New Delhi: The United Kingdom on Monday added India to the travel 'red list', country's Health Secretary Matt Hancock informed.
The red list, includes 39 other nations along with India, rejects entry to anyone who has visited the listed nations in the past 10 days. The British and Irish citizens, however, are permitted to return but would be mandatorily quarantined for 10 days since the time of arrival. India will be added to the strict red list from 4 am on April 23, Hancock told the Parliament. "We must protect the progress that we've made in this country," the Health Secretary stated, adding that 103 COVID-19 cases of the ‘Indian variant’ - B.1.617 - have now been reported in the UK.
The move is expected to significantly hurt the business functions of major airline carriers such as Air India and Vistara. Currently, five weekly flights of Air India, two of British Airways and three of Virgin Atlantic are working between the Mumbai and London's Heathrow airport.
Between the Delhi airport and Heathrow, six flights a week of Air India, three of British Airways and two weekly flights each of Vistara and Virgin Atlantic run while three weekly flights of British Airways and two of Air India also function between the Heathrow and Hyderabad airports.
BRITISH PM JOHNSON CANCELS VISIT TO INDIA
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his trip to New Delhi which scheduled for next week, against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic in India.
An official statement of the ministry of external affairs said, "In view of the prevailing Covid situation, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not visit India next week."
However, the two sides will be conducting a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-UK relationship. "Both leaders attach the highest importance to taking the India-U.K. partnership to its fullest potential and propose to remain in close touch in this regard and look forward to an in-person meeting later in the year," the Ministry said.
The UK is observing a new bilateral trade deal with India, following its exit from the European Union. India is the second-largest investor in the UK, after the US. Post-Brexit, the UK is focused on the Indo-Pacific region for its economy and security.
LOWEST DEATHS SINCE SEPTEMBER
Britain has recorded another four coronavirus-related deaths, the lowest daily increase since early September last year, the official data showed on Monday.
It brings the total number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test to 127,274, Xinhua news agency reported. Meanwhile, nearly 33 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of a coronavirus vaccine, while the number of people who are fully vaccinated has exceeded 10 million.
(With agency inputs)