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Hong Kong-Singapore 'travel bubble' grounded over new COVID fears

Spike in Chinese territory stalls plan for two weeks before Sunday launch

A Singapore Airlines plane undergoes maintenance at Changi Airport: The airline is one of the designated carriers for the "air travel bubble" with Hong Kong.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Hong Kong and Singapore have delayed the planned launch of an "air travel bubble" for two weeks, just hours after saying it would go ahead on Sunday, as the former faces a modest but unsettling jump in coronavirus cases.

The two Asian economic hubs had billed the program as Asia's first completely quarantine-free arrangement for any type of travel, including leisure. But Hong Kong on Friday reported 26 new cases -- 21 of them local transmissions. These numbers are low by global standards but relatively high for the city, prompting Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan to warn Hong Kong has "probably entered into a new wave of cases." She called the situation "severe."

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