MIAMI – An air bubble between Hong Kong (HKG) and Singapore (SIN), set to allow safe travel between the cities with a launch on November 22, has been paused amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The bubble would theoretically have kept passengers safe, with required negative COVID-19 tests before each flight along with an ability to skip a two week quarantine in both cities.

The news comes within 24 hours of the original departure times for the flights, disappointing many passengers who had already booked their tickets.

Airbus A350 Photo: Singapore Airlines

In the Interest of Public Health

Officials from both Hong Kong and Singapore agreed on the delaying the bubble on public health grounds with Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau stating that they “will make further announcements, perhaps by early December, on the formal launching of the scheme.”

The original arrangement for the bubble had numerous failsafe mechanisms, including one involving shutting down the bubble for a fortnight should either city report an average of five or more local transmissions a day with no clear source.

With Hong Kong reporting 36 local transmissions on Saturday, it is safe to say that business communication between the two Asian hubs will have to continue via video conference for now.

Featured image: Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 ER taking off. Photo: Cathay Pacific