Coronavirus news - live: Boris Johnson cancels India trip amid concern over variant as Delhi enters lockdown

Kate Ng and Ella Glover
·1 min read
Staff hand out home testing kits for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to local residents on Clapham Common in London (REUTERS)
Staff hand out home testing kits for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to local residents on Clapham Common in London (REUTERS)

The Prime Minister has cancelled his trip to India as concerns about the new Covid-19 variant grow.

The news follows a week-long lockdown announced in New Delhi as India’s hospitals have “reached their limit.”

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 become a “variant of concern”, scientists say amid calls for a travel ban on arrivals from the country.

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.

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