Delhi — Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday (May 18) that a variant of the coronavirus found in Singapore could cause a third wave in India and appealed to the Indian government to halt all flights to and from Singapore.
In a tweet on Tuesday (May 18), Mr Kejriwal wrote: “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”.
He added: “My appeal to the central government:
1. Air services with Singapore to be canceled (sic) with immediate effect
2. Priority on vaccine options should be worked out for children too.”
सिंगापुर में आया कोरोना का नया रूप बच्चों के लिए बेहद ख़तरनाक बताया जा रहा है, भारत में ये तीसरी लहर के रूप में आ सकता है।
केंद्र सरकार से मेरी अपील:
1. सिंगापुर के साथ हवाई सेवाएं तत्काल प्रभाव से रद्द हों
2. बच्चों के लिए भी वैक्सीन के विकल्पों पर प्राथमिकता के आधार पर काम हो
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 18, 2021
Singaporeans were up in arms after the tweet was circulated, with Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan tweeting: “Politicians should stick to facts!
There is no ‘Singapore variant’.
— Vivian Balakrishnan (@VivianBala) May 19, 2021
The tables seemed to have been turned on Singapore, as earlier in May, the variant found in India was colloquially termed the ‘Indian virus’ before it was named the B.1.617 strain by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a press statement on Wednesday (May 19), MFA said it “regrets the unfounded assertions made on Facebook and Twitter” by Mr Kejriwal that a “variant of COVID-19 found in Singapore was particularly harmful to children and could cause a third wave of infections in India”.
“MFA is disappointed that a prominent political figure had failed to ascertain the facts before making such claims,” said the ministry.
“MFA met the High Commissioner of India P Kumaran this morning to express these concerns.”
As highlighted by MOH, there is no “Singapore variant”, MFA also said. “The strain prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is the B16172 variant, which was first detected in India.” /TISG