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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally ahead of West Bengal state elections, in Kolkata, India, on March 7, 2021.

Bikas Das/The Associated Press

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to Britain for the Group of Seven (G7) summit next month because of the coronavirus situation in the country, the foreign ministry said late on Tuesday.

“While appreciating the invitation to the Prime Minister by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the G7 Summit as a Special Invitee, given the prevailing COVID situation, it has been decided that the Prime Minister will not attend the G7 Summit in person,” the ministry said in a statement.

Modi has been criticized for allowing huge gatherings at a religious festival and holding large election rallies during the past two months even as cases surged.

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India’s seven-day average of daily infections hit a record 390,995 on Tuesday, with 3,876 deaths, according to the health ministry.

Official COVID-19 deaths, which experts say are almost certainly under-reported, stand at just under a quarter of a million.

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to join other leaders at a G7 summit chaired by Britain’s Johnson in Cornwall, southwestern England, on June 11-13.

As India struggles under a second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, auto-rickshaws have become the latest symbols of hope in Delhi, doubling up as ambulances to help its collapsing healthcare system. Reuters

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