The travel bubble scheme with Singapore will hopefully launch as scheduled on May 26 despite an increase in cases in the Lion City, says Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah.
He said the average number of unknown-source infections in Singapore remained at a low level of 1.6 to 1.8 a day over the past two weeks, while Hong Kong has seen only one unknown-source local infection in the same period.
"I believe we can still kick off the air travel bubble program as scheduled according to our agreement," Yau said.
He said the bubble comes with both sides' assurances that they have adequate test capacities and health measures for travelers, while Hong Kong residents taking part in the bubble must receive both doses of vaccine and wait for 14 days.
"I shall emphasize that if the epidemic situation takes a turn for the worse on either side, we have a circuit-breaking mechanism to suspend the flights," he said.
"This is also the arrangement for the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. Society has to accept the new normal that travel resumption is subject to the latest epidemiological development and communication."
Singapore yesterday reported 16 new Covid-19 cases, including 10 community infections. Seven were linked to the recent cluster at Changi Airport's terminal three, whose tally has grown to 25, covering cleaners as well as maintenance and security officers at the airport.
Singapore has reported 61,419 cases, including 31 deaths.
In Hong Kong, two new cases were reported yesterday, including one imported and one linked to previous infections, taking the SAR's tally to 11,815, including 210 deaths. Yesterday was the fifth straight day without any unknown-source infections.
The latest local case was the elder brother of a Filipino nurse, who contracted the virus from her Indian boyfriend - the city's first case bringing the Covid-19 mutant variant to the community.
The brother, aged 42, had a family gathering with the 31-year-old nurse and her 30-year-old boyfriend at his mother's home at Hing Wah (II) Estate in Chai Wan. He held another party at his Sham Shui Po home with three Filipino domestic helpers, who were subsequently found to be infected.
The Centre for Health Protection yesterday said the brother's infection involved a low viral count, adding his girlfriend, who had also attended the Sham Shui Po party, tested positive for antibodies, indicating she was infected but had recovered.