The highly-anticipated air travel bubble (ATB) between Singapore and Hong Kong will be delayed for a second time after Singapore saw a significant rise in local community Covid-19 cases and had to impose new restrictions to stop the transmission.
The decision was made after a meeting between Transport Minister S Iswaran and Edward Yau, the Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.
The Singapore Ministry of Transport said: "Both sides remain strongly committed to launching the air travel bubble safely. However, in light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble."
Both cities agreed to defer the travel bubble which would have seen residents from both countries being able to travel in and out of Singapore and Hong Kong without needing to be quarantined.
The travel bubble was originally supposed to launch in November last year but was delayed due to a spike in cases in Hong Kong. It was later announced that it would launch on May 26 this year before the community cases in Singapore began to rise drastically.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said last Friday it was very likely that Singapore would not be able to meet the criteria to launch the bubble.
He said: "What we will do now is to closely monitor the numbers the next few days to review the start date, and early next week, we will make a decision and an announcement."
The two countries have agreed that they will monitor the health situations and review the new launch date towards the end of Singapore's heightened alert which began on May 16 and will end on June 13.