Prime Minister Boris Johnson has canceled his planned visit to India next week “in view of the current coronavirus situation,” Downing Street said.
Downing Street issued a joint statement by the British and Indian governments.
“Given the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week,” the statement said.
“Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to finalize and get their ambitious plans for the future UK-India partnership under way. They will also stay in regular contact and look forward to meeting in person later this year. “
New Delhi will be locked for a week starting Monday evening as an explosive spike in coronavirus cases pushed the Indian capital’s health system to its limits.
Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at a press conference that the capital was facing a shortage of oxygen and drugs.
“I’m not saying the system has collapsed, but it has reached its limits,” said Kejriwal, adding that tough measures are needed to “prevent the health system from collapsing.”
According to the Indian Ministry of Health, Delhi reported 25,462 cases and 161 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Overall, India reported 273,810 new infections on Monday, the highest daily increase since the pandemic began, and has now reported more than 15 million infections, only second in total to the United States.
The Ministry of Health also reported 1,619 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to more than 178,769.
India has the fourth highest number of deaths after the US, Brazil and Mexico – although it has a much larger population than any of these countries at nearly 1.4 billion people.
The rising cases and deaths come just months after India believed it experienced the worst pandemic, but experts say even those numbers are likely under counted.
Similar virus restrictions have already been imposed in the hardest-hit state of Maharashtra, home of India’s financial capital Mumbai.