British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has decided to curtail his trip to India scheduled later this month because of the coronavirus situation in the country, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Johnson is slated to visit India in the last week of April.
“We’ve been in close contact with the Indian government about the PM’s upcoming visit in light of the Covid situation in India,” Johnson’s spokesperson told Reuters. “As a result of these discussions the prime minister has made the decision to reduce the length of the visit.”
The spokesperson said Johnson would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit. “This programme will be focused on high level discussions with the Indian government and Indian business leaders,” he said. He added that most of the programme would take place on April 26. This would be Johnson’s first major international trip after Britain’s exit from the European Union.
India is in the middle of severe second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the country reported 1,84,372 new Covid-19 infections – the highest single-day rise in cases since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The overall case count rose to 1,38,73,825 – the second highest in the world. With 1,027 more deaths in 24 hours, the toll went up to 1,72,085. Active cases stood at 13,65,704, while 1,23,36,036 people have recovered from the disease.
Earlier, the British prime minister was scheduled to visit India on Republic Day but had to call off the trip. Johnson had cited the complete lockdown imposed in England, fuelled by the new variant of the virus, as the reason behind cancelling his trip. On December 26, Johnson had accepted India’s invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.