Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble delayed by jump in HK COVID-19 cases

PETER PARKS / AFP

A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, due to launch on Sunday, will be postponed for two weeks after the Chinese controlled city reported a jump in daily coronavirus cases, Hong Kong officials said on Saturday.

The travel bubble, which allows a limited number of passengers to fly both ways without having to go through quarantine, will be revisited in early December, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau told media.

"In the light of the recent upsurge of local cases, we have decided together with Singapore government that (we) will defer the launch of the shuttle bubble by two weeks," he said. "Today's decision is a responsible decision."

The suspension comes as Hong Kong reported 43 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest daily toll in nearly three months. It is also facing more than 60 preliminary cases.

Under the "travel bubble" arrangement, people would be allowed to travel between the two cities without observing quarantine but must take a COVID-19 test before departure and upon arrival. There would be no restrictions on the purpose of travel.

Travellers would also have to take designated flights, with only Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines having been selected to operate these flights for now.

Hong Kong has recorded over 5,500 coronavirus cases and 108 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.

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