'Only sensible' to cancel India trip, says Johnson

'Only sensible' to cancel India trip, says Johnson
  • Clock-gray 14:52
  • calendar-gray 19 April 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it was "only sensible" to cancel his trip to India, due to take place on 26 April, given the Covid situation in the country, APA reports citing BBC.

India has been reporting more than 200,000 cases daily since 15 April.

Mr Johnson said he would instead speak to the Indian PM Narendra Modi online.

The trip has already been rescheduled once - it was originally meant to take place in January but was cancelled due to the UK's national lockdown.

The UK government had hoped the visit - billed as the PM's first major overseas trip since taking office - would boost trade and investment ties, and move the two countries closer to securing a post-Brexit trade agreement.

However, the spread of a Covid variant in India had led some to suggest the trip should not go ahead.

On Sunday, India confirmed 1,620 deaths from the virus and its capital Delhi has been put into lockdown.

Health officials in the UK are investigating whether the variant, first found in India, spreads more easily and is able to resist the vaccine.

Public Health England says 73 cases have been detected in England, and four in Scotland.

India is not currently on the UK government's "red list" - meaning people returning from the country do not have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

The chief medical advisor for NHS Test and Trace, Dr Susan Hopkins, said the UK did not have enough data yet to determine if India should be put on the list.

Mr Johnson said: "The red list is very much a matter for the independent UK Health Security Agency - they will have to take that decision."

 

Asked about his cancelled India visit, the PM said it was "frustrating" but "Narendra Modi and I have basically come to the conclusion that, very sadly, I won't be able to go ahead with the trip.

"I do think it's only sensible to postpone, given what's happened in India, the shape of the pandemic there.

"Countries around the world including our own have been through this - I think everybody's got a massive amount of sympathy with India, what they're going through."

He added that the relationship between the UK and India is of "huge importance".

Zumrud Pashkin

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