Fragile Hong Kong & Singapore Travel Bubble “Pops” Again

Fragile Hong Kong & Singapore Travel Bubble “Pops” Again

31

The travel bubble concept sounds great in theory, as it’s a way for people to travel quarantine-free between two areas that are low-risk for coronavirus. Unfortunately the reality is often a different story, as we’re seeing with Hong Kong & Singapore… again.

Travel bubble was supposed to launch in late 2020

Hong Kong & Singapore have both done quite a good job keeping coronavirus under control, and in the process have largely kept their borders closed.

In late 2020 they proposed the concept of a travel bubble between Hong Kong (HKG) & Singapore (SIN), whereby people would be able to take dedicated flights between the two airports without having to quarantine, though there were still extensive testing requirements.

The travel bubble was contingent upon neither place seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. Unfortunately at the time Hong Kong saw a (modest) spike, causing the travel bubble to be postponed just hours before launch.

I feel sorry for all the people who paid a bunch of money and probably already had their bags packed, only to have their trips canceled on them.

The travel bubble was postponed the first time around

Travel bubble postponed… again

A new travel bubble was supposed to launch between Hong Kong & Singapore as of May 26, 2021. Travel bubble flights had already gone on sale and sold out in no time.

Hong Kong & Singapore had both agreed that the travel bubble would be suspended if there were a rolling seven day average of more than five untraced cases in either place.

Well, Singapore is now up to a rolling seven day average of six untraced cases per day, meaning the travel bubble will be suspended before it even launches. As Singapore’s Ministry of Transport explains:

“Both sides remain strongly committed to launching the ATB safely. However, in light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB. Both sides, therefore, agreed to defer the launch of the ATB to protect the health of travelers and the public in these two places.”

Singapore is adding restrictions within the country to decrease the number of cases, but for now the travel bubble won’t be moving forward.

While I can totally appreciate the concept behind these travel bubbles, they sure are a challenge. On some level it seems to me like governments may be failing to manage expectations here, since this concept has been called off twice now. If the bubbles are so fragile, one has to wonder if they’re even worth having.

I’d ask if these destinations just end up opening on a widespread basis before any air travel bubble can work out, but it sure seems to me like Singapore doesn’t ever plan on fully reopening, based on the country’s new business travel concept.

One has to wonder if this travel bubble will ever launch

Bottom line

Unfortunately for those in Hong Kong & Singapore, it doesn’t seem like a travel bubble will be launching anytime soon. This concept has now been postponed twice prior to even launching, months apart. This was due to a modest increase in cases, the first time in Hong Kong, and now in Singapore.

Do you think a Hong Kong & Singapore travel bubble will ever launch?

Conversations (31)
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  1. SQ Flyer

    @Philip Elliott Singapore is not actually in a lockdown (yet) – there are no movement restrictions for individuals apart from not being able to dine in at restaurants. Retail malls and shops remain open. What it has been attempting to do however, is contain the latest outbreak brought about by the more contagious/virulent Indian variant by means of increased restrictions.

    To your other point about the general sentiment on OMAAT towards the East Asian economies,...

    @Philip Elliott Singapore is not actually in a lockdown (yet) – there are no movement restrictions for individuals apart from not being able to dine in at restaurants. Retail malls and shops remain open. What it has been attempting to do however, is contain the latest outbreak brought about by the more contagious/virulent Indian variant by means of increased restrictions.

    To your other point about the general sentiment on OMAAT towards the East Asian economies, it is after all a US-based travel blog. FREEDOM

  2. Andy

    It will be interesting to see how the "two worlds" will eventually get together. There is a group of countries, mainly in Asia, but also Australia and NZ, which follow a zero COVID strategy. On the other hand side, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa tolerate some levels of COVID, basically as long as the health system can cope. With the vaccinations, the numbers in the COVID tolerant countries will go down -...

    It will be interesting to see how the "two worlds" will eventually get together. There is a group of countries, mainly in Asia, but also Australia and NZ, which follow a zero COVID strategy. On the other hand side, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa tolerate some levels of COVID, basically as long as the health system can cope. With the vaccinations, the numbers in the COVID tolerant countries will go down - but not to zero or anywhere close. So they remain way to high for the zero COVID countries. If they ban travel from no-zero countries, this is likely to last for a very long time, if not forever.

