England's chief medical officer has warned that schools could potentially close for two months or more in the UK if the spread of coronavirus intensifies.
Professor Chris Whitty warned that onward transmission between people who had not been to a coronavirus hotspot was "just a matter of time in my view".
His comments came as two more people in England were diagnosed with Covid-19, taking the UK total to 15 cases.
Coronavirus across the globe
Coronavirus across the globe
A group of police and soldiers patrol the Docklands area of Melbourne on August 2, 2020, after the announcement of new restrictions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. - Australia on August 2 introduced sweeping new measures to control a growing coronavirus outbreak in its second-biggest city, including an overnight curfew and a ban on weddings for the first time during the pandemic. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
02 August 2020, Berlin: Three people moderate during a rally of the so-called Querfront and Corona Deniers in the amphitheater in Mauerpark. They demand the immediate cessation of all Corona restrictions. Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa (Photo by Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Children wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus play near a street performer dressed as a statue at a shopping mall in Beijing, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A masked mime artist performs for tips at a busy intersection in Johannesburg, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 as the country marks one hundred and twenty nine days days of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
People gather for a demonstration with the slogan ‚The end of the pandemic - freedom day' - against coronavirus restrictions in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. It comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 01: People stage a protest, which was organized by "Querdenken 711", against coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions in Berlin, Germany on August 01, 2020. (Photo by Erbil Basay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A passenger leaves after being tested with a COVID-19 test, at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Travelers entering France from 16 countries where the coronavirus is circulating widely are having to undergo virus tests upon arrival at French airports and ports.(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Indian Muslims leave after attending an Eid al-Adha prayer service at the Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad, India, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is observed by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
CARCAVELOS, PORTUGAL - JULY 30: Twins Catarina and Dalila Diniz, Cascais Community Program volunteers, wear protective masks and gloves while looking for residents in Bairro dos Diamantes to register them for serologic tests and provide masks to those in need during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, on July 30, 2020 in Carcavelos, Portugal. Some 300 volunteers participate in a program created by the Municipality of Cascais that offers a test for free for COVID-19 to every resident. Portugal registers to date 1,727 fatalities, 50,868 confirmed cases and 36,140 recovered, and the Government is to approve today changes regarding measures to combat the pandemic. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
A doctor (R) checks the body temperature of a man at a containment zone implemented as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Chennai on July 30, 2020. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they observe social distancing to protect themselves against the coronavirus, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 29, 2020 During the first rites of hajj, Muslims circle the Kaaba counter-clockwise seven times while reciting supplications to God, then walk between two hills where Ibrahim's wife, Hagar, is believed to have run as she searched for water for her dying son before God brought forth a well that runs to this day. (AP Photo)
Supporters of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) attend a campaign rally with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, near the capital Colombo on July 29, 2020. - The elections were to be held on April 25, but were postponed twice due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic before being rescheduled for August. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP) (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask walks along a street of Havana, on July 29, 2020. - Cuba has 2588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 87 deceased. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
Silva Cossa, the caretaker, ties ribbons onto the fence to represents a South African who has died from Covid-19, at St James Presbyterian church in Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Passengers, wearing full protective gear to protect against the spread of coronavirus, push their luggage to check-in, as they check in to travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the Zaventem international airport in Brussels, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Europe's tourism revival is running into turbulence only weeks after countries reopened their borders, with rising infections in Spain and other nations causing increasing concern among health authorities over people bringing the coronavirus home from their summer vacations. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Passengers, who were stranded following the closure of border due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wait upon their arrival from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Syrian side of the Semalka border crossing in northeastern Syria on July 29, 2020. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A young couple embraces as the sun sets in the Balearic Islands capital of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Concerns over a new wave of coronavirus infections brought on by returning vacationers are wreaking havoc across Spain's tourism industry, particularly in the Balearic Islands following Britain's effective ban on travel to the country. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu
A picture taken during a presentation to the media shows a person wearing a protective suit while collecting a cooler from a drone, which usually carries blood samples to be tested for Covid-19, on July 28, 2020 outside DOROT, Netanya Geriatric Medical Center, in the central Israeli city of Netanya. - Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, the Israeli Ministry of Transportation started a pilot project Remedy from the sky program, drones for delivery of payloads including medical items like blood samples and medicines. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Galway , Ireland - 28 July 2020; Jockeys Gary Carroll, left, and Gary Halpin walk to the parade ring prior to the COLM QUINN BMW Mile Handicap on day two of the Galway Summer Racing Festival at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway. Horse racing remains behind closed doors to the public under guidelines of the Irish Government in an effort to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
A man, wearing a mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus, walks along a commercial street in Antwerp, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes has unveiled a set of drastic social distancing measures aimed at avoiding a new general lockdown amid a surge of COVID-19 infections. After a sharp decline of infections, Belgium has witnessed a surge in the number of confirmed cases over the past three weeks, especially in Antwerp province. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A health worker takes a nasal swab for COVID-19 test in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. India is the third hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the world after the United States and Brazil. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 27: A man wears a protective mask while walking 6 identical dogs as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 27, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
A man with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, is carried on a wheelchair together with an oxygen tank to the School Hospital in Tegucigalpa, on July 27, 2020. - At least 1,100 have died and 40,000 have been infected with COVID-19 in Honduras. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP) (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)
A couple waits for information on a relative hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, outside of the Instituto de Seguridad Social hospital in Quito, Ecuador, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa).
