UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's India visit may not take place because of concerns over the rapidly-spreading mutated version of the novel coronavirus in the UK country, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the Chair of the Council of the British Medical Association said.
Johnson is to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade in Delhi next month, reports the NDTV.
He said that while it was still too early for the British government to decide on Mr Johnson's visit, the trip "may not be possible, particularly if this level of infection and spread continues".
"Obviously we can't make a decision today about something five weeks from now... changes to the virus' reality happen on a day-to-day basis. But one consideration is that the trip to India may not be possible, particularly if this level of infection and spread continues," Dr Nagpaul told NDTV.
"But if the lockdown in London and other parts (the UK capital and other areas are under extremely stringent Tier 4 restrictions) controls the spread of the virus, then may be," he said.
The mutant strain - with at least 17 changes to its viral genetic load- was detected in southeast England in September. This strain - B.1.1.7 - offers no change in clinical severity or mortality, but is 70 per cent more transmissible, which Dr Nagpaul said made containing it a bigger challenge.
The strain, cases of which have already been seen in Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, has led to several other countries, including India, temporarily banning flights to and from the UK, and its rapid spread has also severely affected availability of hospital beds.