Two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, Public Health England has said.
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said: "We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus.
"The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus."
He said they were being treated at a specialist infectious diseases unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
He added: "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."
It comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a public health emergency of international concern.
The number of people who have died from the coronavirus has risen sharply to 213.
Chinese health officials have said that 9,692 people have now contracted the illness.
This is an increase of 1,981 cases and 81 deaths since Wednesday.
Meanwhile the Department of Health's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is to continue monitoring the outbreak.
The NPHET says: "Ireland is well positioned to detect and respond to a case of the novel coronavirus that might arise here.
"As yet there have been no confirmed cases in Ireland."
No deaths have been reported outside of China, but the virus has spread to more than a dozen countries.
The vast majority of cases have been in Hubei province - and the Chinese city of Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak.
There is no vaccine for the new viral infection, which can cause pneumonia and can be passed from person to person.
The symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Though the origin of the virus has yet to be identified, the WHO has said the primary source is probably an animal.
The virus originated in the Chinese central city of Wuhan at the end of last year and has since spread to every province across mainland China.
A total of 98 cases have been found in another 20 countries - including the US, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, France, Australia, Germany, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.