A few clients of a beachside bar and restaurant are seen drinking on the terrace.
Due to the repeated outbreaks of Covid-19 in Barcelona, the bars and terraces will necessarily close at the latest at 12:00 pm. (Photo by Paco Freire / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Masks placed on mannequins heads are displayed outside a shop in Sarajevo's main street, Bosnia, Monday, July 27, 2020. Regional WHO office in Bosnia expressed its concern with recent reports that medical institutions around the country are closing to maximum capacity as recent spike in COVID-19 infections are reaching record levels. (AP Photo/Eldar Emric)
Passengers arriving at Birmingham Airport, as people arriving into England from holidays in Spain have been told they must quarantine when they return home.
MALAGA, SPAIN - JULY 27: British Citizens arrive at the Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport after the UK imposed a quarantine on all travellers from Spain on July 27, 2020 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Álex Zea/Europa Press via Getty Images) (Photo by Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Healthcare worker Dante Hills, left, passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site outside of Marlins Park, Monday, July 27, 2020, in Miami. The Marlins home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night has been postponed as the Marlins deal with a coronavirus outbreak that stranded them in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
NEW YORK - JULY 27: An outdoor dining area is seen as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 27, 2020 in New York City. Many restaurants have built outdoor seating on the streets in order to allow for social distancing between patrons. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 26: A Kiwoom Heroes cheerleader dances while wearing a face mask during the KBO League game between Lotte Giants and Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome on July 26, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean baseball start accepting fans to stadiums, ahead of other sports after new coronavirus pandemic, up to 10 percent of its capacity. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)
Rev Canon Joe Morrow during the first post-lockdown baptism service in the Scottish Episcopal Church of 11 month-old Magnus Hutchwaite, at St James The Great church in Stonehaven. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
An Israeli medical worker in a protective suit accompanies a man who tested positive for COVID-19, for an emergency room consultation at the Sheba Medical Center, the country's largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers flying from Barcelona arrive at Birmingham Airport, following an announcement on Saturday that holidaymakers who had not returned from Spain and its islands by midnight would be forced to quarantine for 14 days after Covid-19 second wave fears saw the European country struck off the UK's safe list. The decision was made after Spain recorded more than 900 fresh daily Covid-19 cases for two days running. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tourist wearing protective face masks are visiting the Main Square, popular tourist destination, during coronavirus pandemic. Krakow, Poland on July 26, 2020. Very few people visiting Krakow are seen wearing protective face masks and keeping social distance while Poland's coronavirus cases has risen this weekend to 43,065 and deaths up to 1,671. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Israeli medical workers in protective gear accompany a woman who tested positive for COVID-19, for an emergency room consultation at the Sheba Medical Center, the country's largest hospital, in Ramat Gan near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Women wearing protective face masks walk along Ocean Drive amid the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, July 24, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla. Masks are mandated both indoors and outdoors in Miami Beach. People found not wearing a mask are subject to a civil fine of $50. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Employees dressed in maid costumes from several maid-themed cafes of Akihabara pray during a prayer-meeting for protection from COVID-19 and for a thriving business at the Kanda Myojin shrine Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike this week asked residents to stay home as much as possible during the long weekend, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has gone ahead with a "Go To" tourism promotion campaign that excludes Tokyo for now to help the badly hit tourism industry. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Employees dressed in maid costumes from several maid-themed cafes of Akihabara pause after a prayer-meeting for protection from COVID-19 and for a thriving business at the Kanda Myojin shrine Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Tokyo. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike this week asked residents to stay home as much as possible during the long weekend, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has gone ahead with a "Go To" tourism promotion campaign that excludes Tokyo for now to help the badly hit tourism industry. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A child wearing a protective face mask, stands in line to receive a free meal in the Peronia neighborhood of Villa Nueva, Guatemala, Friday, July 24, 2020. The Villa Nueva City Hall delivers hot meals three times a week in a selected area of the neighborhood for residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 restrictions related to the government-ordered shutdowns. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
The lower bowl at Tropicana Field is closed off as the Tampa Bay Rays take batting practice before a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, July 24, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The lower bowl is closed off to keep players safe from the spread of the corona virus. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Undertakers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) bury the casket containing the remains of Steward Motlhabane, who died of COVID-19 coronavirus, during the funeral at the Westpark cemetery in Johannesburg, on July 22, 2020. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP) (Photo by MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)
