All the countries are struggling to contain the second wave of the Coronavirus, including the United Kingdom and India. Keeping this and the current situations of both the countries in mind, Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India which was scheduled for April 25-26. With the primary aim being “transformation of India and UK relations”, the two countries will interact virtually to meet their goals and enhance their relationships.
This is the second time PM Johnson has cancelled his visit to India. The first time was in January when he was supposed to be the chief guest of the republic day celebrations. That visit was cancelled due to the deteriorating situation in Europe when the new strain of the virus hit the streets of the UK and a national lockdown was imposed. The officials from both countries have mutually agreed that the April visit has to be cancelled as it is the only sensible move left to win against the invisible enemy.
PM Johnson, in a video conference, said that it was frustrating but a sensible move to postpone the visit. He also mentioned that the pandemic has taken a bad shape in India and he extended his massive sympathies in times of crisis like this. He added, he would love to meet PM Narendra Modi whenever the circumstances allow it. The primary aim of the meeting was to boost trade and investment ties after Brexit.
The mutual decision was taken hours after the Indian national capital of Delhi imposed a full lockdown for 6 days. Downing Street also added India to the red list noticing the shocking and sudden surge in the COVID 19 cases. The red list imposes an effective travel ban and a mandatory ten-day quarantine for returnees from the countries included. It is also said that this has been done for the general welfare of the public keeping in mind the new variant of the pathogen. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that the difficult yet vital decision comes after studies that link the spread of the new strain to international travel.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also stated the same. It added that the virtual meetings between the two countries will be continued to launch plans for a reformed relation between India and the UK. PM Johnson was not the only one visiting India, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga was expected to visit India in the first week of May. This would have been the first in-person meeting between the two in over 24 months. The last visit was cancelled because of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
India is facing a health crisis amid the second wave of the Coronavirus. Reporting over 2.60 lakh cases in a single day, it has been a week since India started reporting over 2 lakh cases taking the seven-day average to 2.57 lakh. Many states have imposed lockdowns and curfews. States like Maharashtra have imposed night curfews whereas the national capital has declared complete lockdown for 6 days. Puducherry has also followed Maharashtra in tackling COVID by imposing a night curfew across all districts. Some problems which have now engulfed our country are really dangerous. Migrant workers have again moved back to their homelands as the states have indefinite lockdowns. When asked, some of them said that it is better to die with our loved ones than in places they do not even have any work. If the migrant crisis strikes again, the country is likely to suffer even greater losses than it did in the first wave.
Another factor that affects the ongoing health crisis is the shortage of beds and oxygen. Many states have caused the public to panic. The rapid spread of the virus is beating our healing process and we need to set it straight. We as responsible citizens should always mask up and only go out when it is necessary while practicing social distancing. India reported a record 24000 deaths in a day and if we do not take a step now, it might be too late. Many of us have lost our loved ones to this evil virus and at some point, have broken down. It is on us that no one suffers the same fate as the deceased. If we stand united, we can beat this virus, just like we did in the first wave.
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