Two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus, the chief medical officer for England has confirmed.
The Department of Health declined to say where in England the patients were from, however a source said they were being treated at a hospital in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear.
In a statement, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, said: We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus.
The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.
We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.
We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organisation and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.
The first cases of the virus to be diagnosed in the UK were announced as 83 Britons on an evacuation flight from the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak were due to land in Britain.
The British passengers on the evacuation flight – who have mainly been in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province – had to sign a contract agreeing to isolation before they could board the flight and underwent temperature checks.
On arrival, they will be taken by bus to Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral for a quarantine period of 14 days, where they will be housed in an NHS staff accommodation block with access to the internet.
Anyone with suspicious symptoms will be taken to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital, which has a high-level infectious diseases unit.
Chinese authorities announced the death toll had reached 213 by Friday morning as the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency.