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

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Original photo: @ArvindKejriwal/Twitter
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Original photo: @ArvindKejriwal/Twitter

India’s top diplomat has echoed Singapore’s condemnation of comments made by his capital’s head of government suggesting a virus mutation from the city-state threatened to unleash a third wave of infections in India. 

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said today that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “does not speak for India,” noting that “irresponsible comments from those who should know better could damage long-standing partnerships.”

His repudiation of Kejriwal’s call to shut down travel between the two nations came as Singapore’s foreign affairs ministry said it was “disappointed” that such a prominent political figure would spread misinformation.

“[The Ministry of Foreign Affairs] regrets the unfounded assertions made on Facebook and Twitter by Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal that a variant of COVID-19 in Singapore was particularly harmful to children and could cause a third wave of infections in India,” it said in a statement. “MFA is disappointed that a prominent political figure had failed to ascertain the facts before making such claims.

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

The ministry said it raised its objections directly with India.

 The strong response came a day after Kejriwal spoke about the potential risk of India – where hundreds of thousands have died of COVID-19 and a fierce ongoing outbreak shows little sign of letting up – suffering even worse due to a more dangerous version of the virus in Singapore.

While the reality is that a mutation first recorded in India is spreading in Singapore, Kejriwal used his platform to urge his government to shut its borders with the Southeast Asian city-state. 

In response, Jaishankar noted that his counterpart had zero authority to “pronounce on COVID variants or civil aviation policy.”

Last night, Singapore’s Health Ministry was among the first to refute Kejriwal, saying there was “no truth” in what he had said.

Singapore has reported more than 100 cases of local COVID-19 transmission in recent weeks, many of which involved a variant discovered in India, where the death toll has eclipsed the world’s worst with thousands dying every day since last month. 

Kejriwal has not responded publicly to the criticism.

Other stories:

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

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