A day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said India should ban flights from Singapore over the emergence of a new COVID-19 strain, its high commissioner in India has denied reports that any homegrown variant is affecting kids. It said the strain that has been detected in many COVID-19 patients in Singapore, including children, is the B.1.617.2 variant.
"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," Singapore High Commission in India tweeted in a revert to the Delhi chief minister's tweet.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said the Singapore Government called in India's High Commissioner today to convey strong objection to Delhi CM's tweet on "Singapore variant".
Singapore Government called in our High Commissioner today to convey strong objection to Delhi CM's tweet on "Singapore variant". High Commissioner clarified that Delhi CM had no competence to pronounce on Covid variants or civil aviation policy.Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) May 19, 2021
The highly contagious B.1.617 variant of coronavirus was first detected in India and has now spread to many countries across the world. The variant is believed to be the primary cause of the second COVID-19 wave in India, which has crippled the healthcare system in the country.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Kejriwal said the new strain that has emerged in Singapore can come to India in the form of a third wave of the pandemic, and urged the Centre to start work on COVID-19 vaccines for children.
In another tweet, the chief minister shared a news report that said authorities in Singapore have warned of the new COVID-19 strain in the country. Starting today, all primary, secondary and junior colleges will shift to full home-based learning in Singapore until the end of the school term on May 28 because of the new strain, the Singapore authorities said.
"Some of these (virus) mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack the younger children," Singapore's Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said. None of the children who have contracted the virus are seriously ill and a few have mild symptoms, he added.
Delhi has been one of the most affected states in India due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the cases have started showing a declining trend. On Tuesday, the national capital reported 4,482 new cases and 265 deaths in the preceding 24 hours. The downtrend in positivity rate continued, with it dipping to 6.89 per cent.
The Kejriwal-led government in Delhi has been constantly attacking the Centre on various issues related to COVID-19.
After alleging an insufficient supply of medical oxygen by the Centre, his government has accused the NDA government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of exporting COVID-19 vaccines to other countries when India was in dire need of vaccines.
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