'No truth in the assertion': Singapore responds as Arvind Kejriwal sounds warning about 'new COVID-19 strain'

Hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for flights from Singapore to be banned citing a new COVID-19 strain, the city-state has countered the claims. In a statement released by the Ministry of Health, Singapore rubbished reports, stating that the prevalent strain in recent cases was the B.1.617.2 variant that was first detected in India.

"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," the Delhi Chief Minister had tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. Keeping the same in mind he urged the Central government to cancel air services with Singapore immediately.

While Singapore has taken measures to protest children (such as closing schools) amid an uptick in infections, there's no official indication that there is a new strain that has originated in the country. The authorities have said that many individuals have tested positive for the B.1.617.2 mutation detected in India.

"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," the Singapore in India embassy handle tweeted in response to Kejriwal.

Within the country, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri too had responded to Kejriwal's post, assuring that the Centre was taking all precautions. "Kejriwal ji, all international flights have been stopped since March 2020. We have no air bubble with Singapore either," Puri said on Twitter.

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