London, Apr 19 (EFE).- The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled an upcoming trip to India due to the Covid-19 in the Asian country, which is witnessing a strong second wave of infections.
Johnson and India’s prime minister Narendra Modi said in a joint statement released by Downing Street that the pair would speak later this month to “agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India.”
“In the light of the current coronavirus situation, prime minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week,” it said.
“They will remain in regular contact beyond this, and look forward to meeting in person later this year,” the statement added.
Johnson’s Conservative Party government regards the visit as one of the prime minister’s most important since taking office in 2019. It comes as part of the UK government’s bid to seal international trade deals following its departure from the European Union.
The last-minute decision to cancel the trip was based on the worsening Covid-19 situation in India and concerns raised by the detection of a new, virulent variant in the Asian nation.
At least 70 cases of this variant have been reported in the UK.
India’s total number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began surpassed 15 million on Monday after health authorities logged a new daily record increase in both infections and deaths.
Authorities in New Delhi enforced a week-long lockdown to protect the healthcare system in the capital, where many hospitals are at full capacity and risk running out of oxygen reserves.
A total of 178,769 people have died from Covid-19 in India, which is the second-most infected country overall after the United States, which has detected 32 million cases since the outbreak began. EFE