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Singapore and Hong Kong travel bubble exposed

A new travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong was due to launch on November 22 (tomorrow), but it has been postponed just hours before launch.

Why the travel bubble is delayed

A condition for this new travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong was that it could be suspended if one of the destinations sees an increase in untracked coronavirus cases. There was always the risk that this could eventually be canceled, although most probably did not expect this to happen with the launch.

Singapore’s transport minister has announced this today the launch of the travel bubble is postponed for at least two weeks. This decision came after Hong Kong saw an increase in new cases of coronavirus in recent days ̵

1; Hong Kong reported 43 new cases today and 26 new cases yesterday, which is an increase over the most single-digit case numbers we saw today before that.

The new launch date still needs to be determined based on how the situation develops, as no final decision has been made. Travelers can still continue on their travels, even if they have to do so under the old rules, which require a seven-day quarantine.

The announcement of the travel bubble launch came just after Singapore announced that an additional coronavirus test would be needed on arrival in Singapore, meaning travelers will have to take up to four coronavirus tests to travel as one. part of this event.

The travel bubble was canceled a day before launch

How the travel bubble should work

In some basic contexts, both Singapore and Hong Kong have done a good job of keeping the number of coronavirus cases low. Both sites have mostly kept their borders closed to visitors. With the travel bubble concept, travelers could walk between the two places without the typical quarantine.

However, there are many limitations associated with it:

  • Travelers need to fly on special travel bubble flights so they do not interfere with transit passengers; there were a maximum of 200 daily travelers as part of the event
  • There would be up to four coronavirus tests required (and it is also expensive) to participate in this, including pre- and post-travel tests at both ends

There is no denying that the focus of this travel bubble was on minimizing risk rather than making travel easy and accessible, and that is perfectly fair. But this also shows you that even with so many precautions, this concept was in jeopardy even before launch. The risks currently associated with international travel do not only apply to places where coronavirus is not well controlled.

I will be curious to see if the new travel bubble actually launches in a few weeks, or if this concept just does not work.

The travel bubble was to be limited to 200 people a day

Bottom line

Singapore and Hong Kong were to launch a travel bubble concept from tomorrow so travelers could skip quarantine while taking many tests. This concept was dependent on the fact that there was not even a minimal increase in cases, and unfortunately it is something that happened just before the launch.

Presumably, many people had already paid for coronavirus tests for their departures tomorrow, so they are out of pocket for something. Hopefully they can at least cancel hotels and activities without sanctions.

I will be curious to see if this concept actually happens in a few weeks or if this will be delayed much longer than that.

Are you surprised to see this travel bubble launched before it even launches?

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