Yuva - India

Kejriwal Singapore Row

On May 18th, 2021, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the “Singapore Strain” is extremely dangerous for the kids and it will be responsible for the third wave in India. He further requested to the Central Government to

1) All flights to and from Singapore should be suspended with immediate effect.

2) Vaccination options for children should be developed at the highest priority.

Netizens in Singapore strongly objected to the Delhi CM’s Arvind Kejriwal for claiming that “a dangerous Covid strain” was present in the city. Netizens also accused him of spreading misinformation and they also sought an apology and recommending fact-checking before tweeting. They also objected to the fact that the Delhi CM called it a “Singapore variant” and claimed that it could be the reason for the third wave in India.

After this tweet became viral on the internet, Arindam Bagchi, the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs replied “Singapore Government called in our High Commissioner today to convey strong objection to Delhi CM’s tweet on “Singapore variant”. High Commissioner clarified that Delhi CM had no competence to pronounce on Covid variants or civil aviation policy.”

Moreover, responding to Kejriwal’s tweet, Singapore’s health ministry on Tuesday night said, “There is no truth whatsoever in the assertions found within the reports.”

 

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar took to Twitter and said that India and Singapore have been solid partners in the fight against Covid-19. He also said that “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.”

He further strongly added that “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.”

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday tweeted that “Politicians should stick to facts! There is no “Singapore variant.”

He further thanked External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for clearing the air on the Delhi CM’s Tweet. He also said that let’s focus on resolving the situation in our respective countries and helping one another. Nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”

Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday invoked its Anti-misinformation Law

Following all these incidents, the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday invoked its anti-misinformation law, the Protection from Online Falsehood & Manipulation Act, or the POFMA against the Delhi Chief Minister.

https://www.pofmaoffice.gov.sg/documents/media-releases/2021/May/pofma-pr-moh-20May2021-01.pdf

In a Press Release, the Ministry of Health Singapore released an “Issuance of General Correction directions under the protection from online falsehood and manipulation act on falsehoods on “Singapore” Strain.”

In the official document, it is written that The Ministry of Health (MOH) is aware of a false statement circulating online by multiple media outlets and social media platforms which implies that a new unknown variant of Covid-19 originated in Singapore and/or risks spreading to India from Singapore.

The Ministry of Health also instructed the POFMA office to issue General Correction Directions to Facebook, Twitter, and SPH Magazines Ptv 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.

The document also mentioned Corrections and clarifications regarding falsehoods on the “Singapore” strain.

“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. The existence and spread of the B.1.617.2 variant within India predate the detection of the variant in Singapore, and this has been publicly known and reported by various media sources from as early as 5 May 2021.”

They also advised the members of the public not to speculate or spread misinformation.

It is important that when you are in a responsible position such as the Chief Minister of the National Capital, it becomes your duty to be well versed with the facts before spreading misinformation that might create panic.

Secondly, social media is not an apt medium to discuss national or international issues to discuss matters with PM. Being a Chief Minister, if you are concerned about the nation, then you must convey your ideas and suggestions to the PMO officially rather than on a social media platform.

The CM of Delhi has previously done a similar thing in the past where he took to Twitter, a social media platform instead of official mediums, to ask the Centre to provide Delhi with Oxygen as some hospitals were left with only a few hours of Oxygen. He also said that “serious oxygen crisis persist in Delhi”.

Mugdha Joglekar

Intern, Goa Chronicle

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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