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Arvind Kejriwal urges Centre to “stop Singapore flights” over new Covid strain

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
Arvind Kejriwal urges Centre to “stop Singapore flights” over new Covid strain

New Delhi: Flagging a new Covid variant detected in Singapore, which touted to be dangerous for kids and may “come as a third wave” in India, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to take immediate measures, including suspension of flights to and from Singapore.

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“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: 1. Air services with Singapore to be cancelled with immediate effect 2. Priority on vaccine options should be worked out for children too,” he said in a Hindi tweet.

The Delhi Chief Minister’s tweet comes amid concerns being raised over a third wave, which many experts said is likely to target children. The first wave has affected the elderly the most, and the younger people have been infected in the second wave, the experts reasoned.

“There is a possibility that the third wave virus will predominantly target the children, mainly because adults are either infected or immunised,” cardiac surgeon and chief of Narayana Health, Dr Devi Shetty has told media.

The government’s Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan has warned that a third wave is “inevitable” and suggested that vaccines need to be “updated” to deal with the emerging strains.

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“Phase three is inevitable given the higher levels of circulating virus, but it is not clear on what time-scale this phase three will occur. We should be prepared for new waves,” he said. A day later, he, however added if correct measures are taken now, the country might dodge it.

Most nations are yet to approve any vaccine for the use of children, Last week, the US authorised Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged between 12 years and 15 years. Canada is expected to follow.

On May 13, India gave clearance for Covaxin trials on children aged between two years and 18 years.  Most states, including Delhi, though, are grappling with a vaccine shortage. Covaxin stocks in Delhi for the 18-44-year age group was exhausted last week.

The number of adults vaccinated so far is also minuscule – data shows at the current rate, vaccinating 80 per cent of the adult population  will take more than three years. Vaccinating all adults has become important in view of a third wave – full immunisation of 80 per cent is expected to bring herd immunity.

A few states, including Maharashtra and Karnataka are already preparing for the third wave. Maharashtra is setting up child Covid centres and a paediatric task force.

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“The third wave could be deadly for small children below 18. Children need different ventilator beds and other medical equipment,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said.

Karnataka is also setting up a task force, which will be chaired by Dr Devi Shetty, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has said.

The second wave has left the country’s healthcare system in a shambles, with hospitals scrambling for oxygen and patients  and their families appealing for help in social media and crematoriums overflowing into parking lots.

The damage in rural areas is suspected to have been substantial, with bodies of suspected Covid patients found flowing down river Ganga last week.

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