Hardeep Singh Puri on new Covid variant in Singapore

Hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to ban flights to and from Singapore in view of a new Covid variant, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the Centre is taking all precautions and keeping an eye on the situation.

Responding to Kejriwal on Twitter, Puri said, “Kejriwal ji, all international flights have been stopped since March 2020. We have no air bubble with Singapore either.”

Only a few flights are being operated between the two countries under Vande Bharat Mission to bring stranded Indians back, Puri added.

“We are still keeping an eye on the situation. All precautions are being taken,” the Union Aviation Minister noted.

India suspended all scheduled international passenger flights on March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May 2020 and under air bubbles formed with around 27 countries since July 2020.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal appealed to the Centre to immediately cancel all air services with Singapore, saying the new strain of coronavirus there is said to be “very dangerous” for children.

This new strain of virus could invade India in the form of a third wave, he said in a tweet.

While there is no known Singapore strain of the coronavirus or any known to have originated in the city-state, Kejriwal appeared to be referring to a media report on Monday.

The report had mentioned the threat posed to Singapore’s children by the variant first detected in India.

Reacting to the media report, Dr V K Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, on Tuesday said, “We are examining it.”

The national capital on Tuesday reported 4,482 COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day rise since April 5, and 265 fatalities, while the positivity rate dipped to 6.89 per cent.

Delhi had reported 4,524 cases and 340 fatalities on Monday, while the positivity rate was 8.42 per cent.

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