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Everything you need to know about the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble

All your pressing questions about the travel bubble answered right here

By Fontaine Cheng
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December 1 update: Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, both Hong Kong and Singapore governments have decided to postpone the launch of the Air Travel Bubble to 2021.​

News of the world's first two-way leisure travel bubble excited both cities when it was announced last October. The launch was scheduled to commence on November 22, 2020, until December 31, 2020, but was deferred due to the rising cases of coronavirus in Hong Kong. 

The bilateral agreement will allow air travel, without quarantine upon arrival nor restrictions to travel purposes or itineraries, between both cities. However, travellers must first test negative in up to three Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests at various stages of the journey, and can only fly on designated flights.

While we wait for the final launch date, here's everything you need to know, including what you can and cannot do when the air travel bubble takes off.

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Why Singapore?

According to a statement by the Hong Kong government, this is due to similar successes in containing the pandemic, and relatively low case numbers in both cities. However, the travel bubble will be suspended (for two weeks) if the daily average number of untraceable cases in one week reaches more than five in either city. If the figure drops on the last day of the suspension period, the bubble can resume once more.

Who is eligible to travel?

Anyone who has stayed in Hong Kong or Singapore in the last 14 days is eligible to travel, but only if they are able to provide a negative PCR test result from a recognised clinic or testing centre 72 hours prior to departure. 

All travellers (who are not Singaporean residents or long term pass holders) must apply for an Air Travel Pass and book a designated bubble flight (marked with a travel bubble label). 

They will also need the right to enter both Hong Kong and Singapore, with the necessary visas or permits; have a mobile phone in which they must download and register on the Singaporean TraceTogether app before landing, and submit an electronic health declaration to the SG Arrival Card Service.

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Which airlines will be flying to and from Hong Kong and Singapore?

Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will be operating alternating flights between the two cities.

How many flights to Singapore will there be?

The Hong Kong government has confirmed that there will be one flight a day limited to 200 passengers. This will increase to two flights a day depending on how it all goes after implementation.

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How will Covid-19 tests be carried out?

When flying from Hong Kong to Singapore, travellers must take a test 72 hours before departure at a recognised clinic or testing centre. There is no additional test required upon arriving in Singapore. From Singapore to Hong Kong, another pre-departure test must be taken within 72 hours, before an extra test is required upon arriving at Hong Kong airport which can take at least four hours as passengers wait for results. Tests upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport need to be booked and paid for ahead of time.  

The Hong Kong government begun trialling rapid PCR tests to be carried out at the airport, which would give results in about 30 minutes. But due to less accurate results than expected, Hong Kong's health authorities have decided to prolong trials for another week.

How much are Covid-19 tests?

Depending on where you're coming from and going to, the total amount of tests will vary. From Hong Kong to Singapore, two tests are required. From Singapore to Hong Kong, three tests are required. A test from Hong Kong's testing centres will cost about $240, while tests in Singapore cost approximately $500.

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Is it possible to use the travel bubble to travel to another destination?

No. This travel bubble is only applicable to flights between Hong Kong and Singapore. That being said, if you are travelling from another country to Singapore or Hong Kong and stay for at least 14 days, fulfilling every element of the aforementioned eligibility criteria, then you are free to travel within the travel bubble.

Here's what you can and can't do in Hong Kong right now

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