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Singapore monitoring COVID-19 situation as cases rise ahead of Hong Kong travel bubble

Singapore monitoring COVID-19 situation as cases rise ahead of Hong Kong travel bubble

FILE PHOTO: A view of an empty departure hall at Singapore's Changi Airport, Singapore January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE: Singapore is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Wednesday (May 5), as community cases in Singapore spike ahead of the launch of a travel bubble with Hong Kong.

"The vast majority of the community cases in Singapore are linked. We must expect such ups and downs, which is why we have set the target launch date of the air travel bubble a month after the announcement," said a ministry spokesperson in an email reply to queries from CNA.

"We need to continuously find ways to gradually open up our borders for air travel, to ensure the long-term survival of Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines."

READ: Singapore, Hong Kong to relaunch travel bubble on May 26

Responding to a reporter's question about the travel bubble during the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Tuesday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said Singapore and Hong Kong "remain in touch".

"We will monitor the situation and we will review and assess whether or not there will be any changes and give updates in due course," he said.

When the travel bubble was announced, for the second time, on Apr 26, it was set to launch on May 26. This came after a previous launch in November 2020 was delayed after a spike in cases in Hong Kong.

READ: Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble: What you need to know before booking a flight

But there has now been a jump in local cases in Singapore which prompted authorities here to tighten COVID-19 management measures from May 8 to May 30.

Singapore has also announced tougher border restrictions, extending stay-home notices to 21 days for travellers from higher-risk countries or regions. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble will be suspended for at least 14 days if the seven-day moving average of unlinked local COVID-19 cases a day, excluding dormitory resident cases in Singapore, is more than five in either Singapore or Hong Kong.

Singapore's cases have not reached that threshold.

The number of new cases in the community has increased from 11 cases in the week before to 64 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from four cases in the week before to 10 cases in the past week, MOH said in an update on Tuesday night.

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Source: CNA/hm(cy)

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