People who show “even minor” signs of respiratory tract infections or a fever will soon be told to self-isolate in an effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
The UK government’s chief medical adviser said the change in advice could happen within the next 10 to 14 days.
Five people have now died from coronavirus in the UK.
It comes as the Foreign Office warned British residents against all but essential travel to Italy.
Italian authorities are extending strict coronavirus quarantine measures – which include a ban on public gatherings – to the entire country from Tuesday.
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said anyone who arrives from Italy from Tuesday should self-isolate for 14 days.
Italy has more than 9,100 confirmed infections, and more than 460 people have died.
In the UK, there were 319 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of 09:00 GMT on Monday, a rise of 46 since the same time on Sunday.
People will be asked to self-isolate for seven days after showing mild symptoms under the new approach, the UK’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty said.
All intensive care patients will now be tested for the virus, he said – as well as anyone in hospital with a respiratory infection.
It comes as two more deaths in the UK were announced.
Both patients – who were in hospital in Wolverhampton and Carshalton, south London, respectively – were in their 70s and had underlying health conditions.
In a joint press conference with Prof Whitty in Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also suggested the elderly and vulnerable could be asked to stay home in the near future, with further steps set out “in the days and weeks ahead”.
He said that the more the peak of the spread could be delayed to summer, “the better the NHS will be able to manage”.
Source: BBC News