Singapore Airlines crew members at Changi International Airport in Singapore on October 24, 2020.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – Singapore and Hong Kong will continue their air travel arrangements as planned on Sunday. However, additional precautions will be taken as new cases of coronavirus increase in Hong Kong.
The Singapore Civil Aviation Authority announced on Saturday that all arriving passengers from Hong Kong will have to perform an additional PCR (Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction) test upon arrival.
They also need to self-isolate where they live – be it a hotel or home – as they wait for results, which will take around six to eight hours, according to the aviation authority.
To be clear, under the Air Bubble Agreement, all Hong Kong passengers had to take a Covid-19 PCR test prior to departure and receive a negative test result before flying to Singapore.
"As mentioned earlier, travelers will now undergo another COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival," the latest version of CAAS states.
The first air bubble deal, announced on November 11, did not include isolation of Hong Kong passengers on arrival.
Hong Kong's "new wave"
Hong Kong reported Friday that the number of new daily cases rose to 26 and most of them were local infections.
"We have likely entered a new wave of cases," said the city's Minister of Food and Health, Sophia Chan, in a press conference Friday, citing experts from the Center for Health Protection.
She said the situation was "serious" and called on citizens to stop all unnecessary gatherings.
The government met late Friday to finalize further emergency measures to contain the spread of the virus and won't rule out stricter restrictions, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a Facebook post.
Hong Kong imposed new restrictions on Saturday, including banning clubs and party rooms, as well as banning live performances and dancing in bars and pubs. The government had previously announced that elementary schools would be closed for two weeks from Monday.
The health authorities of Singapore and Hong Kong are in close contact and are monitoring the situation.
Singapore Civil Aviation Authority
Travel authorities on both sides have always said that the deal will be suspended if the Covid-19 situation worsens in both cities.
The Hong Kong-Singapore air bubble agreement is set to begin on November 22nd with a single flight per day to each city, limited to a maximum of 200 passengers per flight. The number of flights will only increase if the spread of Covid-19 is kept under control in both cities.
The Singapore Aviation Authority reiterated Saturday that the air travel bubble "will be suspended if the seven-day moving average for unlinked cases exceeds five per day".
"The number for Hong Kong is currently 2.14," said CAAS. "The threshold will be exceeded if there are more than 22 unrelated cases in Hong Kong in the next three days. This will trigger a two-day notice period after which the suspension will take effect."
"The health authorities of Singapore and Hong Kong are in close contact and are monitoring the situation," said the aviation authority.