Hong Kong–Singapore Travel Bubble Deferred Again

A spike in community infections in the Lion City means that travelers will have to wait at least another month for news on a revised launch date.

Singapore’s downtown skyline after dark. (Photo: Larry Teo/Unsplash)

The long-awaited quarantine-free “air travel corridor” between Hong Kong and Singapore is facing yet another delay, with further details not due to be announced for the next few weeks. In a brief statement released yesterday afternoon, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said that both sides would review the arrangement in late August, and that the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in Singapore meant that “the condition for launching the ATB [Air Travel Bubble] could not be met for the time being.”

Health authorities in Singapore reported a record daily high of 182 locally transmitted coronavirus infections yesterday, including 26 cases with an unknown source, up from 17 on Monday and 10 the day before. This takes the seven-day rolling average of unlinked cases in the Lion City well past the accepted threshold of five for the ATB to operate. The latest surge is driven by two growing clusters, with just over 200 infections linked to KTV lounges that flouted social distancing rules by operating as F&B outlets, and more than 320 cases traced to an outbreak at Jurong Fishery Port, which has since spread to 35 markets and food centers.

Singapore’s government will tighten restrictions from Thursday by bringing back Phase 2 (heightened alert) measures. The latest curbs include a ban on dine-in services, while group sizes for social gatherings are being reduced to two, with no more than two people permitted to visit each household per day. Beauty salons, spas, and saunas will be temporarily closed, and all mask-off activities (like strenuous indoor exercise classes) prohibited. In addition, the operating capacity for attractions such as theme parks, museums, and public libraries will be halved from 50 to 25 percent. These new rules will be in place until August 18.

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