British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India, hours after he announced a fresh lockdown in the United Kingdom over the new strain of coronavirus that has affected thousands of people in the UK. Mr Johnson was to be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade in New Delhi, which was also to be his first bilateral visit after the UK’s departure from the European Union in December. He had accepted the invitation last month.
“The prime minister spoke to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” read a statement from his Downing Street office.
“In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has recorded more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases in daily figures for the first time on Tuesday as the government struggles to deal with a new, more infectious variant of the virus.
The news is another reminder of the severity of the crisis as England and Scotland started a new COVID-19 lockdown, with citizens under orders to stay at home.
The number of new daily cases has been over 50,000 for the last eight days.