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Singapore says it’s ‘very likely’ planned travel bubble with Hong Kong will be further delayed

A woman jogs past a cordoned off Merlion Park on June 12, 2020 in Singapore.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s government said Friday it’s “very likely” that the air travel bubble with Hong Kong will not begin on May 26, as the Southeast Asian city-state further tightens measures to curb a rise in local Covid cases.

The air travel bubble would have allowed travelers to skip quarantine. It has faced multiple delays from its initial launch date on November 2020 as Hong Kong reported resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are major Asian business hubs without domestic air travel markets. Their tourism and aviation industries, heavily reliant on international travel, have been badly hit by the pandemic.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Hong Kong is “a very safe region” now, with few new Covid cases detected daily. However, infections in Singapore have been climbing, he added.

Ong said he’s spoken with Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, about the Covid situation in Singapore. Both sides will make a decision early next week on whether to go ahead with the air travel bubble launch, said Ong.

The Singapore government also announced there will be more Covid-19 restrictions starting this weekend following a rise in local infections. The measures will take effect from this Sunday until June 13.

The new measures include:

  • No dining-in at food and beverage establishments;
  • Reduced social gathering: A maximum of two people are allowed, from five previously;
  • All workers who can work from home will have to do so.

The government will review the measures at the mid-way point — or around two weeks later — to see if there’s a need to adjust them, said Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s education minister and co-chair of the Covid taskforce.

Singapore’s health ministry said Thursday that new cases in the community has increased to 71 in the past week, up from 48 in the week before.

Cumulatively, the city-state has confirmed 61,453 Covid infections and 31 deaths as of Thursday, health ministry data showed.

Before Friday’s announcement, Singapore has tightened restrictions starting last weekend. Those measures include reducing the size of social gatherings, pre-event testing for large gatherings and the closure of some indoor gyms.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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