  3. MichaelB

    @ Philip Elliott

    I strongly believe Ben's job is not drive the community one way or another but just present information as reported. No political slant. We have enough websites that do that already. I would drop this site like a hot potato if I sensed any strong bias either way except to promote the love of travel and inform how best to optimize the use of points to travel in style as cost efficiently...

    @ Philip Elliott

    I strongly believe Ben's job is not drive the community one way or another but just present information as reported. No political slant. We have enough websites that do that already. I would drop this site like a hot potato if I sensed any strong bias either way except to promote the love of travel and inform how best to optimize the use of points to travel in style as cost efficiently as possible. As others have pointed out, while Oceania/Pacific Rim countries have largely pursued a closed borders path other countries have not. And, while these same countries have largely been the envy of the world for their low/near zero Covid rates this strategy is not sustainable in the long term as Covid will remain at least in the background for a long time. The rest of us are moving on and I for one am very excited to start cross border travel again. As some have expressed the real challenge for these countries will be how to establish what level of risk is acceptable as a trade off for opening borders. That level can never be at or near zero if borders are to open.

  4. Malc

    @snic As a Kiwi, I find your characterisation of NZ quite accurate. They will consider opening up to vaccinated travellers but won't quite get round to it for a long, long time. I've always found the word "bubble" quite apt for NZ. Beneath the PC rhetoric, there's a lot of xenophobia and a wilful remoteness from the troubles of the rest of the world. I think your comment about NZ using Aus as an excuse for not opening up is very insightful.

  5. George

    Getting back to the travel bubble, Mike Bird had the best response - https://twitter.com/Birdyword/status/1393095927422881799?s=20

  6. snic

    The airport workers in Singapore who were vaccinated but tested positive did not, in fact, get sick. Which means, as I said before, that the vaccine is working in Singapore exactly as expected.

    Singapore's response to these infections was to introduce new restrictions. I'd say that makes sense because vaccinated people can transmit the virus to nonvaccinated people, who have a much higher chance of getting sick. Until vaccination is widespread, restrictive measures in response...

    The airport workers in Singapore who were vaccinated but tested positive did not, in fact, get sick. Which means, as I said before, that the vaccine is working in Singapore exactly as expected.

    Singapore's response to these infections was to introduce new restrictions. I'd say that makes sense because vaccinated people can transmit the virus to nonvaccinated people, who have a much higher chance of getting sick. Until vaccination is widespread, restrictive measures in response to outbreaks make sense.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2021/05/14/world/asia/singapore-covid-restrictions.amp.html%3f0p19G=0232

  7. Philip Elliott

    Glenn and Joe,
    Thanks for your replies.
    Joe, I think you might recheck what you mention about hospitalisation of all cases with Ministry of Health in Singapore. I understand all positive cases diagnosed in Thailand are hospitalised. Singapore has differing procedures. The mention of hospitalisation rates is because some readers mentioned that those vaccinated with USA vaccines suggest " Even if you get infected from the MRNA vaccines, you have very little chance...

    Glenn and Joe,
    Thanks for your replies.
    Joe, I think you might recheck what you mention about hospitalisation of all cases with Ministry of Health in Singapore. I understand all positive cases diagnosed in Thailand are hospitalised. Singapore has differing procedures. The mention of hospitalisation rates is because some readers mentioned that those vaccinated with USA vaccines suggest " Even if you get infected from the MRNA vaccines, you have very little chance of having a serious case of Covid. That’s the bigger story than infection rates. When fully vaccinated, the MRNA vaccines reduce the severity of Covid dramatically even in the small chance you get infected." Perhaps you might better take your discussion to that member.

    Glenn, would it be that you were Prime Minister of Singapore, how do you think you might have organised things differently in Singapore , given the present circumstances? Can you put your finger exactly on something they did wrong?

    It would be polite now, since I directed my questions to Ben, he is given an opportunity to reply. Ben another question. Do you think you have driven the One Mile at a Time community to be compassionate, caring travellers, accepting that differing countries have differing plans ?

  8. Joe

    Anyone who references hospitalisation rates in Singapore as any indication there is an issue in Singapore/with the vaccines should probably be aware that given the number of cases they have, it seems 100% of people diagnosed with covid are admitted to hospital there. This is not the standard in most other countries.

  9. glenn t

    @PhillipElliot
    There in no 'game' being played on OMAAT regarding vaccinations, therefore no rules to wonder about.
    There is plenty of opinion here, some well considered, some not. It is up to you to make up your own mind by consulting reliable and respected sources.
    Lastly, who is "being arrested for being Asian?" Do you know what you're talking about? I certainly don't!

