- Prime Minister Johnson had accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Modi to attend Republic Day celebrations.
- In return for this postponed visit, Prime Minister Johnson invited India to attend the G7 summit as one of the three invited countries, alongside South Korea and Australia.
- Armenian President Armen Sarkissian was infected with the coronavirus and is confined in London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed an official trip to India, scheduled for January, which would have been his first major trip abroad after the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, Downing Street announced today. As a reason for his cancellation, Prime Minister Johnson cited the need to oversee the pandemic response at home.
“The prime minister spoke to (Indian) Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said in a statement.
“In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the prime minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus.”
Prime Minister Johnson had accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to attend the Republic Day celebrations on 26 January in New Delhi.
The plans changed, however, due to the escalation of the spread of the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom. This led the Prime Minister to decree a new lockdown, starting today, also requiring his presence in Downing Street, to closely monitor developments of the health crisis.
Downing Street now says that Boris Johnson “hopes to be able to travel to India during the first half of 2021 . . . before the G7 summit.”
In return for this postponed visit, Prime Minister Johnson invited India to attend the G7 summit as one of the three invited countries, alongside South Korea and Australia.
With more than 75,000 dead, the UK is one of the European countries most affected by the pandemic of COVID-19.
Armenian President Infected, Confined in London
Elsewhere, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian was infected with the coronavirus and is confined in London, his office announced today.
”Sarkissian, 67, took the test after showing symptoms of COVID-19 following foot surgery which he underwent in London on Sunday. President Sarkissian has self-isolated and will temporarily work remotely.”
The statement further states that the head of state, besides undergoing a leg surgery, was in London to “spend the New Year with his family and their grandchildren.”
The role of the President in Armenia is mainly honorary, with the main decisions dependent on the Prime Minister, Nikol Pachinian, who was also infected in June with the coronavirus.
Armenia, a small country in the Caucasus with about three million inhabitants, has been facing a new outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic for months. The official figures available today indicate more than 160,000 cases and 2,878 deaths.
The Armenian authorities were criticized for their management of the crisis, with experts saying that the decision to close the borders was adopted too late, and that policymakers sent mixed messages to the population.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused at least 1,854,305 deaths, resulting from more than 85 million cases of infection worldwide, according to a report by the French agency, AFP.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China.