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Covid surge: UK Oppn joins calls for Johnson to cancel India visit

Apr 18, 2021 20:24 IST | By Editorji News Desk

Britain's Opposition Labour Party on Sunday joined calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to cancel his visit to India, starting next Sunday, amid growing concerns of a new variant of COVID-19 detected in the country.

Public Health England (PHE) has said that 77 cases of the so-called “double mutant” Indian variant have been detected in the UK since last month and that it has now been classed as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI).

Downing Street had earlier confirmed a much shorter schedule for the UK prime minister's visit, with the bulk of the programme including talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set for a day-long agenda on Monday, April 26.

“I can't see why the prime minister can't conduct his business with the Indian government via Zoom,” said Labour’s Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed.

“The prime minister, like all of us in public life, needs to try and set an example. I'd much rather the prime minister did it by Zoom rather than travelling to India," he told ‘Sky News’, when asked if the visit should go ahead next week.

A government minister, meanwhile, stressed that there is no evidence the Indian variant can evade vaccine protection or that it is more contagious.

National