Women wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus watch a mobile phone at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 25, 2020. South Korea reported newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, its first daily jump over 100 in nearly four months. (Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A health worker prepares to take a swab sample from a man as he reacts during a medical screening for the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Ahmedabad on July 22, 2020. - India last week became the third country after the United States and Brazil to hit one million cases but many experts say that with testing rates low, the true number could be much higher. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY / AFP) (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)
An Israeli medic collects a swab sample from a girl at a COVID-19 testing facility in the Israeli city of Or Yehuda on July 22, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - JULY 22: A couple wearing protective masks buy at the greengrocer's at Recoleta neighborhood on July 22, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As number of cases hit a new daily record, Buenos Aires City continues to reopen after the official announcement to soften measures against COVID-19. Today, dog walkers, car washes, and toy industry are permitted to resume business. Other activities allowed are individual sports, worshiping in temples, and take away restaurants. (Photo by Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 22: A airport employee performs an aircraft disinfecting demonstration during a media preview at the Ronald Reagan National Airport on July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. During the COVID-19 pandemic all Delta employees and passengers are required to wear facemasks while onboard a Delta plane. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)
Sumo spectators wearing face mask practice social distance in their seats during the outbreak of the new coronavirus as they watch the first day of the sumo tournament in Tokyo, Sunday, July 19, 2020.(Kyodo News via AP)
Indian Hindu devotees wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus carry offerings for Hindu goddess Kali during Bonalu festival in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, July 19, 2020. Bonalu is a month-long Hindu folk festival of the Telangana region dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
In this photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian Presidency, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma vote at a polling station in the parliamentary elections in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, July 19, 2020. Syrians headed to polling stations in government-held parts of the war-torn country on Sunday to elect a new parliament amid strict health measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus amid an increase of cases in recent days. (Syrian Presidency via AP)
A street artist spray paints a protective face mask over an old mural featuring a Venezuelan Indigenous man, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, July 18, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Residents listen from a bench, background, as Percibald Garcia reads children's books aloud outside the high-rise buildings in the Tlatelolco housing complex, in Mexico City, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Confinement during the coronavirus pandemic has been especially tedious for children, so the young architect sets out every afternoon with a microphone and a loudspeaker to walk the neighborhood where he lives and provide entertainment. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Parents wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus take photos of students as they pose for a group photo at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Authorities in a city in far western China have reduced subways, buses and taxis and closed off some residential communities amid a new coronavirus outbreak, according to Chinese media reports. They also placed restrictions on people leaving the city, including a suspension of subway service to the airport. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People protest against coronavirus trials in Africa, outside Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospita in the township of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, July 18, 2020, The first clinical trial in Africa for a COVID-19 vaccine started last week in South Africa. Experts note a worrying level of resistance and misinformation around testing on the continent. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A health worker takes a swab test of a women at a temple in Mumbai, India, Saturday, July 18, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country's feeble health care system. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Indian paramilitary soldiers cover the coffin of their colleague who died of COVID-19, at a crematorium in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, July 18, 2020. India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, prompting concerns about its readiness to confront an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country's feeble health care system. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin)
Palestinian Hamas police officers wear masks as they take part in a simulation of possible coronavirus infections in Gaza City, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A man flashes a vee sign during the showing of the film "Back to the Future" from inside his car at a drive-in in Mexico City, Friday, July 17, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Cutouts of soccer fans sit in the bleachers of the Cerro Porteno stadium ahead of the next game which the public won't be able to attend, amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, July 17, 2020. Paraguay's Soccer Association (APF) suspended the restart of the local championship to next week and ordered new COVID-19 tests for players after dozens on the various teams tested positive. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
A health worker takes samples to test elderly residents for the new coronavirus at the San Jose nursing home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Friday, July 17, 2020. At least 60 residents at the senior care facility tested positive for the new coronavirus and 10 have died with COVID-19 related symptoms in the last two weeks, amid a rise in cases and fatalities in the Andean country. (AP Photo/Dico Solis)
