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Singapore Reviews Travel Bubble With Hong Kong As Covid-19 Cases Increase

The Singapore government is reviewing its planned travel bubble with Hong Kong following a spike in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks that triggered tightened social distancing rules in the city-state.

“We will monitor the situation and we will review and assess whether or not there will be any changes,” Lawrence Wong, the education minister who co-chairs the Singapore government’s virus taskforce, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. Singapore and Hong Kong authorities are in contact, he added.

Singapore announced late Tuesday fresh Covid-19 restrictions for the next three weeks to slow the spread of the Indian variant of the virus that has shut parts of public hospital in recent weeks. The measures include limiting social gatherings to no more than five people from eight previous, and capping the number of employees who can return to offices to 50% of staff who can work from home, down from 75%, according to the Ministry of Health.

The fresh restrictions come as Singapore and Hong Kong prepares to launch a travel bubble that would allow travel between the two cities to resume on May 26.

The travel bubble, which has been postponed last year following an increase in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong, was to proceed cautiously with one flight a day in each direction carrying a maximum of 200 passengers on each flight for the first two weeks. The plan was to increase to two flights per day from June 10.

While travelers won’t be required to go through quarantine under the travel bubble, passengers on both sides must test negative for Covid-19 before boarding the flights and will be subjected to further tests upon arrival. Hong Kong passport holders are also required to be fully vaccinated before traveling.

Singapore and Hong Kong may decide to postpone the travel bubble again if the threshold of a seven-day moving average of five or fewer unlinked community cases in either city is breached, the Straits Times quoted Wong as saying over the weekend.

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