The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, will not be available as the Chief Guest for India’s 71st Republic Day parade, the UK has confirmed.
“The prime minister spoke to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
The news comes hours after Boris Johnson announced a fresh complete lockdown in England citing ‘caseload’ amidst the spread of the new strain of coronavirus found in the UK earlier in December. The lockdown will be in place till mid-February.
India has earlier invited Boris Johnson as the Chief Guest for India’s upcoming Republic Day and the UK had warmly accepted the invitation.
The new strain of coronavirus in the UK is spreading rapidly. Though the Indian government took swift actions to ensure the new strain doesn’t reach India by suspending flight operations from and to UK, yet, as of now, as many as 58 cases of people infected with the new strain have been reported in India.
Meanwhile, due to the new strain of the virus, UK recently reported its highest ever cases in a single day at 58,000.
“As I speak to you tonight our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than at any time,” said Johnson while announcing the lockdown.