The new coronavirus that originated in China has been labeled a “serious” threat in the United Kingdom, officials announced Monday.
The change in designation followed newly confirmed cases of the virus throughout the country.
“In accordance with Regulation 3, 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,” the Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement.
The U.K. health department also designated the Chinese provinces of Wuhan and Hubei, where the virus originated, as an “infected area.”
The U.K.’s announcement means the nation can now forcibly quarantine people with the viruses and they will not be free to leave, according to The Associated Press.
The department named Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park as “isolation” facilities.
The announcement came after the number of confirmed cases in the U.K. doubled to eight on Monday, each with a known contact to an earlier case in the U.K. of a person infected in France, according to AP.
The virus has spread globally but is still impacting China at far greater rates than the rest of the infected countries.
China said 908 people died of the virus in mainland China and over 40,170 had been infected as of Monday, according to the AP.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 12 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of last Thursday.