Singapore’s Transport Minister, Ong Ye Kung, said on Friday it was “very likely” the city-state would not be able to meet the conditions required for starting air-travel-bubble flights with Hong Kong – the first of them scheduled for May 26 – due to Singapore seeing a rising number of Covid-19 cases recently.
He made the remarks at an online press conference by Singapore’s Covid-19 multi-ministry task force, according to local media reports.
“The issue now is the situation in Singapore, when cases are going up,” Mr Ong said.
The official noted that Hong Kong, meanwhile, was a “very safe region” currently, with the number of daily Covid-19 cases ranging between two and zero.
Singapore is home to two casino resorts: Resorts World Sentosa, run by Genting Singapore Ltd; and Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp. A number of investment analysts has said that Singapore needs to receive a meaningful number of tourists from overseas, in order to see business thrive at the properties.
At the Friday press conference, Mr Ong said that the city-state’s authorities would monitor the local Covid-19 situation and “critically review” the start date of the intended air travel bubble with Hong Kong, and would make a decision “early next week”.
Singapore and Hong Kong had agreed last month to start on May 26 an air travel bubble between the two places. It is the second attempt. The first proposal, due to have been implemented from November, had to be deferred to this year, after Hong Kong’s Covid-19 situation deteriorated.
Any air travel bubble that comes to fruition, will require that passengers setting off from either city, must have a negative test certificate for Covid-19 infection before they can board any direct flight under the scheme. People from Hong Kong travelling to Singapore must also be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before taking such a flight.
It had already been disclosed that for the air travel bubble due to start on May 26, the scheme would be suspended for at least 14 days if the seven-day moving average of unlinked local Covid-19 cases per day amounted to more than five in either city.
Singapore’s Covid-19 cases in the community increased to 71 in the past week, from 48 the week before, reported the city-state’s Ministry of Health in a Thursday update.
In the same update, the ministry also noted that unlinked cases in the community amounted to 15 in the past week. That meant the moving average of unlinked local Covid-19 cases in Singapore had been circa two per day.
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