Health Secretary Matt Hancock will give a coronavirus update in the House of Commons at 3.30pm today.
The top Tory will break a week of near-silence after government communications were wound down in a week of mourning for Prince Philip.
Mr Hancock is currently expected to give a standard update to MPs, and to focus on the UK giving 10million second doses of a vaccine – a target set to be met today.
But he will come under mounting pressure to confirm travel restrictions on passengers from India after Boris Johnson cancelled an official visit to the country this morning.
Government sources expect an announcement as soon as today to change India’s status for inbound travel to the UK. It is not clear if that will come from Mr Hancock.
Calls are mounting to add the country to the ‘red list’ that would ban inbound travel to Britain, except for UK residents who would have to quarantine in a hotel at a cost of £1,750.
Despite Mr Johnson cancelling his trip, and the rise of the B1.617 mutant strain, India has still not been placed on a red list.
Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said that the variant of the virus first identified in India should be “watched carefully” but it is “probably not at the top tier of mutations that generate the most concern.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “This variant has a couple of mutations that are among those that we think are important that should be watched carefully.
“But they’re actually probably not at the very kind of top tier of mutations, for example in the B117 – or Kent variant – or the South African variant, that generate the most concern.
“And in terms of spread, clearly this variant has increased in frequency in India around the same time as their very large and tragic recent wave,
“But I just don’t think we know yet whether there’s a cause and effect relationship – is this variant driving that spread? Or is it happening at the same time perhaps due to a coincidence?”