Boris Johnson cancels Republic Day visit to India over COVID-19 crisis in U.K.

U.K. PM Boris Johnson was supposed to be the Chief Guest of India’s Republic Day celebrations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 5 cancelled a planned trip to India later this month, citing the need to oversee the pandemic response at home.

Also read: Coronavirus | U.K. PM Boris Johnson announces nationwide lockdown

“The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

“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 U.K. so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus.”

Mr. Johnson was supposed to be the Chief Guest of India’s Republic Day celebrations. India had extended the invite on November 27 during a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Johnson.

The United Kingdom on January 4 announced full coronavirus lockdown, possibly until mid-February, to try to cut spiralling infection rates. The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect January 6.

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