'No new COVID strain': Singapore responds to Kejriwal's calls for air service bans

'No new COVID strain': Singapore responds to Kejriwal's calls for air service bans

The B.1.617.2 variant is the same mutation that dominated India's second surge.

The Singapore High Commission denied the presence of any new strain of coronavirus in the country, responding in a tweet to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's calls for instituting restrictions of travel. "There is no truth in the assertion that there is a new COVID strain in Singapore. Phylogenetic testing has shown that the B.1.617.2 variant is the prevalent strain in many of the COVID cases, including in children, in recent weeks in Singapore," the embassy tweeted.

'No new COVID strain': Singapore responds to Kejriwal's calls for air service bans
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The B.1.617.2 variant is the same mutation that dominated India's second surge.

Kejriwal had earlier appealed to the Central government to immediately cancel all air services with Singapore, saying a new strain of coronavirus there is said to be "very dangerous" for children.

"The new form of coronavirus in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It could reach Delhi in the form of a third wave. My appeal to the Central government: 1. Cancel all air services with Singapore with immediate effect 2. Work on vaccine alternatives for children on a priority basis," the chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.

Responding to the chief minister's appeal, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said only a few flights are being operated between the two countries under the government's Vande Bharat Mission to bring stranded Indians back, and added that "all precautions are being taken".

The AAP leader's tweet also prompted political reactions from rival parties, with the Delhi BJP accusing Kejriwal of creating panic among people, and the Congress berating him for allegedly shirking his own responsibility on how to counter a new variant of the virus.

"CM Kejriwal ignored the fact that coronavirus strain B.1.617 which has now been found in Singapore has been active in India since March 2021 especially in Maharashtra. One fails to understand why Arvind Kejriwal is now trying to create panic for this strain of Covid," Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said in a statement.

Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar said in a statement, "As is his habit, the CM was trying to shirk his own responsibility on how to counter a new Singapore variant of the Covid virus, which will hit children hard, by taking expert opinion immediately, to take precautionary measures, he was tweeting to the Centre to stop all international flights from Singapore, which is an easy way out for him, for not doing any work." Earlier this month, the chief minister had said Delhi should prepare for a third wave of COVID-19.

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