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova serves the ball to Elina Svitolina during their match at the tennis tournament bett1ACES in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2020. Because of the corona virus outbreak the parts of the tournament take place inside a hanger of the former airport Tempelhof. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis stands on a physical distancing marker as he makes a statement on arrival for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face on Friday for the first time since February, despite the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic, to assess an overall budget and recovery package spread over seven years estimated at some 1.75 trillion to 1.85 trillion euros. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)
A dog sits on the rooftop of a car, as band members of "Santa Lucia", who have lost their source of income due to restrictions amid the new coronavirus, perform for residents in hopes of monetary donations in a procession through the Comas district of Lima, Peru, Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro who is infected with COVID-19, wears a protective face mask he offers food to a rhea outside his official residence Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, July 17, 2020. On Thursday evening, the federal health ministry reported that the country had passed 2 million confirmed cases of virus infections and 76,000 deaths. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Restaurant workers nap on tables at a restaurant in a mall in Beijing on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Small businesses around the world are fighting for survival amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Whether they make it will affect not just local economies but the fabric of communities (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A banner about precautions against new coronavirus is shown in a field of sunflowers at a park in Ansan, South Korea, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The signs read: "Keep distance in your life to prevent Corona 19." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A woman with a face mask walks past graffiti that promotes social distancing, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kibera, Nairobi, on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP) (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)
An Indian family wearing face mask to protect from coronavirus rides on a motorcycle as it rains in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. India receives its monsoon rains from June to September. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
Canon Gerald Sharkey speaks during the first mass at St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow since the 19th March as Scotland prepares for the lifting of further coronavirus lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Posters with names of people that died during the COVID-19 pandemic are placed in front of the entrance to Downing Street in London, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
The young daughter of Mariachi musicians accompanies her parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the group works, performing a surprise serenade for the 71st birthday of Francisca Patricia Melchor Franco, outside the lunch restaurant she has run for 35 years, in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Doctors, from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, take blood samples from a person suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Hebron in the occupied West Bank on July 15, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)
People arriving at the beach walk past a semaphore system that signals how crowded the beach is at any moment, in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The system uses radar to count people entering the gates to the fenced beach to help beachgoers keep social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
In order to raise awareness against the spread of the coronavirus, a worker at Madame Tussauds attraction in Istanbul, places a mask on the wax figure of Albert Einstein during a photo-op, Saturday, July 11, 2020. Turkish authorities have made the wearing of masks mandatory in most of the country to curb the spread of COVID-19 following an uptick in confirmed cases since the reopening of many businesses. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Coronavírus: Por que milhares de israelenses foram às ruas protestar em meio à pandemia de covid-19
Dengue prevention efforts stifled by coronavirus pandemic, doctors warn
Personal electoral con mascarillas para combatir los contagios de coronavirus en las elecciones autonómicas del País Vasco, en el pueblo de Durango, España, el domingo 12 de julio de 2020. (AP Foto/Álvaro Barrientos)
Civic workers sanitize the entrance of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's residence after Bachchan and his son tested positive for the coronavirus and were hospitalized in Mumbai, India, Sunday, July 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
An employee wearing a protective mask and face shield to help curb the spread of the coronavirus bows guests as elevator doors close at a building Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Players of Fluminense celebrate with their trophy after defeating Flamengo in a penalty shootout at the the Rio de Janeiro soccer league final match at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The match was played without spectators to curb the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray a morning prayer next to their house as synagogues limited to twenty people following the government's measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Bnei Brak, Israel, Thursday, July 9, 2020. Israel is going through a new coronavirus outbreak that is hammering both the economy and public health. The country is reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day and out of work Israelis are irate at the lack of government aid. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Catalonian police officers tell at a woman that the use of a face mask is mandatory, in Las Ramblas of Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, July 9, 2020. Authorities in northeast Spain will start fining individuals who do not wear face masks 100 euros ($113) as of Thursday when their use becomes obligatory in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Commuters with face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus wait for a bus in Kolkata, India, Thursday, July 9, 2020. India has overtaken Russia to become the third worst-affected nation by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Workers wearing masks walk by the New York Stock Exchange during the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A worker stands next to a freshly-dug grave at the Honingnestkrans Cemetery, North of Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, July 9, 2020. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus pandemic on the continent is reaching "full speed" after cases surpassed a half-million and a South African official said a single province is preparing 1.5 million grave. (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)
