Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday slammed Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for his tweet on a dangerous variant in Singapore, asking the activist-turned politician to “stick to facts.”
“Politicians should stick to facts! There is no “Singapore variant”,” Balakrishnan replied to Kejriwal on twitter, attaching a link which detailed the spread of the B.1.617 variant in Singapore.
— Vivian Balakrishnan (@VivianBala) May 19, 2021
There is no truth in the assertion that there is a new COVID strain in Singapore. Phylogenetic testing has shown that the B.1.617.2 variant is the prevalent strain in many of the COVID cases, including in children, in recent weeks in Singapore.https://t.co/uz0mNPNxlE https://t.co/Vyj7gyyzvJ
— Singapore in India (@SGinIndia) May 18, 2021
The B.1.617 variant was first found in India and has since spread to many countries, including United Kingdom and Singapore.
The Singaporean government conveyed its “strong objection” to Indian High Commissioner on Delhi CM’s assertion on Singapore variant.
“High Commissioner clarified that Delhi CM had no competence to pronounce on Covid variants or civil aviation policy,” the MEA said.
Singapore Government called in our High Commissioner today to convey strong objection to Delhi CM's tweet on "Singapore variant". High Commissioner clarified that Delhi CM had no competence to pronounce on Covid variants or civil aviation policy.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) May 19, 2021
Even S Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, tweeted a clarification on the matter, saying the Delhi CM “does not speak for India.”
However, irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships.
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So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May19,2021
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday said that there is no truth in the references in reports in a section of Indian media about the presence of a new variant of coronavirus in the country, adding that 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,” the statement said.
“The new form of Corona that came to Singapore is 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. Vaccine options should be worked out for children too,” Mr Kejriwal had said in a Hindi tweet earlier on Tuesday.
His tweet came amid concerns over a possible 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, they pointed out.
Singapore reported 38 new cases of Covid-19 infection on Sunday, the highest number in more than a year.
Earlier, Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a press conference that the strain, B.1.617, “appears to affect children more”.
“Some of these mutations are much more virulent and they seem to attack the younger children,” Education Minister Chan Chun Sing was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.