Dismissing media reports that quoted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that a “very dangerous" strain of the coronavirus was prevalent in the city-state, Singapore on Tuesday said that there is “no truth whatsoever” in such assertions.
Kejriwal on Twitter said the new strain of coronavirus could invade India in the form of a third wave.
"The new form of coronavirus in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It could reach Delhi in the form of a third wave. My appeal to the Central government: 1. Cancel all air services with Singapore with immediate effect 2. Work on vaccine alternatives for children on a priority basis," the Delhi chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi on Tuesday.
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Responding to Kejriwal’s tweet, Singapore’s health ministry said: “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,” it said in a statement.
Responding to the chief minister's appeal, India's Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said only a few flights are being operated between the two countries under the government's Vande Bharat Mission to bring stranded Indians back, and added that "all precautions are being taken".
While there is no known Singapore strain of the coronavirus or any known to have originated in the city-state, Kejriwal appeared to be referring to a media report on Monday.
The report had mentioned the threat posed to Singapore's children by the variant first detected in India.
Reacting to the media report, Dr V K Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, told a briefing on Tuesday, "We are examining it".
Aviation Minister Puri replied to the Delhi CM's tweet, saying, "Kejriwal ji, all international flights have been stopped since March 2020. We have no air bubble with Singapore either."
Only a few flights are being operated between the two countries under Vande Bharat Mission to bring back Indians stuck there, he added.
"We are still keeping an eye on the situation. All precautions are being taken," Puri noted.
Earlier this month, the chief minister had said Delhi should prepare for the third wave of COVID-19.
The national capital on Tuesday reported 4,482 Covid-19 cases, the lowest single-day rise since April 5, and 265 fatalities, while the positivity rate dipped to 6.89 per cent.
Delhi had reported 4,524 cases and 340 fatalities on Monday, while the positivity rate was 8.42 per cent.
(With PTI inputs.)