Protestors gather in Toulouse, south of France, Thursday, July 9, 2020, to demonstrate against European aircraft manufacturer Airbus planning to eliminate 15,000 jobs over the next year. The jobs will mostly be lost in Europe. Airbus is struggling with the financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Manuel Blondeau)
Serbian army soldiers prepare a makeshift field hospital to accommodate patients infected by COVID-19 inside the Belgrade Arena, on July 6, 2020. - Serbia on July 2 restricted gatherings of more than five people in towns hit by a spike of coronavirus cases. After reining in its first outbreak of COVID-19 in early May, the Balkan state is now reporting a second surge with around 300 cases daily this week compared to around 50 or less a month ago. Since early June, the Balkan countries have a higher rate of infections, with up to more than 300 daily in Serbia. (Photo by Oliver BUNIC / AFP) (Photo by OLIVER BUNIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Serbian soldiers set up beds for the treatment of possible COVID-19 infected patients inside of the Belgrade Arena, in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, July 6, 2020. Serbian authorities have declared an emergency in the capital Belgrade because of a surge in the new coronavirus cases. Emergency measures also have been introduced in several other towns in Serbia where hospitals have been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in recent days. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JUNE 15: A staff member of the Balearic Islands Tourist Office holts a fakt sheeet for the tourists waiting to check in for a TUIfly flight to Mallorca at Frankfurt Airport on the first day that package tours are resuming since March during the coronavirus pandemic on June 15, 2020 in Frankfurt, Germany. The travellers are participating in a test project in which the Spanish government is allowing up to 11,000 tourists from Germany to travel to the Balearic Islands. Spain, which was hit especially hard by Covid-19, has begun to ease pandemic lockdown measures, though tourist travel is still restricted. The project is meant to test the viability of reopening the country to tourism. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
A woman waves San Fermin's red kerchief from a window as local police wear face masks as protection against coronavirus, on the day the ''txupinazo'' would usually take place to start the famous San Fermin festival, which was due canceled this year by the conoravirus, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Monday, July 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
A resident, wearing white clothes and a traditional red scarf, looks out of her window on the day the ''txupinazo'' would usually take place to start the famous San Fermin festival, which was due canceled this year by the conoravirus, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Monday, July 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
CORONAVIRUS: PLUS DE 1.000 DÉCÈS EN VINGT-QUATRE HEURES AU BRÉSIL
CORONAVIRUS: UN NOMBRE RECORD DE CONTAMINATIONS DANS LE MONDE EN UNE JOURNÉE
A calligraphist paints the name of Luz Maria Gonzalez onto the cross adorning her grave, as family members tidy the adjacent grave of her son 29-year-old son Francisco Javier, in the Municipal Cemetery of Valle de Chalco on the outskirts of Mexico City, Saturday, July 4, 2020. Gonzalez, 56, who had long suffered from asthma, diabetes, and hypertension, died two days after her son, who was hospitalized for breathing problems and a cough before dying of complications said to be related to pneumonia and undiagnosed diabetes. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
An LGBTQ member prepares before a streamed performance of "Pride at Home," at the National Theatre in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, July 4, 2020. To celebrate 20 years of gay pride in Venezuela, LGBTQ members organized a presentation of different artistic shows via live streaming amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
The shadow of an LGBTQ member is reflected on the wall before a streamed performance of "Pride at Home," at the National Theatre in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, July 4, 2020. To celebrate 20 years of gay pride in Venezuela, LGBTQ members organized a presentation of different artistic shows via live streaming amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A server wearing a mask checks orders for people in their cars watching the movie "Jumanji," Saturday, July 4, 2020, at Sacramento drive-in cinema in Asuncion, Paraguay. Several drive-in cinemas were started this weekend to aid in social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
CORRECTS TO BROADWALK, INSTEAD OF BOARDWALK Tim Wirtz sits along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Hollywood, Fla. In hard-hit South Florida, beaches from Palm Beach to Key West will be shut down for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Restaurants and businesses along the Boardwalk will remain open. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
A woman walks past benches taped off for social distancing outside a restaurant, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in La Habra, Calif. California's mood has gone from optimistic to sour as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on the rise heading into the July 4th weekend. Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered bars and indoor restaurant dining closed in most of the state, many beaches are off limits, and he's imploring Californians to avoid holiday gatherings with family and friends. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A staff member talks to visitors to the Universal Studios Singapore theme park on the resort island of Sentosa in Singapore on July 3, 2020, as the attraction reopened after being temporarily closed due to concerns about the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Speaking at a Nuffield Trust summit in London, Prof Whitty said: "If this becomes a global epidemic, then the UK will get it, and if it does not become a global epidemic, the UK is perfectly capable of containing and getting rid of individual cases leading to onward transmission."
