It has been a while since we hear any new progression about the Hong Kong – Singapore Travel bubble, with the recent second wave of Covid-19 Transmission.
Hong Kong remains to be a country that is near my heart, simply because it was my very first travel destination when I turned 12. Pardon me while I squeezed in a personal story – my older sisters tried to encourage us to study hard for PSLE with a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland, on the line. This was a pleasant memory growing up as I have been told that I was a very confident and achieving primary school kid. Somehow I feel that perhaps my sisters were trying to make me more self-aware and teach me a lesson on being on guard and not so ambitious or competitive.
However since I did not know better and wanted to achieve a higher PSLE score badly, I put aside my fun times and really studied hard. Knowing that my four older siblings did not score above 200 and I wanted validation from my family, I taunted my two older sisters that I will definitely achieve 225 and above. At that exact moment, my twin sister and I had to meet their target scores (it differs for both of us cause we were on different streams) and if we did, we will be traveling with them to Hong Kong, fully sponsored.
Recalling that incident provokes a realization of how caring and generous they are – to spare a thought to spend their hard-earned money in the 20s for a younger sibling. Being a grown-up now, I have seen many reluctant adults who contemplate spending money for their families. #superblessed
Moving on back to the topic, our Transport Minister, Ong Ye Kung on Friday (Mar 5) shared that The launch of an air travel bubble with Hong Kong may be launched “when conditions are right”
With that being said, the much-anticipated air travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was originally scheduled to start on Nov 22 last year but was later suspended thanks to a spike in cases.
So what does that air travel bubble arrangement mean and how does it work?
This means citizens will be allowed to travel to and fro only with negative COVID-19 tests, without the need for quarantine or isolation. Despite the delay due to the situation, “We won’t give up on the idea,” said Mr. Ong.
The aviation sector has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and border restrictions imposed by policies from governments around the world.
With the airline industry urgently needing to recover, quarantine and stay-home notices (SHN) should be replaced with alternatives that may also “substantially mitigate” the danger of coronavirus transmission.
Personally, I agreed with him, especially on his statement on recognizing that travellers from a certain country, that have successfully controlled the virus are safe destinations for us to open our borders to places like Australia, New Zealand, Brunei and China.
Essentially Singapore being a small island that is reliant on other countries, we really need to ensure that other places reciprocate what we do in order to initiate a travel bubble.
Furthermore, with the recent progression in providing COVID-19 vaccinations, this would be critical to reviving the aviation industry. There are important highlights mentioned on the news that perhaps Singapore will require a system of certification to check if the traveler has been vaccinated.
I am pining hope that these vaccinations will bring down infections across the globe or the countries will consider normalizing travel amid these uncertain times as prolonged closure of borders will affect the economy across the globe. As a Singaporean who loves traveling and is so used to seeing the bustling crowd in Changi Airport, it was very emotional to see it being so bare. However, I have faith that things will be better and we should not be forcing a drastic recovery of the aviation sector. Instead, we should bear in mind to gradually adapt to a brand new normal, to reopen our borders safely post-COVID-19.