News Karnataka
Wednesday, March 22 2023

‘Boris Johnson ‘may not’ be able to visit India for R-Day parade’

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New Delhi: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in Delhi, may not be able to visit India owing to the emergence and rapid spread of the new COVID-19 variant in the country.

Speaking to NDTV, Chair of the Council of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that while it is still too early for the UK government to take a decision regarding PM Johnson’s visit, the trip “may not be possible” if this level of infection and spread persists.

“Obviously we can’t make a decision today about something five weeks from now… changes to the virus’ reality happen on a day-to-day basis. But one consideration is that the trip to India may not be possible, particularly if this level of infection and spread continues,” he told NDTV, adding that the British PM might make it if the lockdown in London and other parts (which are under stringent restrictions) manages to control the spread of the virus.

The new variant was first discovered by scientists in a patient in southeast England in September. An alarm was raised on Friday by Public Health England, a government agency, when modelling revealed the serious nature of the mutant strain. The variant – B.1.1.7 – has at least 17 changes in its viral genetic load and offers no change in clinical severity or mortality. However, it is said to be 70 per cent more transmissible.

So far, the new COVID-19 strain has been detected in Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Australia. Many countries, including India, have temporarily banned travel to and from the UK.

Meanwhile, the UK has already begun vaccinating its population against the Covid virus, but it is feared that the mutant strain may be immune to Pfizer’s vaccine.

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