There will be no foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for India's Republic Day parade in New Delhi this year, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

"Due to the global COVID-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be any foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for our Republic Day event," Srivastava said during a press conference on Thursday. 

This comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was supposed to be the chief guest, cancelled his visit earlier this month, hours after announcing a fresh lockdown in the country over the new strain of coronavirus.

"The prime minister spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned," read a statement from Johnson's office.

"The leaders underlined their shared commitment to the bilateral relationship, and to continuing to build on the close collaboration between our countries -- including in response to the pandemic," it added.

The UK on Wednesday recorded 1,564 daily coronavirus deaths, taking the country’s death toll to 84,767. This tally was the worst figure since the disease appeared in the country last year.