The UK looks likely to declare a case of coronavirus at some point, public health officials say.
So far, dozens of people in the UK have been tested - with the results coming back negative - as the flu-like outbreak continues to spread around the world.
More than 100 people have died, with thousands of confirmed cases in China, while cases have been recorded in more than 10 countries.
Those who have returned home in recent weeks from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, have been told to "self-isolate" even if they have no symptoms, the Health Secretary said.
In a significant ramping up of precautions in the UK, Matt Hancock said officials could not be 100 per cent certain the virus is not spread by people who are not displaying symptoms.
The move means more than 1,400 people who have returned from Wuhan since January 10 should isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of leaving China.
Ministers have said they are working to get Britons out of Hubei province in China, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisting the Government is doing "everything we can".
Officials estimate up to 200 UK citizens currently there will want to return to the UK.
If they end up being flown home by the Foreign Office, health officials will also tell them to "self-isolate" for 14 days.
If they are unable to stay at home, quarantine facilities will be provided, officials said.
A number of people from across Lancashire have been caught up in the chaos caused by the outbreak, which has seen cities - and millions of people - put on lockdown.
Lytham teacher Shell Buchanan, who lives and works in Wuhan, was left stranded after the city was closed while she was visiting friends in Fuzhou.
Resort professor Peter Hughes, who works in the province next to Wuhan, is also unable to return from a winter trip back to the Fylde coast.
And the Chinese relative of a Blackpool woman is understood to have died after picking up the disease while working at the market experts fear is its origin.
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), which has dealings in China and a cohort of Chinese students in Preston, has also issued a warning.
Are there any treatments for coronavirus?
Global health experts have stressed that many people with coronavirus will make a full recovery, although some people - both young and old - are being badly affected, with some cases proving fatal.
At the moment, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for this strain of coronavirus infection - known as 2019-nCoV infection.
Patients in England with the virus will be transferred to one of four High Consequences Infectious Diseases (HCID) units in Liverpool, London or Newcastle.
The two main contact centres in England are the Royal Free London High Level Isolation Unit (HLIU) and the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary HLIU.
All these units have specialist areas where patients can be isolated to ensure infectious diseases are not spread further.
The units have specific areas where staff can change in and out of protective clothing and equipment, while patient isolation rooms have tightly controlled air flow and filtering.
In severe cases of infection, treatment can include life support such as the use of a ventilator, dialysis to support the kidneys and artificial hydration or nutrition.
Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to the virus is urged to call NHS 111 for advice.
What advice is being given to the NHS?
GPs have been told to isolate patients and call health protection teams if they suspect a patient has coronavirus.
Hospitals have been urged by Public Health England (PHE) to check their equipment, supplies and procedures.
This includes checking they have respirators that staff can wear if dealing with a patient in isolation.
They should also stock protective clothing such as gloves with long tight-fitting cuffs, disposable and fluid-resistant full-sleeve gowns and single-use goggles.
Plenty of clinical waste bags, hand hygiene supplies and chlorine-based disinfectant solutions should also be in stock.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The main symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath.
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear two to 14 days after infection.