- Labour told Boris Johnson to cancel his planned trip to India next month.
- It comes amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases there.
- “I’d much rather the prime minister did it by Zoom rather than traveling to India,” said Labour’s Steve Reed.
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The opposition Labour Party has told Boris Johnson to cancel his planned trip to India for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.
The prime minister is set to visit India on April 26, and Downing Street has refused to cancel it, with a Number 10 spokesman on Friday saying the trip had been made “slightly shorter than it will have been.”
Labour on Sunday said Johnson should cancel the trip altogether.
“I think he shouldn’t be (traveling to India),” Labour’s shadow communities secretary told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
“There are new variants emerging all around the world, the government is telling people ‘don’t travel if you don’t absolutely have to travel.’
“I can’t see why the prime minister can’t conduct his business with the Indian government via
“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 traveling to India.”
India reported a further 261,500 coronavirus cases on Sunday, per Reuters, a figure which has surged in recent weeks.
That took the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 14.8 million, with the chief minister of New Delhi warning that hospital beds were “filling fast.”
The new Indian variant of the COVID-19 virus is potentially very dangerous, experts warn.
It has two mutations that allow the virus to lessen the potency of the vaccine.
The variant – officially named B.1.617 – is believed to driving the spike in India’s cases and 77 cases have been reported in the UK, Sky News reported.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson was also unable to explain on Friday why India had not been placed on the red list of countries from which people arriving in the UK must enter quarantine.
—Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) April 16, 2021
Johnson was due to visit India for four days for talks with the government, but most meetings will now occur on Monday, April 26, Downing Street said, per BBC News.