  10. Philip Elliott

    Ben,
    I wonder if you could share with us your rules what is a good Covid response country. There is a bit of friction among your readers about the rules of the game being played here on One Mile at a Time.

    We understand getting vaccinated is good. Singapore is doing that. It is up there with USA in good vaccination rates. 33% first jab, 25% of population both jabs. That's good by world...

    Ben,
    I wonder if you could share with us your rules what is a good Covid response country. There is a bit of friction among your readers about the rules of the game being played here on One Mile at a Time.

    We understand getting vaccinated is good. Singapore is doing that. It is up there with USA in good vaccination rates. 33% first jab, 25% of population both jabs. That's good by world standards.

    We understand that getting the USA vaccines are good. Singapore is doing that. It is buying USA vaccines direct from manufacturers. No vaccines from anywhere else. No question of any fake vaccination certificates. We hear of fake certificates in your country and it is often mentioned on this forum.

    We understand international tourism is aspired to on your website. Singapore is doing that by trying to organise things with Hong Kong.

    You mention you feel sorry for anyone who bought tickets and lost out. Fair point. Same happens in USA when people go to domestic Hawaii and don't pass testing. Same happens if they fly international to the countries they can go to. And let's face it, that isn't a lengthy list at the moment.

    We understand that the USA vaccines are really wonderful, but people in Singapore got infected and became sick. The count is now 270 or so in hospital there and 3 critically .

    What I don't understand is why you and your readers aren't more supportive of Singapore as they have done everything correctly by your "rules ". Are they "being arrested for being Asian?"

  11. Timo

    @Miso, you need to try harder to chill out, girl.

  12. glenn t

    By their very nature, bubbles of any kind inevitably burst. It's what they do.
    A so-called 'travel bubble' is equally tenuous , so no surprises there.
    Anything more durable might be called a travel bridge, or travel corridor or similar which might inspire some confidence. Unfortunately no such confidence exists right now.
    Being inside a bursting bubble of any kind would be unpleasant I imagine.

  13. D3kingg

    Texas had zero Covid deaths today exactly two months ago they reopened mask free.

  14. Philip Elliott

    Thank you for the quick replies! The Singapore authorities await responses from the vaccine manufacturers. Meanwhile Singapore is in a 4 week lockdown. People are in hospital.

    It does seem rather like buying a car. The glossy showroom tells you the car is 96% wonderful. Then you take delivery and find you are the 4%. And people tell you you are wrong even though you followed all the rules.

  15. Miso

    "Ben, your article didn’t focus on how this infection cluster started in Singapore. The workers at Changi airport have been vaccinated using the popular USA vaccines. 96% efficacy rate was advertised by manufacturer."

    That goes against the 'TRAVEL FOR VAXXED PEOPLE NOW' narrative. Can't be having that.

    40% of a cluster being fully vaxxed is pretty big news and I agree it really should be the focus here.

    "Like others on here I really...

    "Ben, your article didn’t focus on how this infection cluster started in Singapore. The workers at Changi airport have been vaccinated using the popular USA vaccines. 96% efficacy rate was advertised by manufacturer."

    That goes against the 'TRAVEL FOR VAXXED PEOPLE NOW' narrative. Can't be having that.

    40% of a cluster being fully vaxxed is pretty big news and I agree it really should be the focus here.

    "Like others on here I really don’t understand the concept in these countries and others, such as Australia, to strive for zero cases."

    Because life is great here and people want to keep it that way? Shouldn't be hard to understand. Try harder.

  16. Ken

    @Philip Elliott, just to echo what others have said, the efficacy rate announced by most studies is about preventing severe illness not necessarily infection. So while true that a good number of those new cases in Singapore have been vaccinated, they have mostly been mildly sick to asymptomatic. It is also really possible that the variant is more likely to give breakthrough infection since basically all infected vaccinated people in Singapore have the indian variant...

    @Philip Elliott, just to echo what others have said, the efficacy rate announced by most studies is about preventing severe illness not necessarily infection. So while true that a good number of those new cases in Singapore have been vaccinated, they have mostly been mildly sick to asymptomatic. It is also really possible that the variant is more likely to give breakthrough infection since basically all infected vaccinated people in Singapore have the indian variant but it does still appear that the vaccine is effective in preventing severe symptoms

  17. JBR

    @ Philip Elliott:

    Perhaps the bigger story with those MRNA vaccine breakouts (fully vaccinated people getting infected from Pfizer/Bio-NTech and Modera vaccines) is not that fully vaccinated people are getting infected, but whether or not they are getting seriously ill from Covid, requiring hospitalization, and dying. If you look at Israel, with a population that's 56% fully vaccinated per the Pfizer/Bio-NTech vaccine, they are having days with no Covid deaths. Even if you get...

