Singapore and Hong Kong will launch ‘the world’s first’ quarantine-free travel via Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, and flights for the start date on 22 November were already sold out on Wednesday (11 November) on either flight. There is a quota of 200 travellers per flight, with one flight operating a day. This would be increased to two flights from 7 December onwards.
From 22 November onwards, both business and leisure travellers in the two cities visiting each other will not have to serve quarantine or stay-home notice – a welcoming move to revive economic activities amid the long battle against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the many travellers who successfully booked a flight to Hong Kong is Kelvin Tan, 40, senior editor.
“Every trip is lived three times: when you dream of it; when you go; and when you remember it. I’ve been dreaming of travelling during those long stay-ins in Phase 1, and now is the time to go for it and consign 2020 to a memory and start 2021 afresh,” Tan said.
Tan plans to holiday solo – his itinerary is mostly hiking Hong Kong’s famous trail, the Dragon’s Back.
“I think it should be pretty safe. Of course, my hand sanitisers and masks will be coming along with me!” said Tan.
Other travellers have mixed feelings about this announcement.
Ming King, 36, a market research consultant, said that the air bubble travel is too expensive, and there’s too much hassle: “I won’t travel though; if I want to go through all that hassle, it will be more for a place like Bangkok or Bali. I feel that Hong Kong has quite a similar landscape to Singapore, the difference being hiking and Disneyland.”
In Singapore, you can expect to fork out around S$230 for a COVID-19 PCR test at a Parkway Shenton clinic. A quick check on the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital website shows a pre-departure COVID-19 test costs roughly HK$1,500 (approx. S$260).
The avid traveller visited seven destinations last year, such as Thailand, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, Bali and Turkey, before border closures began.
Susannah Cheok, a Singaporean content creator, shared her optimism for the air travel bubble but she will not be travelling as she’s a full-time fur-parent.
“People have been struggling with pent-up wanderlust and cabin fever for nearly a year! This carefully thought out, and measured travel scheme sounds like a good, prudent start. I’m optimistic about it. Hopefully, this will be a sign of better times to come,” Cheok said.
When asked if she would be ready to travel quarantine-free, Cheok shared that she’s happily chained to her home because of her four cats. However, she would make exemptions if it was to a destination she really wanted to be at.
“Yes, I would travel. I don’t believe in living in fear, as long as proper safety and containment measures have been implemented,” Cheok said.
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