Tuesday, May 18, 2021

'We have no air bubble with them': Puri responds to Kejriwal's concerns over new COVID strain in Singapore

New Delhi: Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Tuesday said the Centre is taking all precautions and keeping an eye on the situation in Singapore after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to it to cancel all flights with the city-state as a "very dangerous" coronavirus strain has been detected there.

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

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

"We are still keeping an eye on the situation. All precautions are being taken," Puri 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."

18/05/21 New Indian Express

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