Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that a highly contagious variant of Covid-19 affecting children was in circulation in Singapore.
The Ministry of Health of Singapore on Thursday cautioned social media networks against a “false statement” circulating online which described Singapore as the place of origin of a highly infectious COVID-19 variant that is threatening children. The statement came hours after the High Commissioner of Singapore in New Delhi said that his country “reserves” the right to invoke the law regarding fake news for comments from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had said that a COVID-19 variant was “found in Singapore”.
“The Minister for Health has instructed the POFMA [Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act] Office to issue General Correction Directions to Facebook, Twitter and SPH Magazines Pte Ltd (HardwareZone Forum). Facebook, Twitter and SPH Magazines are required to carry the Correction Notice to all end-users in Singapore who use Facebook, Twitter, and HardwareZone.com,” said the official notification from the Ministry of Health.
On Wednesday, Singapore’s High Commissioner, Simon Wong, said his country has the POFMA law to deal with information similar to the ones shared by Mr. Kejriwal, who had taken to social media and announced that a variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 “found in Singapore” was “very dangerous for children”. He then went on to seek suspension of air connectivity between India and Singapore.
”There is no new ‘Singapore’ variant of COVID-19. Neither is there evidence of any COVID-19 variant that is ‘extremely dangerous for kids’. The strain that is prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases detected in Singapore in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant, which originated from India,” said the official notification.
Singapore has chosen to use the scientific name of the strain in order to avoid attaching any geographical identity to the variant. India has also been opposed to associating any geographical link with B.1.617.2, the variant which is responsible for the second wave of COVID-19 in India.
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