The UK’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty has confirmed on Sunday that 12 more people have been diagnosed with coronavirus, bring the total to 35 cases.
Public Health England (PHE) said six of the patients had recently returned from northern Italy and two from Iran.
One of the infected patients had “no relevant travel” and it is not clear at this stage how they contracted coronavirus.
A statement from Professor Whitty said, “As of 9am this morning 12 further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Three patients were close contacts of a known case, transmitted in the UK, identified as part of contact tracing.
“One patient, resident in Essex, had no relevant travel and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad; investigations are ongoing.
“Of the remaining eight cases, six had recently travelled from Italy and two from Iran.
“The patients who have recently travelled are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire. All are being investigated and contact tracing has begun.”
He added: “The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 33. Following previously reported confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of UK cases is 35.”
Hancock was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning, are there any circumstances in which the UK would “cut off” a city in the same way Chinese authorities did in Wuhan.
The health secretary told Marr, “There is clearly a huge economic and social downside to that.
“But we don’t take anything off the table at this stage, because you have got to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary.”
Hancock did confirm the government could ban public gatherings and cancelling football matches and events to prevent the spread of coronavirus, should there be an escalation.
He said, “We are looking at all options, including those, but we will only look at things that epidemiologically and scientifically make sense.”
“But I have no doubt that with the help of the NHS and its incomparable staff this country will get through it and beat it.”
It has been confirmed on Sunday that a school teacher at a Reading school is one of three people to have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK last week.