Singapore and Hong Kong have reached a new agreement that will see the two cities form an “air travel bubble” that exempts travelers from both destinations from having to self-isolate or quarantine.
The agreement, which was announced Thursday, was hailed as a “milestone” in efforts to resume a sense of normalcy amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes as both places continue to record low numbers of infection, unlike Europe and the United States.
There will be dedicated flights between the two cities just for those traveling under the arrangement. Passengers will also be subjected to coronavirus testing and will only be allowed freedom of movement upon arrival if they test negative.
Officials say the coronavirus test used will be one that is “mutually recognized.”
“I am pleased that both sides have agreed on the key features to underpin the expeditious conclusion of the ATB between two major international aviation hubs in the world,” Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development said in a statement.
Singapore’s Minister for Transport, Ong Ye Kung, said that the arrangement was a “safe” and “significant” step in the revival of the air travel industry and could serve as a model for other countries in the future.
“Both our cities have low incidence of covid-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control covid-19,” he said, adding that the handling of the crisis in both cities had given him the confidence the air travel bubble would work. The two cities generally report new daily infections in the single digits.
More details of the plan are expected soon, although a launch date has not yet been set.