The Prime Minister has been forced to cancel his forthcoming India trip as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic within the country
A joint statement that was released by both governments has 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.”
This comes after the prime minister has faced repeated quizzing from MPs about the lobbying row that has engulfed David Cameron, his Prime Ministerial predecessor, and has also dragged in some former and current ministers and government officials.
It comes amid the growing fears of a double mutation variant that has two new significant mutations within the spike protein which has helped it to infect cells and to evade peoples’ immune systems.
Figures that were released by Public Health England (PHE) at the weekend have shown that there have been 73 cases found within England, with another four in Scotland.
Boris Johnson has said that it is “only sensible” to cancel his trip to the sub-continent of India given the severity of the coronavirus situation there, saying that it is up to the UK Health Security Agency whether or not to add the country to the UK’s travel “red list”.
George Eustice, the UK’s Environment Minister said to LBC on Sunday “for now we are okay” with India not being put on the ‘red travel list’ despite the mutation having been found in the UK.
Whilst speaking on the Swarbrick on Sunday show, Environment Minister George Eustice was questioned over why India has not yet been put on the UK’s red list for countries to travel to.
The minister explained: “These things are kept under regular review, and there are around 30 countries currently on the list.
“I know that Grant Shapps and the other members of the Covid sub-committee that look at this will review it.” And if we get scientific advice that India should be on the red list then we will not hesitate to do that. But at the moment, we haven’t had such a recommendation.”
This comes after 1.1 million people in private households in the UK have reported having long COVID, latest estimates show. The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) defined the condition as symptoms that lasted more than four weeks and are self-reported, rather than clinically diagnosed.
He continued: “Obviously, we take a highly precautionary approach on all travel, so we ban people from travelling for the purposes of a holiday, and everyone arriving must have a pre-departure Covid test 72 hours before arriving and then must quarantine at home for ten days and have two tests within that time.
“I think for now we are okay, but should the advice change we will change.”