But he said onward transmission was "just a matter of time in my view", adding: "If it is something which is containable, the UK can contain it. If it is not containable, it will be non-containable everywhere and then it is coming our way."
He said there could be a potential "social cost" if the virus intensifies which could include actions such as reducing mass gatherings and closing schools.
He said he was not saying that would happen, but that the effectiveness of such strategies would have to be weighed up against social cost.
"One of the things that's really clear with this virus, much more so than flu, is that anything we do we're going to have to do for quite a long period of time, probably more than two months," he said.
"The implications of that are non-trivial, so we need to think that through carefully.
"This is something we face as really quite a serious problem for society potentially if this goes out of control.
"It may not, but if it does globally then we may have to face that."
One of the new UK cases on Thursday – a parent at a Buxton primary school in Derbyshire – contracted the virus in Tenerife, where 168 Britons have been confined to a hotel on the south-west of the island.
The other person contracted the virus in Italy, which has become the worst affected country in Europe with more than 400 cases and 14 deaths.
One patient has been taken to the specialist infectious diseases centre at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the other to the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Burbage Primary School in Buxton remains closed until March 2.
Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, centre director for Public Health England (PHE) East Midlands, said the agency was contacting people who had close contact with the patient, and confirmed they were infected whilst in Tenerife.
He added: "Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed cases.
"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.
"We are aware that Burbage Primary School in Buxton has taken the decision to close today.
"My team have spoken to the school, assessed the risk and confirmed that there is currently no information to suggest that there is any increased health risk to any pupils or staff at the school and no public health reason to remain closed at the current time."
Buxton Medical Practice in Derbyshire, a two-minute drive from the school, also urged patients not to attend for appointments on Thursday due to the confirmed case.
Meanwhile, sources told the PA news agency that around 50 of the 168 Britons confined to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife will be allowed to leave if they wish.
The group arrived on Monday, after the four guests who went on to be diagnosed with coronavirus had already left.
Overall, 130 guests from 11 countries have been told they can leave by Spanish authorities.
Britons have expressed frustration with quarantine measures at the hotel, with guests walking around the site without face masks and sharing meals at the buffet.
One guest told PA that an aqua-gym class was held in the hotel pool on Thursday, while another said they had witnessed a cocktail-making class.
TV doctor Hilary Jones has blasted isolation measures at the hotel and warned that guests may need to stay on well beyond an initial 14 days.
The Foreign Office has no current plans to repatriate Britons from the hotel but is keeping the situation under review.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, said it had sent a health protection specialist to Tenerife "to work with the Spanish authorities to better understand the public health measures that have been put in place in the hotel".
So far in the UK, 7,690 people have been tested for the virus and of the 15 to have tested positive, eight have so far been discharged from hospital.
Globally, Denmark was among those countries confirming their first cases on Thursday, while Saudi Arabia has stopped Muslim pilgrims entering to worship at the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
In Japan, all schools will close for several weeks, while US experts have reported the first case of unknown origin, which suggests the virus is spreading there.
In China, where the virus originated, 78,497 cases have been reported, including 2,744 deaths.
After Brazil confirmed Latin America's first case on Wednesday, the virus has reached every continent except Antarctica.
World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, told a press conference in Geneva on Thursday that coronavirus has the potential to become a global pandemic but that this stage had not been reached.
Public health advice remains to wash hands with soap, not rub the face and maintain a distance from people who are coughing and sneezing, he said.
Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said the idea that the virus is mostly being transmitted by people without symptoms is a "myth".
He added: "Data from China does not suggest that asymptomatic people are becoming the driving force behind this."