SINGAPORE: Singapore and Hong Kong are in “active discussion” on starting the long-delayed air travel bubble between the two cities, confirmed Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Wednesday (Apr 14).
"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.
The air travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was originally scheduled to begin in November last year, but was deferred due to a spike in infections in Hong Kong.
The scheme would have allowed people to travel between the two cities with no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirement for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship.
Travellers would be subject only to COVID-19 tests, without the need for quarantine or stay-home notices.
Earlier this month Hong Kong had announced that Singapore Airlines (SIA) passenger flights departing from Singapore would not be allowed to land in the territory between Apr 3 and Apr 16.
This came after a passenger onboard an SIA flight was confirmed to have COVID-19, while three others had failed to comply with pandemic requirements.
In response to CNA's queries, SIA said the four passengers were transit passengers, all of whom had negative pre-departure test results.