Covid-19 variant B.1.617 known for its increased transmissibility & tagged as a “variant of global concern” was first identified in India last year. B.1.617 is the fourth variant of Covid to be classified as such by WHO.
Singapore Government, which has done incredibly well to manage the Covid outbreak till date, has now confirmed the spread of this strain in the South East Asian Nation. What has become worrisome is the vulnerability of the young to this variant of coronavirus.
The country’s Education Minister, Chan Chun Sing in a press briefing reported that the strain is affecting children. To negate this Singapore authorities have shut down primary, secondary schools and junior colleges, shifting to home-based learning until the end of school term on May 28.
“We will also convert more classes in Institutes of Higher Learning online to reduce in-person attendance. Tuition and enrichment classes should move activities online till the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) on 13 June.” said by Chan Chun Sing, Education Minister in a Facebook post.
Chan added that none of the children are seriously ill and plans are being formed to vaccinate children as well.
Till date, there is no official confirmation on the number of children affected by this new strain. Singapore has now confirmed 38 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, the highest daily count in eight months, with cases of children linked to a tuition centre cluster.
More than one-fifth of Singapore’s population has been vaccinated with the two doses of Pfizer and Moderna, and now the country has approved Pfizer Vaccine for children above the age of 12.