Hong Kong has postponed a much-hyped travel bubble with Singapore due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the city, just hours after their counterparts in Singapore said it would go ahead.
Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, announced the two-week delay during a press conference on Saturday.
“We had planned to launch the HK-Singapore travel bubble tomorrow,” Yau said. “But in the light of the recent upsurge of local cases, we have decided together with Singapore government that we would defer the launching of the Air Travel bubble by two weeks.”
“We will make further announcements perhaps by early December on the formal launching of the scheme,” he added.
Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung also announced in a Twitter post that the bubble has been delayed.
But hours earlier, Singapore had said the bubble would go ahead despite the spike in Hong Kong, with extra precautions added to ensure safety.
The “Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced that the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) will be launched as scheduled, with arriving passengers subject to an on-arrival test as a further precaution,” Ong explained on Saturday.
“Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yau and I discussed further this afternoon, and decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the ATB, by two weeks. We will review within two weeks on the new launch date and update again,” Ong said.
Hong Kong has experienced a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the last few days after weeks of steadily low cases loads.
“The scale of the increase is very alarming,” said Doctor Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch at Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection. She warned on Saturday that this new increase in cases will be “very difficult to control.”