    @ Philip Elliott:

    Perhaps the bigger story with those MRNA vaccine breakouts (fully vaccinated people getting infected from Pfizer/Bio-NTech and Modera vaccines) is not that fully vaccinated people are getting infected, but whether or not they are getting seriously ill from Covid, requiring hospitalization, and dying. If you look at Israel, with a population that's 56% fully vaccinated per the Pfizer/Bio-NTech vaccine, they are having days with no Covid deaths. Even if you get infected from the MRNA vaccines, you have very little chance of having a serious case of Covid. That's the bigger story than infection rates. When fully vaccinated, the MRNA vaccines reduce the severity of Covid dramatically even in the small chance you get infected. And at least in the case of New Zealand, the Pfizer/Bio-NTech vaccine is what their citizens are primarily receiving I believe.

  18. snic

    @Philip Elliot: Yes, vaccinated people will get infected. And vaccinated people can transmit the disease to others. That was known from the beginning, and the fact that some vaccinated people tested positive and infected others is not even remotely newsworthy.

    The chances of getting sick are much lower in vaccinated than unvaccinated people, and of dying almost nil. That is why widespread vaccination is essential, and I don't see Singapore, Australia or New Zealand opening...

    @Philip Elliot: Yes, vaccinated people will get infected. And vaccinated people can transmit the disease to others. That was known from the beginning, and the fact that some vaccinated people tested positive and infected others is not even remotely newsworthy.

    The chances of getting sick are much lower in vaccinated than unvaccinated people, and of dying almost nil. That is why widespread vaccination is essential, and I don't see Singapore, Australia or New Zealand opening the borders more broadly until that happens.

  19. Philip Elliott

    Ben, your article didn't focus on how this infection cluster started in Singapore. The workers at Changi airport have been vaccinated using the popular USA vaccines. 96% efficacy rate was advertised by manufacturer.
    Unfortunately a vaccinated cleaner got the virus at the airport and spread it to other vaccinated airport staff in the cafeteria.

    All had been vaccinated with approved vaccines, under supervision. All vaccines were purchased direct from manufacturer. All tested positive to...

    Ben, your article didn't focus on how this infection cluster started in Singapore. The workers at Changi airport have been vaccinated using the popular USA vaccines. 96% efficacy rate was advertised by manufacturer.
    Unfortunately a vaccinated cleaner got the virus at the airport and spread it to other vaccinated airport staff in the cafeteria.

    All had been vaccinated with approved vaccines, under supervision. All vaccines were purchased direct from manufacturer. All tested positive to the Indian variant. Genomic testing has been carried out.

    Some may argue that those workers inconveniently represent the 4% inefficacy rate and it was just bad luck. However a similar situation occurred at Auckland airport recently. Vaccinated aircraft cleaner got the virus and took it home to the family. Again the popular USA vaccine. Purchased direct from manufacturer, administered under supervision. Please google for details.

    We had a vaccinated traveller from USA arrive here in Australia, now in quarantine, also positive to the Indian variant. Also vaccinated under supervision and could prove batch number etc.

    I'd suggest that's the big story, not a little travel bubble.

  20. AC

    Like others on here I really don't understand the concept in these countries and others, such as Australia, to strive for zero cases. We still have many diseases (in fact smallpox, if I am correct, is the only one every truly eradicated). A more sensible approach would be focus on vaccines, testing and treats (Pfizer is working on a pill targeted for December release that would work similar to Tamiflu in that you take one...

    Like others on here I really don't understand the concept in these countries and others, such as Australia, to strive for zero cases. We still have many diseases (in fact smallpox, if I am correct, is the only one every truly eradicated). A more sensible approach would be focus on vaccines, testing and treats (Pfizer is working on a pill targeted for December release that would work similar to Tamiflu in that you take one when you first show any symptoms and it effectively blocks further damage).

