing of passenger flights from Singapore operated by Scoot in Hong Kong from April 16 to 29,” said the release.

SCOOT TO REINFORCE PROTOCOLS IN CONDUCTING DOCUMENT CHECKS

Responding to CNA's queries, Scoot confirmed the suspension of daily flights from Singapore to Hong Kong.

"Two transfer passengers on flight TR980 on Apr 11, 2021, who carried valid negative pre-departure COVID-19 test results, tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong," the airline said.

"A third transfer passenger on board the same flight had negative pre-departure COVID-19 test results, and also tested negative on arrival in Hong Kong. 

"However, this passenger’s test and travel visa supporting documents were found to not fully meet Hong Kong’s regulatory requirements.

The airline added that it will work closely with ground handling agents to "reinforce our protocols and staff training" in conducting document checks during departure, "and to ensure that the passengers we carry are in compliance with all regulatory requirements".

Scoot also apologised to passengers who have bought tickets for the flight during the suspension period. 

"For affected passengers booked on TR980 departing from Apr 16 onwards, Scoot will provide re-booking where possible or offer a full refund.

"Scoot sincerely apologises to our customers for the inconvenience caused."

The airline added that its Hong Kong to Singapore passenger flights would not be affected.

READ: Singapore Airlines passenger flights to Hong Kong suspended after COVID-19 testing 'trigger point' breached, says CAAS

The suspension of Scoot passenger flights comes less than two weeks after the Hong Kong government had banned Singapore Airlines (SIA) passenger flights departing from Singapore from landing in Hong Kong.

This was after a passenger on SQ882, flying from Singapore to Hong Kong on Mar 31, was confirmed to have COVID-19 after being tested on arrival in the territory.

In addition, three passengers had also "failed to comply with requirements specified under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H)".

The ban began from Apr 3 and will end on Friday.

READ: Singapore finalising details of air travel bubble with Hong Kong, says Ong Ye Kung

On Wednesday, Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore and Hong Kong are in “active discussion” on starting the long-delayed air travel bubble between the two cities.

"We are finalising the details of our revised agreement and hope to announce our plans soon," he said in a statement issued by Singapore's Ministry of Transport.

This comes after Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the territory plans to allow only residents who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel to Singapore under the travel bubble, describing this requirement as the "basis for discussion" between the two cities. 

This is despite authorities in Singapore not requiring mandatory vaccinations for Hong Kong travellers under the arrangement, she noted. 

“We want to provide incentives to encourage Hong Kong citizens to get vaccinated," said Ms Lam. 

Mr Ong had last month said that Singapore was studying a proposal from Hong Kong to reopen borders safely, after the territory had managed to bring the pandemic under control.

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Source: CNA/kg(ta)

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