Mumbai: After facing criticism from the Center over Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal commenting on the ‘Singapore Variant of the coronavirus, the national capital’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the BJP-ruled Center is more concerned about Singapore than the children of the country.
While addressing the press, Sisodia said that the Delhi government was more concerned about the children in view of the impending third COVID-19 wave, on the other hand, the Center was concerned about relations with Singapore.
“We are concerned about our children, while the BJP and the Center are concerned about Singapore. They won’t bring vaccine for children, but they will worry about Singapore,” deputy CM said.
This comes after CM Arvind Kejriwal yesterday called on the Centre to ban flights to Singapore amid reports of a dangerous coronavirus variant in circulation there.
“The new form of coronavirus in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It could reach Delhi in the form of a third wave. My appeal to the Central government: 1. Cancel all air services with Singapore with immediate effect 2. Work on vaccine alternatives for children on a priority basis,” the Delhi CM tweeted in Hindi yesterday.
सिंगापुर में आया कोरोना का नया रूप बच्चों के लिए बेहद ख़तरनाक बताया जा रहा है, भारत में ये तीसरी लहर के रूप में आ सकता है।
केंद्र सरकार से मेरी अपील:
1. सिंगापुर के साथ हवाई सेवाएं तत्काल प्रभाव से रद्द हों
2. बच्चों के लिए भी वैक्सीन के विकल्पों पर प्राथमिकता के आधार पर काम हो
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 18, 2021
Reacting, the Singapore Health Ministry said there was no ‘Singapore variant’ as such.
“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 Health Ministry said in a statement yesterday, asserting there is “no truth whatsoever” in such claims.
There is no truth in the assertion that there is a new COVID strain in Singapore. Phylogenetic testing has shown that the B.1.617.2 variant is the prevalent strain in many of the COVID cases, including in children, in recent weeks in Singapore.https://t.co/uz0mNPNxlE https://t.co/Vyj7gyyzvJ
— Singapore in India (@SGinIndia) May 18, 2021
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar today said on behalf of the Central Government that the views of the CM of Delhi do not represent the views of the Government of India.
“Singapore and India have been solid partners in the fight against Covid-19. Appreciate Singapore’s role as a logistics hub and oxygen supplier. Their gesture of deploying military aircraft to help us speaks of our exceptional relationship. However, irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships. So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India,” the EAM tweeted.
However, irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships.
So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 19, 2021
Reacting to the Centre’s criticism, Sisodia said the Centre’s action was similar when a new strain was detected in the United Kingdom last year and New Delhi was late in reacting to the evolving situation.
“A new strain has been found in the UK before and the alarm has been sounded. The Indian government still acted late and India had to bear the brunt of it. No family across the country was left untouched by the Covid mayhem,” Sisodia said.
He stressed that doctors, scientists and the Supreme Court have said that children may be affected by the third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“The issue is about children, not Singapore. Ask any parent today, they will say that they are concerned about their children and not about the image of India in Singapore. They (Centre) have given India’s vaccine to the world just to protect their image,” he said, wrapping up the press address.