The Hong Kong Government has been urged by local lawmakers to give up plans for a travel bubble with Singapore, mainly due to Singapore’s change in approach to the ongoing pandemic.
The city-state announced that it plans to relax contact tracing and quarantine, with more focus shifted towards vaccinations. Hong Kong’s lawmakers argued that the city should focus on maintaining its goal for zero cases, which would open up more opportunities for travel with the mainland.
“The mainland will not tolerate any loopholes at our airport. If Singapore really changes its anti-pandemic target, the government can stop talking to the country about setting up a travel bubble,” said lawmaker Michael Tien.
“For places that don't aim to achieve zero infection but hope to live with the virus, we should not have a travel bubble with them,” added Alice Mak of the Federation of Trade Unions. She noted that while the travel bubble could be beneficial for tourism, it’s too high a risk.
The travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was first delayed in November of last year after a surge of new cases in Hong Kong, reported RTHK. One more delay happened in May this year when Singapore reported new cases of infection. Hong Kong’s authorities explained they will maintain the goal of reaching zero cases in the city but added they will continue communicating with the officials in Singapore.
Neighbouring South Korea also reported the impact of the new cases in the country. After an outbreak in Jeju island, there has been mass cancellation of holiday reservations. The outbreak also impacted South Korea’s plans to open its own travel bubbles with nearby countries.