British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it is "highly likely" that the UK will see a growing number of coronavirus cases, but added that it will be a "mild disease" for the "overwhelming majority" of patients.
"For the overwhelming majority of people who contract the virus, this will be a mild disease from which they will speedily and fully recover as we’ve already seen.
"But I fully understand public concern, your concern, about the global spread of this virus. And it is highly likely that we will see a growing number of UK cases."
His statement on Tuesday comes as the UK unveiled its action plan for a coronavirus outbreak, after confirmed cases in the country rose to 40 on Tuesday.
Johnson stressed that the country was prepared for an outbreak, imploring the public to "wash your hands with soap and hot water for the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice."
So far there are 91,940 confirmed cases worldwide and 3,129 deaths -- many of which are in mainland China. In recent weeks, however, regions such as the Middle East and Europe have seen a dramatic jump in confirmed cases and deaths.