Delhi Chief Minister asks Indian government to stop flights from Singapore over fear of new COVID-19 strain

Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ArvindKejriwal
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ArvindKejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the Indian government to stop all flights coming from Singapore after a new COVID variant was detected in the island nation that affects children. 

“The new corona strain in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It may come to India as the third wave. I appeal to the central government to: 1. Suspend all air services with Singapore 2. Give priority to developing a vaccine for children,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi. 

Singapore has been grappling with an increase in the number of COVID cases with authorities warning that the new virus strains were affecting more children in the country. Singapore has shifted all primary, secondary schools and junior colleges to full home-based learning starting May 19 as more COVID clusters have emerged, including amongst children at a tuition center. 

India meanwhile has been ravaged by a second wave of the virus which has had a high fatality rate and experts are warning of a third wave later this year. While the first wave in 2020 affected the elderly more, the second wave has seen more young people affected and experts believe that the third wave may hit children the hardest. 

As of now, there are no vaccines available in India for people below 18 years of age. Last week, the US authorised Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged between 12-15 years. However most countries are yet to approve a vaccine for children. 

On May 13, the Drugs Controller General of India gave clearance to start trials of Covaxin on children between the ages of 2 and 18.