43 new corona virus cases were reported in Hong Kong on Saturday, the highest daily spike in three months. Of those, 36 are locally spread – including 13, undetectable.
Isolated travel to both destinations would have been a big deal, where strict visitation rules have been in place for months. When the corona virus struck, both governments closed borders and refused to allow most residents and short-term visitors to enter. In Hong Kong, returnees are subject to 14 days of isolation and are required to wear an electronic bracelet to track their location.
That means how the bubble should work
The bubble was set to start on Sunday with one flight per day in each city, with the allocation of 200 passengers per flight – then increased to two flights per day.
Passengers must meet certain parameters, such as not making any trips in the previous 14 days and undergoing the mandatory Govt-19 test. But they will not be subject to any isolated or accommodation notification requirements or restricted itinerary upon arrival.
However, in this arrangement the project will always be halted if the Govt-19 situation worsens in any city.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced on Saturday morning that the travel bubble with Hong Kong would start as planned. But later that day, city-state transportation minister Ong Ye Kung announced a plan change.
“Given the situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yo and I discussed further this afternoon and decided it would be best to postpone the launch of the ATP for two weeks. We will review the new release date within two weeks and update again,” Ong said.
In the last few days, after a small number of cases, a sharp rise in corona virus infections has been seen in Hong Kong.
The city’s health care center “forced” the public to avoid all non-essential trips outside of Hong Kong, and called on residents to refrain from going out, eating and socializing.
“The magnitude of the increase is alarming,” said Chuang Chuk-kwan, head of the epidemiological branch at the Hong Kong Health Care Center.
He warned that this new increase in cases was “very difficult to control”.
Jesse Young of CNN contributed to this article.