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Hong Kong bars SIA passenger flights from Apr 3 to 16 after Covid-19 case detected

SINGAPORE — Singapore Airlines (SIA) passenger flights departing from Singapore will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong between Saturday (Apr 3) and Apr 16, the government of Hong Kong said on Friday.

SINGAPORE — Singapore Airlines (SIA) passenger flights departing from Singapore will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong between Saturday (Apr 3) and Apr 16, the government of Hong Kong said on Friday.

The announcement came in a daily press release providing updates and Covid-19 case numbers for the territory.

Friday's press release stated that a passenger on SQ882, flying from Singapore to Hong Kong on Mar 31, was confirmed to have Covid-19 through a specimen collected at the Hong Kong Department of Health's Temporary Specimen Collection Centre.

In addition, three passengers had also "failed to comply with requirements specified under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H)".

"As such, the Hong Kong Department of Health invoked the regulation to prohibit landing of passenger flights from Singapore operated by Singapore Airlines in Hong Kong from April 3 to 16, 2021," noted the release.

In a statement, SIA confirmed that it had been asked to suspend the daily passenger service from Singapore to Hong Kong from April 3 to April 16, but added that its passenger service from Hong Kong to Singapore is not affected.

The airline said this comes after one transit passenger who travelled on board SQ882, and had a negative pre-departure test result, subsequently tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong. 

Three other transit passengers also had negative pre-departure test results, but their test documents were subsequently found to not have fully met the regulatory requirements of the Hong Kong authorities. 

"The health and safety of our customers and staff is our top priority," SIA said. "SIA has taken immediate steps to strengthen checks at the point of embarkation to ensure that our customers are in compliance with Hong Kong’s regulatory requirements. We will also assist the health authorities in all contact tracing efforts related to this case."

The airline added that it is reaching out to affected customers to offer all necessary assistance, and to minimise the inconvenience caused by the disruption.​

In a separate statement, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore noted that under Hong Kong’s Covid-19 testing requirements for air passengers arriving in the city, there are trigger points whereby airlines could face suspension. 

"SIA breached one of the trigger points. Other airlines have also similarly breached the trigger points before as the Hong Kong authorities enforce them strictly," CAAS said.

CAAS said the Covid-positive passenger is a transit passenger who was tested negative pre-departure, but was tested positive on arrival. 

The three non-compliant passengers were also transit passengers who had undergone Covid pre-departure tests at clinics in their places of origin that did not meet Hong Kong’s requirements. All three passengers were tested Covid negative.


Earlier this week, Singapore Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung had said that the country is studying a proposal from Hong Kong to reopen borders safely, after a Hong Kong official said the territory had resumed discussions on a travel bubble with Singapore.

“We are very happy that Hong Kong has in recent weeks kept the pandemic under good control. This is a very positive development,” Mr Ong said in a statement on Monday.

Singapore and Hong Kong were scheduled to launch an air travel bubble in November last year but it was deferred after Hong Kong saw a surge in COVID-19 cases.

On Nov 21, a day before flights were to begin, it was announced that the launch of the travel bubble had been deferred to early December.

It was later pushed back to 2021, with the exact starting date yet to be determined. CNA

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