In a major embarrassment to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Singapore’s Health Ministry on Friday dismissed fear-mongering by the Delhi Chief Minister that a “very dangerous” strain of the coronavirus was prevalent in the South-East Asian country that may affect children in India and could be the cause for the third wave in the country.
On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had taken to Twitter to claim that a new variant of Covid-19 was found in Singapore, which could result in India’s third wave. Resorting to unnecessary fear-mongering, the Delhi Chief Minister put out unverified information to claim that the new variant was extremely dangerous for children.
The Delhi Chief Minister also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to immediately halt air services with Singapore and prioritize vaccination drive for children.
“The new form of Corona that came to Singapore is being said to be extremely dangerous for children, in India, it may come as a third wave. My appeal to the central government are air services with Singapore to be canceled with immediate effect and prioritize the options for vaccinating children at the earliest,” the Delhi Chief Minister tweeted in Hindi.
Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet came at a time when India was recovering from a devastating second wave of the pandemic that has resulted in a large number of deaths compared to the first wave that ravaged the country last year. Even as the country is fighting the deadly pandemic, Kejriwal resorted to rumour-mongering and attempted to instil a false sense of fear in public by claiming that there was a new variant of the virus that could cause another wave of the pandemic.
Singapore government rejects Arvind Kejriwal’s claims
Hours after Kejriwal put out unverified claims pertaining to the so-called Singapore strain, the Singapore government refuted all the claims made by Arvind Kejriwal and stressed that no new coronavirus strain had been detected in the city-state.
The Singapore High Commission tweeted on Tuesday, responding to Kejriwal’s tweet calling for a stop to air-traffic to and from Singapore.
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.https://t.co/uz0mNPNxlE https://t.co/Vyj7gyyzvJ— Singapore in India (@SGinIndia) May 18, 2021
“There is no truth whatsoever in the assertions found within the reports. There is no ‘Singapore variant.’ The strain that is prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant, which originated in India. Phylogenetic testing has shown this B.1.617.2 variant to be associated with several clusters in Singapore,” its health ministry said in a statement.
There are no flights between India and Singapore: Aviation minister fact checks Kejriwal
Following Kejriwal’s misleading and fear-mongering tweet, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri fact-checked his claims. The minister reminded him that at present there are no commercial flights between India and Singapore and there is no ‘air-bubble’ operation either. He reminded him that India had banned international flights from March 2020 itself, and the only flights operational are flown under the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission to bring stranded Indian citizens back to the homeland.
केजरीवाल जी, मार्च 2020 से ही अंतर्राष्ट्रीय उड़ानें बंद हैं। सिंगापुर के साथ एयर बबल भी नहीं है।— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 18, 2021
बस कुछ वन्दे भारत उड़ानों से हम वहाँ फँसे भारतीय लोगों को वापस लाते हैं। ये हमारे अपने ही लोग हैं।
फिर भी स्थिति पर हमारी नज़र है। सभी सावधानियाँ बरती जा रही हैं। pic.twitter.com/wOZMX0Q5CK
Minister Puri reminded Kejriwal that India had banned international flights from March 2020 itself, and the only flights operational are flown under the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission to bring stranded Indian citizens back to homeland.