Coronavirus variant found in Singapore can be India's 3rd wave, extremely dangerous for kids, warns Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday warned the Centre of a new variant of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) found in Singapore and said that it can result in India's third wave.
The virus, Kejriwal said, is extremely dangerous for children and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to immediately halt air services with Singapore and prioritise 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 cancelled with immediate effect and prioritise the options for vaccinating children at the earliest," the Delhi chief minister tweeted.
The warning comes as the national capital has started showing signs of gradual recovery. The number of daily cases has come down from the highest seen last month at more than 28,000 to less than 5,000 recorded on Tuesday.
By evening, Singapore’s health ministry responded with a sharp rebuttal that stressed that no new coronavirus strain had been detected in the city-state.
“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.
South Asian countries like Singapore and Taiwan, lauded as success stories in containing Covid-19, are both rapidly imposing aggressive restrictions at home - and tightening travel between each other.
In Singapore, indoor dining at restaurants has been banned and working from home will now be the default, as the city-state re-imposed lockdown-like measures it last ordered a year ago. Seven schools will switch to home-based learning to “ring-fence” those affected by infections, as the city-state makes plans to vaccinate those below 16 years old.
Officials have urged Singapore residents to wear masks and avoid activities that require “masks to be down,” such as eating and drinking with others “for the next 3-6 weeks”.
Singapore’s latest curbs, announced on May 14, will remain in effect for one month, until June 13, according to the health ministry. The country added 38 new local cases on Sunday, 18 of which are currently unlinked to known clusters.
On April 29, Singapore’s daily community cases of Covid-19 climbed to the highest in more than nine months, with a cluster formed in one of the biggest hospitals in the country and another from a worker at Changi Airport. This prompted the officials to put the country on heightened alert.
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The outbreaks and virus-control measures threaten the reopening progress of regional travel. Singapore had previously allowed travellers from Taiwan to enter without a quarantine. On Saturday, it announced a ban on the entry of short-term visitors with travel history to Taiwan in the past 21 days, while requiring citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders to quarantine when they arrive.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)