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Saturday, 08 May 2021 3.34 AM IST

UK adds India in its travel 'red list' amid Covid-19 surge

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NEW DELHI: Britain on Monday imposed its strictest travel curbs on India after an explosion of coronavirus cases there, hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called off a trip to New Delhi.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the move in the House of Commons as he revealed that 103 cases of the so-called Indian variant had been identified in the UK, of which the "vast majority have links to international travel".

He said that samples of that variant have been analysed to see if the new variant has any "concerning characteristics", such as greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines.

Hancock said India was being added to Britain's "red list" of countries, banning all arrivals from India except for UK or Irish nationals, who must pay to stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days on their return.

The British and Indian governments said Monday that “in the light of the current coronavirus situation," Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week as planned. They said Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would speak later this month and planned to meet in person later this year.

The long-planned trip would have been Johnson’s first foreign visit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago. It was originally scheduled for January but was postponed when infections soared in Britain.

India reported 273,810 new infections on Monday, its highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic. It has now reported more than 15 million infections, second only to the United States.

The Indian Health Ministry also reported 1,619 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll over 178,769. India has the fourth-highest number of deaths after the U.S., Brazil and Mexico but has a much larger population.

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TAGS: INDIA, RED LIST, TRAVEL CURBS, CORONAVIRUS CASES, MATT HANCOCK, HOUSE OF COMMONS, JOHNSON
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