British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was set to visit India for Republic Day celebrations on January 26 has postponed his visit.
Downing Street said the PM Johnson’s visit has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.
England entered stringent lockdown on Monday amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
“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,” newswire AFP quoted Downing Street spokesman as saying.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told a television channel that the national lockdown in England could last till March with measures to be reviewed from February 15.
India’s Prime Minister’s Office(PMO) said that PM Modi had a telephone conversation today with the Prime Minister of UK Boris Johnson and he expressed regret over his inability to attend India’s forthcoming Republic Day celebrations in view of the changed COVID-19 situation prevailing in the UK.
“He reiterated his keenness to visit India in the near future,” PMO said in a statement.
“The leaders reviewed ongoing cooperation between both countries, including in the area of making COVID-19 vaccines available for the world,” the PMO informed.
The national lockdown in England was announced on Monday after the British government revealed a new variant of the virus had entered Britain from South Africa a fortnight ago which was “70 per cent” more transferable.
England has been rolling out its vaccines at a fast pace amid the virus surge with supermarkets Tesco, Morrisons and Boots declaring they are ready to chip in to provide space and refrigerated lorries.
The United Kingdom has been hit hard due to the virus with the cases surging to over 2.7 million along with over 75,540 fatalities.