AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Transport Ministry steps up efforts for HK travel

Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung says Singapore will start the measures slowly at first.

With the announcement of the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble postponed once again, the Ministry of Transport says Singapore will aim to start small.

"Our plan is to start small, one flight a day, combined with the pre-departure and on-arrival testing, and trigger points are defined to suspend the arrangement, if need be," said Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung in a speech on May 3.

He said that a recent COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong had prevented the two cities from lauching the travel bubble in April.

"The key objective of an air travel bubble is to replace quarantine with other risk mitigation measures, because quarantine kills the demand for travel. How then, do we manage the risks and ensure that travellers do not import and spread COVID-19? This is really the challenge statement," Ong said.

He added that testing, 'bubble-wrapping' or ensuring that travellers keep a tight itinerary, vaccinations and opening up only to countries that have controlled the virus are ways to manage travel while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"Try to open up cautiously with regions that have kept domestic infections low. At the same time, tighten up on places which have high infection rates. It is the only way. If countries work on that basis, I think there is a possibility that in the course of 2021, we should see some safe opening of air travel," said Ong.

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