    Also, I wonder if the countries that closed down completely are actually in worse shape since they have effectively blocked a key component of herd immunity (people getting sick and recovering to build antibodies). Unless they mandate vaccinations to all citizens (and I hope to God HK and SIN don't use unproven Chinese vaccines) it seems that whenever they open the borders (even if years from now) their citizens are very vulnerable to infection while most of the rest of the world has build antibodies either via infection or vaccination. Remember we got through the Spanish Flu w no vaccine - viruses eventually are rendered harmless to the vast majority of people due to building up resistance.

    It seems the goal of zero infection, keeping borders closed and having lockdowns for a minor increase in cases is a failed strategy that will never end. Hope I'm wrong but they have likely gone down a path that it will be very difficult to deviate from.

  21. Iain

    Speaking from one of those cut off countries with borders closed at the moment, (NZ), what many of you don't seem to grasp is that from your perspective, vaccines with much reduced spread of covid is a positive game changer, whereas for those of us living covid free right now, any re-opening of borders will inevitably allow the virus in, and we will be left in a worse situation that we are today. At some...

    Speaking from one of those cut off countries with borders closed at the moment, (NZ), what many of you don't seem to grasp is that from your perspective, vaccines with much reduced spread of covid is a positive game changer, whereas for those of us living covid free right now, any re-opening of borders will inevitably allow the virus in, and we will be left in a worse situation that we are today. At some point we will have to open up, but it is going to be a hard sell to the public that after all the hard work, we are going to have to lower our standards, and quality of life, in order to re-integrate with the world.

  22. B

    5 cases per day? Maybe that is the threshold until their population is fully or mostly vaccinated? Otherwise, they'll be closed literally forever. This is sad news as they were on my travel bucket list.

    COVID is never going away. It will simply become another flu (albeit with potentially greater complications). Annual vaccines will likely be the norm, just like the flu. Also, just like the flu, we will never eradicate it.

  23. snic

    @JBR: New Zealand is, in fact, thinking about allowing vaccinated visitors in:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/300306823/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-outlines-what-travel-could-look-like-beyond-the-bubbles

    But that doesn't mean that New Zealand will necessarily open up in the "next few months". They will almost certainly first get all their adults vaccinated, which should happen by the end of the year IF all goes well. But I predict that they still won't open to vaccinated visitors: instead, they will hem and haw because Australia (with which they have...

    @JBR: New Zealand is, in fact, thinking about allowing vaccinated visitors in:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/300306823/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-outlines-what-travel-could-look-like-beyond-the-bubbles

    But that doesn't mean that New Zealand will necessarily open up in the "next few months". They will almost certainly first get all their adults vaccinated, which should happen by the end of the year IF all goes well. But I predict that they still won't open to vaccinated visitors: instead, they will hem and haw because Australia (with which they have a bubble) will be far behind with their vaccinations, and then as that gets resolved they will hem and haw because children are not yet vaccinated. And by then, who knows, maybe some variant will have emerged that defeats current vaccines.

  24. yourcommiedad

    @geoff

    East Asian governments would prefer to stay closed other than seeing 600K+ casualty, Thank you

  25. JBR

    @Tim Dunn:

    I remember arguing with you in past articles/blogs on this site that focused on Australia and New Zealand and their Zero-Covid policies. I previously argued that their strict quarantine policies were very effective and should have been emulated by the US and other countries with the capability to initiate them. However, with the widespread distribution of the very effective vaccines available like Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, I do not see why the government's of...

    @Tim Dunn:

    I remember arguing with you in past articles/blogs on this site that focused on Australia and New Zealand and their Zero-Covid policies. I previously argued that their strict quarantine policies were very effective and should have been emulated by the US and other countries with the capability to initiate them. However, with the widespread distribution of the very effective vaccines available like Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, I do not see why the government's of Australia and New Zealand and other Asia/Pacific nations with these strict quarantine policies are not revising their policies (or at least discussing the proposed revisions of their policies) in the near-term (next few months) to accommodate fully vaccinated non-citizens who can provide credentialed proof of their vaccination status as well as perhaps having to be tested on arrival and go through a more limited quarantine protocol. In a May 6 article/blog about Australia, Ben noted that their government is planning on opening up as early as late 2022. Australia opening up in late 2022 is crazy in my opinion, and the Zero-Covid policies of these Asia/Pacific countries are quickly going from model policies that were the envy of the world to just plain isolationist and extreme with the effective vaccines that are available now and in the arms of hundreds of millions worldwide.

  26. Hans

    The western world will move on, while Asia and Australia will spend the rest of the next decade getting to zero cases. I truly feel bad for their citizens and airlines.

