Singapore is still hoping for a travel bubble with Hong Kong when Covid-19 infections drop in the Lion City, health minister Ong Ye-kung said.
Ong has become the first senior foreign minister to visit the SAR almost two years into the Covid
-19 pandemic. He on Wednesday attended a health forum at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Speaking at the event, Ong said Singapore’s travel bubble -- now renamed as “travel corridor” -- with Hong Kong was “very fragile.”
He said it is a misfortune that the quarantine-free travel scheme could not be launched, after two postponements in November last year and May this year, when the SAR and the Lion City suffered from outbreaks, respectively.
The plan has been shelved indefinitely as the two jurisdictions have gone in opposite directions regarding anti-epidemic strategies.
Singapore has taken the “live with the virus” approach to gradually open up and relax health measures, while Hong Kong is sticking to stringent measures to maintain its “zero infection” status to push forward border reopening with mainland China.
Ong said Singapore’s “live with the virus” strategy will hopefully take the city-state back to its status as an international hub for trade and aviation. The country is now open to quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated travelers from 21 countries, including Germany, Switzerland, and South Korea.
He said the infection rate in the Lion City is similar to that of many countries worldwide and that it can easily line up with other jurisdictions for traveling schemes.
He hoped the travel bubble with Hong Kong could eventually come true when Singapore's number of daily cases drops.
The city-state on Tuesday reported 1,782 new cases and five more patients have died, taking the tally to over 255,000, including 672 deaths.