Ready to get out of the country? Next stop: Hong Kong! Here’s what we know so far about the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble in 2020
You’re not dreaming, this is real. Singapore residents can soon travel to Hong Kong for leisure! We take a look at the rules to find out if it’s worth packing our bags and getting excited about a holiday abroad in Hong Kong before the end of 2020! Some of the answers to the big questions are still yet to be released so we will keep you posted as more details are revealed…
What is the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble?
The ‘Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble’ means general travellers can commute between the two countries without the need for controlled itineraries and no restrictions on the purpose of travel. Flights will only ferry passengers traveling under the bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, and will not include those transiting through either of the cities.
Anyone who has remained in Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 consecutive days prior to travelling is eligible. However, holders of work permits or S Passes in the construction, marine shipyard or process sectors are excluded.
What’s required before going to Hong Kong?
You must test negative on the COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests within 72 hours before your scheduled departure time. Those departing from Singapore will be required to apply for approval to take their PCR test at least seven days before departure, and will need a confirmed flight ticket to Hong Kong to do so. However, from 1 December 2020 you will not need to apply for approval to take the test.
Upon your arrival, you will also have to take a COVID-19 test at the Hong Kong International Airport. You must remain in the airport until you receive your negative test results.
Will you need to quarantine when travelling to Hong Kong?
No. Visitors will not need to serve quarantine.
What if I contract Covid-19 while travelling between SG-HK?
According to the Ministry of Health, all outbound Singapore Citizens/ Permanent Residents/ Long-Term Pass Holders who travel abroad under permitted travel arrangements will be able to tap on regular healthcare financing arrangements for their inpatient medical bills, should they have onset of symptoms within 14 days of their return to Singapore and require hospital admission for suspected COVID-19 infection. Singapore Citizens/PRs will be eligible for Government subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plans coverage, and will be required to pay any remaining co-payment. LTPHs may tap on their prevailing financing arrangements (e.g. foreign worker insurance), where applicable.
The permitted travel arrangements to which the above applies include Green/ Fast Lanes which are currently in place, as well as any permitted travel arrangement that may be implemented in the future. SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs who are not under permitted travel arrangements and travel in breach of the travel advisories will continue to pay for their COVID-19 inpatient medical bills in full with no access to subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plan coverage. Short-Term Pass Holders entering Singapore under permitted travel arrangements will remain responsible for their medical bills, should they test positive for COVID-19.
When will the SG-HK travel bubble be open?
The SG-HK travel bubble was set to open from 22 November 2020, but following a spike in cases in Hong Kong, the date has been deferred and the government is due to update the public on a new commencement date soon. The travel bubble will operate with one flight a day into each city with 200 passengers each way, and will progress to two flights a day into each city.
In the meantime, we’ve listed out a quick primer of do’s and don’ts in HK!
Hong Kong’s Covid-19 rules
Face Masks: You must wear a mask in public and on public transportation such as trains, buses and cabs. Face masks do not have to be worn in places like country parks or when exercising. The penalty for breaching this rule is a fine of between HK$2,000 (S$350) and HK$5,000.
Dining Out: There is a cap of six patrons per table (up from just four previously) at eateries and restaurants, and tables have to be kept 1.5m apart. Eateries are operating at 75% capacity and are allowed to operate until 2am. Bars and pubs have reopened with two patrons per table allowed. Live performances are now allowed. Masks have to be worn at all times within any restaurant, bar or pub except when you’re consuming food or drink. You’ll get your temperature taken before entering the premises.
Leisure Activities: Public beaches will reopen from 3 November. Amusement game centres, gyms, leisure venues such as bowling alleys and billiard tables, cinemas, party rooms, beauty and massage parlours, karaoke lounges and mahjong houses are open but general rules apply, including the mandatory wearing of masks. Registered local Hong Kong tour groups may operate in groups of up to 30 people, with social distancing measures and temperature checks in place. Cinema operations are capped at 75% of the seating capacity. Tables at nightclubs are capped at two patrons and no live performances or dancing are permitted.
Events: If you have a family member or close friend getting married in Hong Kong, good news! Wedding ceremonies can host up to 50 guests, albeit without banquets, and no food or drinks allowed at ceremonies.
Public Gatherings: Public gatherings continue to be capped at four people during this period. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of HK$25,000 and imprisonment for six months. Those who take part in prohibited group gatherings may discharge liability for the offence by paying a fixed penalty of HK$2,000.
Check back as we keep you updated on the latest news on the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble! In the meantime, check out these handy HK guides by our mama friends at Sassy Mama Hong Kong:
Lead image and image #2 sourced via Getty