UK adds India to travel 'Red List' after Covid-19 surge

Carla Harmon
April 20, 2021

There are also concerns over Prime Minister Boris Johnson's trip to India later this month, however, Dr. Hopkins said it's too soon to decide if India should be put on the government's travel "red list".

While Johnson's predecessor, former Prime Minister David Cameron, pursued a strategy of increased trade ties with both India and China, relations with Beijing have soured in recent months - placing diplomacy with New Delhi at the heart of Britain's plans.

"We've made the hard but vital decision to add India to the red list", Hancock told parliament, after the government had faced days of criticism for holding off the decision, pending Johnson's trip.

The two sides will be holding a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-UK relationship.

For few days, more than two lakh cases are being reported daily, prompting authorities to impose certain restrictions like weekend lockdowns.

It would have been Johnson's first major foreign visit since he took power in 2019.

It came after Boris Johnson cancelled his planned trip to the country because of the Covid situation there. It was originally scheduled for January but was postponed when infections soared in Britain.

India is in the middle of an unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, recording 2,73,810 new cases on Monday, taking its tally of infections to 1,50,61,919.

The Indian Health Ministry also reported 1,619 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll over 178,769.

He added: "After studying the data, and preceeding on a precautionary basis, we have made the hard but vital decision to add India to the red list".

Meanwhile, India is not now on the United Kingdom government's "red list", meaning people returning from the country do not have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, the BBC rpeorted.

"Hong Kong this week have identified 47 COVID cases just on a single Delhi flight and we have still 16 more direct flights, many more indirect flights from India to here before Friday alone", she said.

The strain identified in India, known as B.1.617, is now designated a "variant under investigation" by British health authorities, rather than a "variant of concern", such as those first identified in southeast England, Brazil and South Africa.

A new double mutation COVID-19 variant is thought to be behind a sudden surge in cases in India that has overwhelmed hospitals.

Other reports by iNewsToday