Senior NHS figures have warned that “millions” of people in the UK could be ordered to “self-isolate” by staying at home for a fortnight if the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
Nine people in the UK are currently being treated for the disease, which has infected more than 68,000 worldwide.
If numbers rise sharply, those displaying symptoms may be told to stay at home in order to stop the disease spreading.
The Department of Health and Social Care did not comment when asked about the self-isolation direction.
How do you self-isolate?
Only those told to self-isolate by Public Health England (PHE) or the Department for Health and Social Care will have to stay at home, BBC News claims.
PHE says those people should stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if their symptoms are mild.
In parts of the country where 111 isn’t available, those affected are urged to call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 and those in Northern Ireland should call a GP.
PHE says “common sense” should be employed when self-isolating and those with symptoms should avoid contact with others where possible.
That means staying at home for 14 days, and not going into work or busy public places.
Within the home you should stay in a well-ventilated room which is separate from other members of the family and not invite visitors in.
How many people have been tested in the UK?
As of Saturday, 2,992 people in the UK have been tested with 2,983 confirmed as negative and nine positive, the department said.
Earlier, an NHS spokesman said all 94 people in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral had been released.
They had been kept in isolation at the hospital after returning to the UK from China – the centre of the outbreak.
More than 100 people remain at the Kents Hill Park Hotel in Milton Keynes, the NHS added.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am also pleased that eight of the nine individuals who tested positive for coronavirus have now been successfully treated and discharged from hospital.
“I want to stress that any individuals who are discharged from hospital are now well and do not pose any public health risk to the public.”
“Again, this is evidence of how well prepared our NHS is to deal with the Wuhan coronavirus.