SINGAPORE: Singapore and Hong Kong have deferred the launch of their planned air travel bubble till next year, amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Special Administrative Region of China.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said the travel bubble will be deferred beyond December and the exact start date will be reviewed late this month.
The CASS has called on passengers on planned flights to contact their airlines regarding changes to travel plans.
Under the original deal which was announced in mid-October, the bubble flights would be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local COVID-19 cases was more than five for either Singapore or Hong Kong.
The two island cities decided on the deferment after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong, where local unlinked cases are still high, the CAAS said.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China after the former British colony was handed over to Beijing on July 1, 1997.
The travel bubble aimed to remove restrictions (mandatory quarantine) for travellers between Singapore and Hong Kong in lieu of COVID-19 tests.
There would be no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirement for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship.
"The Singapore and Hong Kong authorities have been in close discussion and will update when there are further developments," the CAAS said.
The seven-day moving average of unlinked local COVID-19 cases rose to 16 in Hong Kong on Monday.
The daily average coronavirus cases have crossed 70 for more than a week in Hong Kong with more than 6,300 cases, including 109 deaths.
Meanwhile, Singapore reported 10 new COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the country's infection count to 58,228.
Of the new cases, two were local transmissions one from the community area and the other from a migrant workers' dormitory.
The remaining eight were imported cases, all of whom have been placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival here.
The coronavirus has killed 29 people in Singapore so far.
Of the active cases, 29 people are hospitalised and 26 are recuperating in isolation facilities.
The total number of recovered cases stands at 58,134.