Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday took to Twitter urging the Centre to ban flights from Singapore "immediately". The AAP leader cited a new COVID-10 strain that he said could be "extremely dangerous for children". Alongisde, Kejriwal also called for India's inoculation drive to be expanded to include children.
"The new form of COVID-19 that has come 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 be canceled with immediate effect 2. Priority on vaccine options should be worked out for children too," the Delhi Chief Minister tweeted in Hindi. He is also slated to address a press conference at 4:30 pm.
As per recent reports, Singapore will be closing schools from Wednesday, with closed schools authorities warning of new coronavirus strains affecting more children. These restrictions would affect both primary and secondary schools and would be in place until the school term ends on May 28.
While it is not clear whether this is a new strain altogether, officials in the city-state are likening it to the B.1.617 strain that was first detected in India. On Sunday, Singapore reportedly saw 38 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases - the highest since September last year. This included four children in a cluster.
Kejriwal's tweet also comes at a time when many experts have spoken about the possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 affecting India in the months to come. Numerous virologists have said in recent days that this predicted third wave may affect children to a far greater degree.
This in turn has prompted states in India to take precautionary measures. The Maharashtra government for example had recently mulled the possibility of setting up a paediatric task force, COVID-19 care centres for children and more.