SUSPECTED coronavirus patients have been warned they may have to stay in their bedrooms to self-isolate.
Britain’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested the move was key when sharing a house with others.
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There have been 116 cases of COVID-19 in the UK, a figure that has more than doubled in the last 48 hours.
Appearing on Sky News, he said: "There are then more extreme versions when you think about households isolating as well.
"Self-isolation is possibly usually within houses, it means that you stay in your room, you get things delivered to it and stay there for 14 days.
"Household isolation would mean the household – that's obviously an more extreme move.
"Again, we're modelling that we're looking at that in terms of what the options might be."
Despite the surge in cases, Sir Patrick stressed it is "important these measures aren't taken too early".
Yesterday saw the first death in Britain from the illness, with the disease claiming the life of a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions.
Sir Patrick is now helping to coordinate the UK's fight against the illness, but admitted more infections were coming.
He said: "We've got more cases in the UK, we expect to get more.
"This is the start of an outbreak clearly, we have cases across Europe, across the world.
"This is a global epidemic and we would expect to see more cases in the UK.”
He revealed Britain was now looking at moving to the delay phase of the four-stage battle plan, which goes contain, delay, research, and then mitigate.
He said: "We do expect significant increases, and we can't predict exactly how this will go in the uk but we are doing everything we need to do at the moment to contain and are preparing to move to the delay stage.
"That means trying to suppress the peak so we haven't got as many patients getting it at the same time, and move it a bit so we move more into the summer months where the NHS is obviously better able to cope and other respiratory illnesses circulating tend to be a bit less."
It comes as Boris Johnson urged Brits not to panic-buy food and supplies as the number of coronavirus cases soared to 116 and patients with the bug were urged to stay at home.
The PM implored shoppers not to strip supermarkets bare, promising they would not go hungry in the crisis.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, he also said: “We will make sure that we give UK businesses the support that it needs.”
Supermarket shelves across the country have been emptied by those stocking up on hand gels, toilet paper and tinned food.
Shortages of hand soap, disinfectants, baby wipes and cupboard staples such as rice and pasta have been seen in Tesco, Sainsbury’s Asda and Morrisons stores.
Manufacturers have ramped up production in response and are working at full capacity to make sure shelves can be restocked. Supermarkets have also noticed more and larger home delivery orders.
Ocado has already warned customers they face delays of up to three days for deliveries amid “exceptionally high demand”.
Boots and Superdrug have limited the number of hand sanitisers to two a customer.
Waitrose has also put a cap on the number of cleaning products a customer can order at one time.
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