Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government has made "the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list" for international travel.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, he told MPs: "We’ve recently seen a new variant first identified in India.
"We’ve now detected 103 cases of this variant, of which again the vast majority have links to international travel and have been picked up by our testing at the border.”
Mr Hancock said the samples have been analysed to see if the new variant has any “concerning characteristics” like greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines.
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He added: “After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list.”
This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or British citizen cannot enter the UK if they have been in India in the previous 10 days, Matt Hancock said.
UK and Irish residents and British citizens will have have to complete hotel quarantine for 10 days from their time of arrival.
"These rules will come into force at 4am on Friday", he added.
He continued: "India is a country I know well and love. Between our two countries we have ties of friendship and family. I understand the impact of this decision".
He said he hoped the House would concur that we must act and we must "protect the progress we've made in this country in tackling this awful disease."