More than 10 million people in the UK have now received their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to government figures, amid growing concerns about the threat posed by the Covid-19 variant first discovered in India.
Boris Johnson cancelled his planned trip to the country on Monday as health secretary Matt Hancock announced that India would be added to the UK’s travel ban “red list” this week.
In a joint statement, the two governments said: “In the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week.
“Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India. They will remain in regular contact beyond this, and look forward to meeting in person later this year.”
The variant of Covid-19 that first emerged in India and was detected in the UK last week is expected to be named as a “variant of concern”, according to scientists.
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told Good Morning Britain on Monday that escalating the Indian variant of the virus to a “variant of concern” would lead to India being placed on the government’s “red list” of hotel quarantine countries.
India reported 273,810 new infections on Monday, its highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic. Deaths rose a record 1,619 to 178,769.