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Hong Kong’s borders have been locked tight for most of the year due to the impact of the pandemic – but cross-border and cross-country travel is finally back in play. Starting from 22 November, a Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble will be established.

Under the arrangement, travellers must have tested negative for COVID-19 in a test recognised by both jurisdictions, taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Travellers must not have had a travel history to any cities other than Hong Kong or Singapore in the 14 days prior to their departure.

According to Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau Tang-wah, travellers can get tested at one of the four community testing centres at a cost of HK$240 – or at one of the 18 testing institutions recognised by authorities. Travellers arriving in Hong Kong will be charged HK$499 for a COVID test at the airport.

“If travellers are staying in Singapore for an extended period of time, they will have to be tested in Singapore one more time, with a testing fee up to HK$1000,” said Yau.

The number of flights arriving at Hong Kong will gradually increase, starting at one flight per day for the first 15 days and slated for two flights per day thereafter – with a capacity of 200 passengers per flight.

In a further freeing up of the border, Hong Kong residents returning to the SAR from Guangdong or Macau will be exempt from having to complete mandatory quarantine commencing 23 November – provided they tested negative for the COVID-19 virus and have registered with the Hong Kong government in advance.

However at this stage it’s not a reciprocal arrangement, as Hong Kong residents travelling into China will still need to complete 14 days of quarantine upon arrival on the mainland

The ‘Return2HK’ scheme will have a daily quota of 5000 travellers, with a cap of 3000 residents allowed to enter through the Shenzhen Bay border crossing and the other 2000 travellers via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

The scheme will be open for reservation on 18 November, with travellers required to reserve their spot between Wednesday and Friday one week prior to their return to Hong Kong.