  27. Tim Dunn

    Even though E. Asia has dealt with multiple pandemics but many countries have chosen a goal of having no covid cases at all - which is simply unattainable if there is any movement of people in/out of the country at all.
    Given that there are vaccines available - which many of the E. Asian countries have but aren't using to their fullest capability but still behind rates of other parts of the world -...

    Even though E. Asia has dealt with multiple pandemics but many countries have chosen a goal of having no covid cases at all - which is simply unattainable if there is any movement of people in/out of the country at all.
    Given that there are vaccines available - which many of the E. Asian countries have but aren't using to their fullest capability but still behind rates of other parts of the world - E. Asia will not be part of the global aviation community for months more.
    Japan will be particularly interesting to watch as cases and deaths rise right before the Olympics which alot of Japanese don't want.
    Cutting off other regions of the world plus Japan will leave much of the rest of Asia/Pacific isolated well into 2022.

  28. geoff

    If these countries are attempting zero Covid forever well, we have some bad news for them. This thing will never go away. If they want cases at zero then they will stay completely closed forever and even then it will pop up. Kinda like a virus. Weird.

  29. Henrietta Lau

    HK government messed up its covid response. Inept leadership and wrong focus.

  30. Daniel D

    I think as long as these countries have zero tolerance for COVID-19, they will not have an operating travel bubble. Furthermore, I don't think their approach to the virus is sustainable long-term, but if they are content with trading away tourism, mobility, convenience, and full human connection to gain zero covid, then they have the right to do that. I do not think it's worth it, and I'm happy to be in the US where we are taking a balanced approach.

  31. miamiorbust

    Think you underestimate how well most societies in Asia have functioned in terms of economic growth and social stability under restrictions that seem unimaginable to most people in western countries. These restrictions are not going away anytime soon. Zero interest in HK (read: china) and SIN has always been a little weird so nothing new here. Spent many years living in several Asian countries. Cannot really say I understand how social signaling works in any...

    Think you underestimate how well most societies in Asia have functioned in terms of economic growth and social stability under restrictions that seem unimaginable to most people in western countries. These restrictions are not going away anytime soon. Zero interest in HK (read: china) and SIN has always been a little weird so nothing new here. Spent many years living in several Asian countries. Cannot really say I understand how social signaling works in any of the cultures other than to say they are incomprehensible if viewed through western norms. But is seems to work for the elite and much of the rest of the population so don't expect any big changes. boarders may stay closed for years to tourists, particularly from outside Asia. If you have legit business interests and a corporate checkbook, you can enter SIN any time from nearly any country. Less true in HK but still possible. Travel bubbles are for everyone else. Thailand is probably your best bet for relatively open access this year.

Featured Comments Load all 31 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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SQ Flyer

@Philip Elliott Singapore is not actually in a lockdown (yet) – there are no movement restrictions for individuals apart from not being able to dine in at restaurants. Retail malls and shops remain open. What it has been attempting to do however, is contain the latest outbreak brought about by the more contagious/virulent Indian variant by means of increased restrictions. To your other point about the general sentiment on OMAAT towards the East Asian economies, it is after all a US-based travel blog. FREEDOM

Andy

It will be interesting to see how the "two worlds" will eventually get together. There is a group of countries, mainly in Asia, but also Australia and NZ, which follow a zero COVID strategy. On the other hand side, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa tolerate some levels of COVID, basically as long as the health system can cope. With the vaccinations, the numbers in the COVID tolerant countries will go down - but not to zero or anywhere close. So they remain way to high for the zero COVID countries. If they ban travel from no-zero countries, this is likely to last for a very long time, if not forever.

MichaelB

@ Philip Elliott I strongly believe Ben's job is not drive the community one way or another but just present information as reported. No political slant. We have enough websites that do that already. I would drop this site like a hot potato if I sensed any strong bias either way except to promote the love of travel and inform how best to optimize the use of points to travel in style as cost efficiently as possible. As others have pointed out, while Oceania/Pacific Rim countries have largely pursued a closed borders path other countries have not. And, while these same countries have largely been the envy of the world for their low/near zero Covid rates this strategy is not sustainable in the long term as Covid will remain at least in the background for a long time. The rest of us are moving on and I for one am very excited to start cross border travel again. As some have expressed the real challenge for these countries will be how to establish what level of risk is acceptable as a trade off for opening borders. That level can never be at or near zero if borders are to open.

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