Newport tourism bubble may burst as outbreak heats up

The rise in the outbreak in Singapore and Taiwan has led to a high probability that the travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong, which was scheduled to start on May 26, will be cancelled again. The Hong Kong government also announced Friday (May 14) that travelers arriving in Hong Kong from Taiwan must be quarantined for 14 days at a designated anti-epidemic hotel.

Singapore and Hong Kong, two major financial hubs in Asia, have taken strict border control initiatives over the past year to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The two places originally planned to launch a travel bubble in November last year, but it was cancelled due to the rising epidemic in Hong Kong at that time, and this time the travel bubble between the two places is likely to hit the rocks again due to the intensification of the epidemic in Singapore.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau told reporters on Friday that Singapore’s minister told him there was a good chance that the travel bubble would not go ahead as scheduled on the 26th of this month, according to the agreement mechanism. Khoo Teng Hwa said, but both sides will review the status of the outbreak in the next two days.

Under the travel bubble agreement between Singapore and Hong Kong, travelers between the two places are exempt from quarantine restrictions on each other when they present proof of a negative virus test before and upon arrival.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said there were 34 new confirmed cases of the new crown on Thursday (May 13), 24 of which were community cases, the highest number of new confirmations in a single day since mid-September last year, with 17 of the cases linked to the cluster at Singapore Changi Airport. In light of the worsening outbreak, Singapore announced a series of measures on Friday to strengthen its preparedness, including a ban on eating in restaurants from May 16, a reduction in the number of people at social gatherings to two, and a downward adjustment in the number of people visiting attractions, shopping malls and large events.

In addition, the Hong Kong government announced Friday that all passengers on flights from Taiwan must be quarantined at designated quarantine hotels for 14 days due to the rising New Crown outbreak in Taiwan, and that travelers will no longer be allowed to self-quarantine at home or choose their own quarantine locations.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center confirmed Friday that there were 29 new cases of local infection in Taiwan on Friday, most of which were related to a teahouse in Wanhua, Taipei, and its surroundings, setting a record for the most new cases in Taiwan on a single day.

The sudden rise in Taiwan’s outbreak in recent days has led the government to take strict measures, including canceling major events such as concerts and religious bypasses, closing nighttime entertainment venues and libraries in some areas, and making it mandatory for restaurants and big-box stores to register the names and phone numbers of their customers.