Boris Johnson cancels India trip amid fears mutation may ‘catch out’ vulnerable

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Boris Johnson has cancelled his trip to India, as the country grapples with rising coronavirus cases and a concerning new variant.

The Prime Minister was originally due to meet with the Indian leader next week.

Indian officials earlier announced that New Delhi would be locked down from Monday, April 19.

The country recently recorded a record high of 273,810 daily cases, with 25,500 in Delhi alone.

Johnson had already postponed the trip once in January, when Covid-19 infections were high in Britain.

A joint statement from the British and Indian government, released by Johnson's office, read: "In the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week.

"Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India."

A new strain spreading throughout the country, called B.1.617, is currently designated as a "variant under investigation" [VUI].

Dozens of cases have already been identified in the UK.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said it does "pose a threat" and vulnerable people could be "caught out".

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I am concerned about all the variants. Don't get me wrong, I think our road map is going well and at the moment, in this country, we are doing rather well, enjoying unlocking.

"But out there, there is the Indian variant, the South African, Brazilian etc, and they do pose a threat."

He added: "At the moment, we are still vulnerable, and some people in our population are still vulnerable – what I mean by that is the Indian variant, for example, certainly has a mutation like the ones that evade the best neutralising antibodies.

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"What that means is, if you have a population where at least half of us have had zero or one dose of vaccine, some won't have made a very good response to the vaccine, because perhaps they are very old or obese or unwell.

"We still have a very large vulnerable population who can still be caught out by variants like this.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus

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