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

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

SilkAir, Singapore Airlines and Scoot planes sit on the tarmac at Changi Airport in Singapore. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Hong Kong on Monday (Apr 26) announced that a long-delayed air travel bubble between the two cities is set to launch on May 26, after it was deferred last year following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.

Under the travel bubble, there are no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirements for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship.

Here are the things you need to know before booking your flight:

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR TRAVEL UNDER THE TRAVEL BUBBLE?

Individuals who have remained in Singapore and/or Hong Kong for 14 consecutive days prior to departure are eligible for travel.

However, this period excludes any compulsory quarantine or stay-home notice period arising from their last return to Singapore or Hong Kong from overseas.

Singapore work permit or S-Pass holders working in the construction, marine shipyard, or process sectors are excluded from travelling from Singapore to Hong Kong under the travel bubble.

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

HOW MANY FLIGHTS WILL THERE BE?

Travel under the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble must be on designated flights, currently operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Transit passengers and those not travelling under the air travel bubble will not be allowed on the designated flights.

From May 26 to Jun 9, there will be one flight per day from Singapore to Hong Kong and vice-versa, with up to 200 passengers per flight.

This will increase to two flights daily, with up to 200 passengers per flight, from Jun 10.

The number of flights will be allocated equally between Singapore-based and Hong Kong-based airlines, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in a release on Monday.

READ: SIA welcomes Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble relaunch; daily flights to start in June

 

WILL YOU NEED A COVID-19 TEST?

Travellers must test negative for COVID-19 in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which must be taken within 72 hours before their scheduled departure flight.

The tests can be done at recognised clinics, testing centres or testing institutions in Singapore and Hong Kong.

In addition, they must also take a PCR test upon arrival.

Children aged six or younger in that calendar year are not required to take the pre-departure or on-arrival test when travelling to Singapore.

Travellers arriving in Singapore are “strongly encouraged to register and pre-pay for their on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test prior to departing Hong Kong”, CAAS said.

After their on-arrival tests, travellers are to head immediately to their declared place of accommodation, where they must remain isolated until a negative test result is confirmed. They may take private transportation, taxi or private hire car from the airport.

Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders will be allowed to self-isolate at their place of residence while awaiting the COVID-19 results.

READ: Hong Kong government bars Singapore Airlines passenger flights from Apr 3 to 16; COVID-19 case detected

Visitors must book an accommodation in Singapore to serve out their self-isolation period for one to two days, while awaiting results. This must be a non-residential place and an individual room with an attached toilet.

“Checks will be made to ensure that this is adhered to,” CAAS said. “After being notified of their negative test results, travellers will be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore.”

For those travelling to Hong Kong, post-arrival PCR tests must be booked and paid for before they leave Singapore. Travellers will remain at the Hong Kong airport while awaiting their results.

WILL YOU NEED TO BE VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19?

Travellers from Singapore will not be required to have been vaccinated.

Hong Kong requires its residents to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before their flight to Singapore.

This, however, does not apply to residents who are below 16 years old, not suitable for the vaccine due to medical grounds, with less than 90 days’ stay in Hong Kong before departure or travelling under non-Hong Kong travel documents.

WILL YOU NEED TO DOWNLOAD CONTACT TRACING APPS?

Travellers will need to download and install their destination city’s contract-tracing applications prior to departure.

In Singapore, short-term visitors from Hong Kong will be required to download and register for the TraceTogether app on their mobile devices, keep it activated during their stay and not delete it for 14 consecutive days after leaving the city.

READ: More than 18,200 people visited Singapore through unilateral border openings; 70% from China

Visitors to Hong Kong are required to download and install the LeaveHomeSafe app on their mobile devices.

During the duration of their stay in Hong Kong, they must scan the QR codes displayed at the relevant premises they visit and retain the app’s visitation records for 31 days after leaving Hong Kong.

WHAT OTHER REQUIREMENTS ARE NEEDED?

Travellers from Singapore must fill in and submit a health declaration using the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration Form within 48 hours prior to arrival in Hong Kong, as well as get the relevant QR code.

Those travelling from Hong Kong are required to full in and submit the SG Arrival card within three days prior to arrival in Singapore. Short-term visitors will also need to apply for an Air Travel Pass between seven to 30 calendar days prior to their intended date of entry into Singapore.

They can apply for the pass on or after May 26.

WHAT CAN AFFECT THE PLANNED LAUNCH DATE?

The air travel bubble will be suspended for at least 14 days if the seven-day average of the daily number of unlinked local COVID-19 cases (excluding dormitory resident cases in Singapore) is more than five in either city, said CAAS.

READ: COVID-19 measures eased for travellers from Hong Kong, UK, South Africa and vaccinated people in official delegations

It can resume on the next day if the seven-day moving average of daily unlinked local cases in Hong Kong and Singapore does not exceed five on the last day of the suspension period or any subsequent day.

If this is met, there must also be three consecutive days where the daily number of unlinked local cases does not exceed three in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the seven-day moving average of such cases on the last day of this period does not exceed five in both places.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU FALL SICK?

Should travellers become COVID-19 positive while in Hong Kong, they will need to shoulder the full cost of any medical treatment “subject to the respective cities’ prevailing medical and healthcare policies”, said CAAS.

Short-term visitors from Hong Kong are required to buy travel insurance with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COVID-19 related medical treatment and hospitalisation cost prior to travel to Singapore. This is part of the requirements under the Air Travel Pass.

“Travellers must comply with the prevailing public health and safe distancing measures in Singapore and Hong Kong,” said CAAS. “These include mask wearing and restrictions on group gatherings.”

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Source: CNA/ga

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