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MOH says ‘no truth whatsoever’ in India news reports claiming ‘Singapore variant’ of coronavirus

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has refuted news reports in India claiming of a "Singapore variant" of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, adding that “there is no truth whatsoever in the assertions found within the reports”.

Medical staff transfers a Covid-19 coronavirus patient (left) to a ward at a hospital in New Delhi on May 18, 2021. MOH says the strain that is prevalent in many of the Covid-19 cases in Singapore in recent weeks is the B1617.2 variant, which originated in India.

Medical staff transfers a Covid-19 coronavirus patient (left) to a ward at a hospital in New Delhi on May 18, 2021. MOH says the strain that is prevalent in many of the Covid-19 cases in Singapore in recent weeks is the B1617.2 variant, which originated in India.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has refuted news reports in India claiming of a "Singapore variant" of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, adding that “there is no truth whatsoever in the assertions found within the reports”.

“There is no ‘Singapore variant’,” MOH said in a statement late on Tuesday (May 18) night.

The ministry was referring to two reports published on the day.

The first was in Hindustan, an English-language daily, with the headline "Coronavirus variant found in Singapore can be India's 3rd wave, extremely dangerous for kids, warns Arvind Kejriwal".

The second was on NDTV headlined “Stop Singapore Flights: Arvind Kejriwal To Centre Over New Covid Strain”.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday warned of a new strain of the coronavirus found in Singapore and said that it can result in India's third wave of infections.

The virus, Kejriwal said, is extremely dangerous for children and he asked the central government led by India's prime minister Narendra Modi to immediately halt air services with Singapore and prioritise vaccination drive for children.

"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 chief minister posted on Twitter in Hindi. 

He is from Aam Admi Party, which is a rival of Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.  

In its response, MOH said: “The strain that is prevalent in many of the Covid-19 cases in recent weeks is the B1617.2 variant, which originated in India.

“Phylogenetic testing has shown this B1617.2 variant to be associated with several clusters in Singapore.”

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Covid-19 coronavirus India MOH

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