The authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore have reached agreement in principle, on a “travel bubble” that would allow residents of the respective places to engage in leisure travel in each direction, quarantine-free, according to Edward Yau Tang-wah, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.
A number of investment analysts has said that curbs on inbound travel to Singapore amid the Covid-19 pandemic, have been a constraint on business recovery for Singapore’s two casino resorts. Hong Kong – which according to some investment analysts had before the crisis supplied at least 10 percent of Macau’s annual gross gaming revenue – has not yet announced plans for a quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau.
Mr Yau did not mention in his Thursday comments, a date for introducing the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble.
General travel would be permitted – not just official and business journeys – as long as people could provide certification they had tested negative for Covid-19 infection.
A virus test result would have to be obtained prior to each traveller departing from their home city. Tests would also have to be done by mutually-recognised providers, Mr Yau told the Hong Kong media. The list of the authorised test providers and the airlines allowed to take part in the bubble, would be decided by both places over the coming weeks, the Hong Kong official said.
Air travel that might otherwise involve a transit stop in either place, will not be permitted under the quarantine-free plan, stated Mr Yau.
Singapore’s Transport Minister, Ong Ye Kung, said on Thursday – as quoted by the Straits Times newspaper – that the plan with Hong Kong was a “small but significant” step for both places, to revive air travel.
But such an arrangement could still be suspended should there be “unforeseen circumstances”, or a spike in Covid-19 infection cases, the media outlet cited the minister as saying.
Currently, anyone wishing to visit Macau via Hong Kong, must have a Covid-19 test certificate issued within 24 hours of arrival, and, even then, must undergo a 14-day quarantine.
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"I believe that when Macau makes a decision, there is going to be a requirement to invest more"
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands