S’pore is Still Hoping for a Travel Bubble With Hong Kong

As they say, the 46th time’s the charm. 

After glancing at the headline you might have wondered if you time-travelled back to 2020. After all, we have Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) now, and Singaporeans have given up hope of a travel arrangement with Hong Kong.

As you painfully know, our travel bubble with Hong Kong has already been postponed twice, but it seems that the authorities have not given up hope.

S’pore is Still Hoping for a Travel Bubble With Hong Kong

At least Health Minister Ong Ye Kung thinks it’s still possible.

Mr Ong flew to Hong Kong recently to attend the Asia Summit on Global Health, making him the first minister from a foreign government to enter the country since the pandemic began.

Detailing his visit in a Facebook post, Mr Ong said that he was on a controlled itinerary, but managed to get some delicacies delivered to his quarantine hotel.

At the conference, Mr Ong once again expressed his desire to launch a travel bubble between the two countries.

“We hope that at some point, as we bring our infections down further, our bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore can be realised again,” he said.

“All of us shared the conviction that the virus cannot stop us from collaborating and connecting, and we will beat the virus together.”

Unlike the VTL scheme, opening a travel bubble with Hong Kong may not be as simple, given that it is still opting for the COVID-zero approach.

A Frustrating Timeline

If you cast your mind back to 2000BC, or 11 Nov 2020, as some of us know it, Singapore and Hong Kong announced they were forming the world’s first air travel bubble.

Hopeful travellers in both countries jumped for joy, but their excitement was short-lived as the bubble was later postponed due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.

Then, in April this year, it was announced that the bubble would finally commence on 26 May. But shortly after, Singapore experienced a huge spike in community cases and we had to call it off again.

When the outbreak abated, the authorities said the bubble would be reviewed in early July, but then certain people visited certain satay stalls, and we were pushed back to square one.

As Mr Ong said, “Unfortunately, bubbles are fragile things.”

The good news is that we’ve launched VTLs with 21 other countries, where fully vaccinated individuals can travel without having to quarantine.

Hopefully, one day in the near future, we’ll be able to add Hong Kong to that list.

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Featured Image: Yung Chi Wai Derek / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purpose only)