Desperate talks to secure five million pounds from India ahead of Boris Johnson’s visit
Officials are in desperate talks to receive five million doses of vaccines from India amid mounting tensions over the prime minister’s planned trip. Boris Johnson will be flying to India this coming weekend on a diplomatic visit that has already been scaled back as Covid cases continue to rise across the country. In the past few days, Mr Johnson has been increasingly asked to cancel the trip. Scientists said the decision to keep India off the quarantine “red list” was “mystifying”. Government sources said talks are still ongoing during diplomatic negotiations about when the UK will receive a long overdue order for vaccines from India. The UK ordered 10 million cans of AstraZeneca from the Indian Serum Institute, which should arrive last month. So far, however, the UK has only received half of the shipment after the Indian government intervened to prioritize cans for domestic use as cases soared. The delays have delayed the launch of the NHS vaccination program and significantly reduced the number of first doses given this month. Several Indian states are currently reporting a lack of bumps. Their leaders are calling on the government to meet domestic demand, raising fears that exports could be blocked. Yesterday a UK government source said: “We are still waiting for the other five million cans, it is just a matter of when. We don’t have a confirmed date. “A second source said,” They are still negotiating the details but we expect the deal to be closed. ” On Friday No. 10 announced that Mr Johnson is unwilling to roll back his first major international trip since signing a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. Late last month, his envoy, Lord Eddie Lister, traveled to India to visit the Serum Institute to secure vaccine doses before Mr Johnson’s visit. In the past week, new cases in India have hit more than 260,000 a day, while 77 cases of the Indian variant of Covid have been reported in the UK. Scientists are concerned that rising cases across India suggest the variant may be more transmissible and fear that it could dodge vaccines. Dr. Susan Hopkins, chief medical officer for NHS Test and Trace, said Sunday that some cases found in the UK have no clear link with travel from India. Health officials from the UK are now speaking to colleagues in India to try to secure samples from them in order to conduct laboratory studies for the variant. On Friday, Professor Adam Finn of the government’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee said he found it “mystifying” and “slightly confusing” that India was not on the government’s “red list” for travel.