Singaporeans are welcoming the news that they will be able to travel to Hong Kong for leisure from Nov 22 in the first air travel bubble arrangement for the Republic since border restrictions were imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme will begin with one flight a day into each city, with a quota of 200 travellers a flight. This will be increased to two flights a day from Dec 7. The calibrated lifting of travel restrictions reflects the close relationship between the two economies, which have competed and collaborated on their way to becoming iconic Asian destinations for travel, business and residence. Covid-19 has hurt both badly, but it is time to renew the special link between them.
Of course, the arrangement is tentative. Although there will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no insistence on a controlled itinerary, those travelling to Singapore and Hong Kong will have to take Covid-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or stay-home notices. Also, the arrangement will be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked Covid-19 cases is more than five in either Singapore or Hong Kong.