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UK's Johnson cancels India trip as its virus cases surge

Last Updated Apr 19, 2021 at 2:47 am PDT

A police man stops an auto rickshaw at a check point during a weekend lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in Prayagraj, India, Sunday, April 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called off a trip to India amid surging coronavirus cases in the country.

The British and Indian governments said Monday that “in the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week” as planned.

The two governments said Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narenda 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 postponed when infections soared in Britain.

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

The 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 — though, with nearly 1.4 billion people, it has a much larger population than any of those countries.

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The Associated Press