The government is expected on Wednesday (22 January) to announce measures to pre-emptively mitigate any spread of a new coronavirus to the UK.
Health teams, the BBC reports, will meet passengers arriving at Heathrow from the Chinese city of Wuhan where the new strain of the virus is understood to have originated.
China Southern currently operates three direct flights a week between Wuhan and Heathrow.
Other measures expected to be announced by the Department of Health on Wednesday include routing Wuhan flights to an isolated area of Terminal 4 “better suited to health contingencies” and in-flight announcements and leaflets urging anyone who feels ill to report their symptoms.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Radio 5 Live health secretary Matt Hancock would announce the full package of precautionary measures on Wednesday.
It comes after China attributed nine deaths to the virus, and confirmed more than 400 cases.
The virus has spread to several Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, and there have been cases reported in Japan, the US, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong.
Several nations have introduced screening measures including the US in three major cities, as well as Australia, Singapore and Japan.
China’s National Health Commission confirmed on Monday (20 January) the infection could pass from human to human following two cases in Guangdong province.
The World Health Organization (WHO) will decide on Wednesday (22 January) whether to declare an international public health emergency, which would demand a global response.
The virus is known to cause respiratory illnesses in humans, akin to pneumonia or bronchitis, with cold-like symptoms such as headache, cough, sore throat and fever.
Public Health England (PHE) has upgraded the risk to the UK population from very low to low, Shapps added.
It follows bulletins earlier this week from both PHE and the Foreign Office (FCO) advising travellers to be wary.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The welfare of our passengers and colleagues is always our main priority and we are working with the government to support the implementation of enhanced monitoring measures as a precaution.
"We would like to reassure passengers that the government assesses the risk of a traveller contracting Coronavirus to be low.
We would encourage anyone with individual questions or concerns to refer to guidance from Public Health England and the Foreign Office.”