HK BALLROOM COVID CLUSTER HALTED S’PORE-HK QUARANTINE FREE TRAVEL PLAN
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Kirk Lai/Unsplash
Hong Kong government announced today that the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble arrangement will be postponed for two weeks, further announcement will be made in early December, due to rising coronavirus cases in the city in the past two days.
Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said the postponement can avoid passengers being trapped at their destination city if the circuit-breaker mechanism is triggered soon after the arrangement is launched.
Ong Ye Kung, Singapore Transport Minister, expressed frustration on the delay but said that the postponement is a responsible decision for public health.
As part of the arrangement, the two governments have agreed that the travel bubble will be suspended if the daily average number of untraceable COVID-19 cases in a week reaches more than five in either city. When that figure drops below five again, the bubble will resume.
Hong Kong reported 43 confirmed cases today, among them 13 cases have untraceable source. These compared to 26 confirmed cases yesterday, among them 9 cases the sources of which are untraceable.
Health officials in Hong Kong said the upsurge is due to a super-spreading event happened in a dancing ballroom.
The two cities originally planned to launch the travel bubble tomorrow in which 200 passengers from each direction are allowed to travel quarantine-free on a daily designated flight operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways.
Passengers will not have to quarantine upon arrival at the destination city, but they will have to shell out around HKD1,890 (USD244) for three COVID-19 tests with negative results. These tests are to be taken before, during and at the end of their trip.
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