Travelers from Singapore will be the first to land in Hong Kong since all nonresidents were banned from the country in March. That’s after Singapore announced this month it would create the world’s first “travel bubble” with Hong Kong, after ministers from both governments announced a preliminary agreement this week.
Under this agreement, residents from either city will soon be able to travel to the other without having to quarantine, so long as they test negative for Covid-19.
The Beginning of a Trend
This begins a strategy to open travel among countries that have the corona virus under control. Singapore is also lifting restrictions on visitors from Brunei, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia, except for the state of Victoria, where cases are still high. Before the pandemic, these countries represented almost half of Singapore’s passenger traffic. So, this is welcomed news for Singapore’s travel-dependent industries.
Before these agreements, only business travelers had been able to take advantage of business corridors that were off-limits to the casual traveler. Once it’s in place, those who need to visit family, friends, or who just need some adventure, can board a plane bound for one of the other cities in Singapore’s expanding quarantine-free bubble.
In fact, we expect more of these agreements in the coming months as cities and countries carefully open travel to other low-risk locales. It’s a move toward normalcy, while also keeping new case numbers in check.
Essentially, countries considered safe can be treated as one single quarantine area. People within this area need not apply for permission but may be tested upon arrival as a precaution.
Testing Replaces Quarantine
Details of the of the Singapore-Hong Kong Bubble and other Singapore Travel Bubbles will be fleshed out in the coming weeks, but we do know that testing plays a central role. Travelers must prove they have been in their origin cities for 14 days before departure and will need to take Covid-19 tests that are recognized by both countries. The cost of the tests and who bears that burden haven’t yet been disclosed.
Travel bubbles have been difficult to establish because the virus keeps flaring in communities where it had once been under control and because a 14-day quarantine requirement proved too disruptive for most travelers.
A survey of travelers by the IATA in June found that 83% were unwilling to travel if it meant a 14-day quarantine. This deal between Singapore and Hong Kong has eliminated that requirement.
To find out more about traveling to Singapore, or from Singapore, or anywhere in the world, your best source of information is your Jetex Travel Team.