The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore has responded to claims made by Chief Minister of India's capital territory, Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal of a "Singapore variant".
In a press release on May 18 night, MOH said there was "no truth whatsoever" to assertions found within two reports, "Coronavirus variant found in Singapore can be India's 3rd wave, extremely dangerous for kids, warns Arvind Kejriwal" by the Hindustan Times (HT) and NDTV's “Stop Singapore Flights: Arvind Kejriwal To Centre Over New Covid Strain”, both published on May 18.
MOH went on to say that there is no “Singapore variant”, and that the strain prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant, "which originated in India".
According to MOH, phylogenetic testing has shown this B.1.617.2 variant to be associated with several clusters in Singapore.
Ban on flights with S'pore
Kejriwal has called for a ban on flights with Singapore in his tweet.
According to the HT, Kejriwal had tweeted that a new variant of Covid-19 which is "found in Singapore" was apparently "extremely dangerous" for children and could result in a third wave of infections within India. The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India.
In appealing to the country's central government, Kejriwal said that air services with Singapore should be cancelled with immediate effect, while options for the vaccination of children should be prioritised.
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।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 18, 2021
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
Since April 24, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India within the last 14 days, including transit, are not allowed entry into or to transit through Singapore.
Several Indian netizens, including a journalist, had replied to the minister's tweet, pointing out that the B.1.617 strain is the same one first detected in India.
.@ArvindKejriwal asks Centre to stop air services from Singapore immediately, claiming #Covid19 strain from Singapore could be extremely dangerous for children. It may start a third wave in India, priority should be given on vaccine options for children, he says @DeccanHerald— Shemin (@shemin_joy) May 18, 2021
Sirji, The strain in Singapore is b117..same as indian strain ..Singapore has already closed borders and suspended flights to / from india.— Manish Sharma (@ManishS_SG) May 18, 2021
Which world do you live in!!!
B117 in Singapore is affecting the children, which is same as the strain already circulating in India during second wave.— ISHAN ARORA (@ishanarora127) May 18, 2021
Plus, Singapore already stopped all passenger flights to/from India.
Kaun sa nasha karte ho bhai? Bas har samay muh faad dena hota hai.🙄🙄🙄🙄 pic.twitter.com/GG5XRpRfHq
#FirstWave - Tablighi Jamat, Delhi#SecondWave - FarmBrokers Protest, Delhi— Ganesh Kumar R (@eraganeshkumar) May 18, 2021
Now, @ArvindKejriwal is hinting that #ThirdWave will be from Delhi, but he is dragging #Singapore for his plan. @narendramodi Ji, pls take care, now he is dragging international level for this. Pls see.
Sahi hai— UD (@udaymishra007) May 18, 2021
Singapore is closing schools because of strain B.1.617
Which is already prevalent in India
It went from India to SG
What Kejriwal is saying to block flight from Singapore
A CM should be careful about talking in international affairs
Bas bolne ke liye kuch bhi na bole
MOH's full statement
Here is the full statement by MOH:
"The Ministry of Health refers to the reports published by Hindustan Times on 18 May 2021 ("Coronavirus variant found in Singapore can be India's 3rd wave, extremely dangerous for kids, warns Arvind Kejriwal") and NDTV on 18 May 2021 (“Stop Singapore Flights: Arvind Kejriwal To Centre Over New Covid Strain”).
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."
You can read more about what MOH is responding to here:
Image from Arvind Kejriwal and MOH’s Facebook pages.