The UK government has declared the Coronavirus is now a “serious and imminent threat” to the British public.
The announcement by Matt Hancock today gives the Government greater powers to fight the spread of the virus, after recent confirmed cases in Britain.
These include additional powers to keep individuals in “supported isolation for their own safety” the Department of Health said.
There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, with eight so far in the UK.
The total number of deaths in China is now 908 – but the number of newly-infected people per day has stabilised.
A Department of Health statement said: “The Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.”
“The Secretary of State declares that the incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health, and the measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus.”
Mr Hancock has also designated Arrow Park Hospital in the Wirral, and Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes, where Britons evacuated from Wuhan have been transferred to, as “isolation” facilities.