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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

New Delhi: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was invited as the chief guest for the Republic Day parade, has cancelled his visit to India due to the serious coronavirus situation in his country.

Officials said Johnson called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and regretted that he would have to cancel his visit to India because of the pandemic situation.

In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus.

The UK PM said that he hopes to be able to visit India in the first half of 2021, and ahead of the UK’s G7 Summit that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to attend as a guest.

The coronavirus infection has been spreading in the UK for some time owing to a large extent to a new mutant of the virus, which has been found to be more infectious.

The UK PM imposed a new stay-at-home lockdown last night until at least mid-February to battle through the “critical moment” in the coronavirus pandemic, which has been exacerbated due to a new highly transmissible variant of the deadly virus.

Johnson said the UK is at a pivotal stage in its fight against the rapidly spreading infections as he confirmed a complete shutdown of schools and businesses, similar to the very first nationwide lockdown back in March 2020.

He revealed that the number of hospital patients has increased to nearly 27,000, almost a third higher than the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020. He, however, stressed that there is “one huge difference” compared to the lockdown of last year.

(With PTI Inputs)

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