Hong Kong Bans Air India Flights For 14 Days After Passengers Test COVID Positive at Airport
22 November, 2020, 08:26
A Singapore Airlines spokesperson said the airline is closely monitoring the situation and will work with the authorities on the air travel bubble flights.
Edward Yau, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development, announced the two-week delay during a press conference on Saturday.
This is the fifth time Air India's flights from India have been banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the pathogen after arrival.
The Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) is being launched on November 22 as scheduled, while all arriving passengers from China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will now be required to take on-arrival COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests at Changi Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced on Saturday.
"We will review within two weeks on the new launch date and update again", he wrote.
An airline operating a flight to Hong Kong from these countries has to submit a form before departure, stating that all passengers onboard have COVID-19 negative certificates.
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Hong Kong has recorded over 5,500 coronavirus cases and 108 Covid-19 deaths since the pandemic began.
Under the terms of the travel bubble, the arrangement would be suspended if the seven-day moving average of unlinked cases exceeds five per day in either city. The current average in Hong Kong is almost four, prompting Yau and Singapore's transport minister, Ong Ye Kung, to postpone the inaugural flight. "Singapore Airlines (SIA) is only able to tell me that it is able to change my ticket at no charge, but there are no seats available on the travel bubble flight up till Jan 31, 2021". "The health and safety of our customers remain our top priority", a spokesman said, adding that affected customers will be contacted.
Singapore 's transport minister, Ong Ye Kung, said in a Facebook post that the postponement is a "sober reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still with us".
As per guidelines, passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if they have a COVID-19 negative certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey, according to rules issued by the Hong Kong government in July.
Travellers between Singapore and Hong Kong will have to take Covid-19 tests, in lieu of serving quarantine or stay-home notices.