‘No truth’ to Indian media reports of a Singapore variant of COVID-19: MOH

Headlines of the new reports superimposed on a screengrab of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a recent press conference. Photo: Arvind Kejriwal/Twitter
Headlines of the new reports superimposed on a screengrab of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a recent press conference. Photo: Arvind Kejriwal/Twitter

Update: India joins dog pile on Delhi official over ‘Singapore variant’ claim

Singapore’s Ministry of Health has rejected warnings in India’s media that a Singaporean variant of the coronavirus could lead to a third wave of infections there. 

Singapore’s Health Ministry said yesterday that the reports, which cited Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal describing a mutation linked to Singapore, were outright false. The statements were published in Indian news outlets Hindustan Times and NDTV, which have millions of followers on social media. 

“There is no truth whatsoever in the assertions found within the reports. There is no ‘Singapore variant,’” the ministry said in a statement. “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.”

The variant, said to be more infectious, has been linked to several outbreaks in Singapore, including those at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi Airport. 

The Hindustan Times and NDTV articles were based on a tweet in Hindi by Kejriwal which urged the country to end air travel with Singapore, where he said the coronavirus was “extremely dangerous for children” and “may come as a third wave” to India. 

“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,” read the tweet’s translation to English in the Times. “My appeal to the central government are air services with Singapore to be cancelled with immediate effect and prioritise the options for vaccinating children at the earliest.”

Both articles had been updated to include rebuttals by Singapore’s diplomatic mission there.

Singapore has barred entry for long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who recently traveled to India.

Singapore continues to report double-digit infections with 27 locally transmitted infections recorded yesterday. In total, there have been 61,651 cases and 31 deaths since the outbreak began. India recorded more than 29 million cases with close to 280,000 deaths.

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CITY: SINGAPORECATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: HEALTH, VIRALTAGS:

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