“I would really like to have an air bubble with Malaysia.” This was mentioned by Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung during an exclusive interview with The Straits Times’ news editor Karamjit Kaur. Article in nst.com.my He also said, “But as of now, the cases in Malaysia are quite high, so I think we will have to wait and see … We do know and our healthcare officials’ assessment is that Malaysia takes the virus control very seriously. So I certainly hope they will succeed in suppressing this current round of spikes. When the time is right, I’m sure I will propose (an air travel bubble) to them.” Do read the full Article in nst.com.my
What is an air / travel bubble?
Briefly, air / travel bubble meant that flights can restart within the countries with these air bubble arrangements. If Australia has air bubble with Malaysia, flights between both countries could restart. Of course there will be precautions for COVID-19 but without an air bubble, no one could travel between countries. Countries are wary of the potential for COVID-19 infections to rise if people from high COVID-19 cases countries travel to countries which have gotten COVID-19 under control.
What are countries with air bubbles?
Which are the countries which has air bubble with Malaysia? None. Which are countries with travel bubble with Singapore? None signed but has agreed in principle with Hong Kong. However, Singapore has decided to reopen its border to Australia and China visitors starting from 6th November 2020. There is no need for a 14-day quarantine for these visitors in Singapore but there are other requirements such as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival at the airport in Singapore and the result has to be negative. Read more here in businesstimes.com.sg
Why is travelling between countries so important?
In 2019, over 26 million international tourists visited Malaysia. They spent RM86.14 billion in our country. Article in thestar.com.my here. Without these, our tourism industry is collapsing. Many hotels have closed down. Shopping in malls have reduced. Many employees in tourism may have lost their job. Many could not find a new one within the industry. All these will bring multiplier effects whether negative or positive and this is also one reason why the GDP growth for 2020 will be negative.
Would countries want to have travel bubble with Malaysia?
With new cases still ahead of recovered cases here in Malaysia (though the infectivity rate is on a downtrend and many of these cases are confined), maybe it will need more time for countries to consider and agree to such an arrangement. For now, I think it is best not to travel unnecessarily. Buy what we need from nearby stores and help to stop the spread of more COVID-19 cases, then we have a chance for the travel bubble to happen in the near future. As Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said, “When the time is right, I’m sure I will propose (an air travel bubble) to them.”
I miss travelling. I do. Supposed to have been to two places this year with the kids. Probably next year then.
Happy staying safe and watch more travelling videos in the mean time since no travelling could happen currently. Here is an interesting one. Not so common destination for Malaysians.
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