By Natalie Rahhal Acting Us Health Editor
Published: 23:46 GMT, 13 February 2020 | Updated: 00:14 GMT, 14 February 2020
The US military has been given an executive order to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus pandemic.
Navy and Marine Corps have been instructed to set their pandemic plans in motion and quarantine any service men or women who have been in mainland China since February 2.
Commanders are now reviewing their plans for containing the disease in the event that it breaks out among military personnel and to play a role, if necessary, in help authorities contain the disease in the general public in the US and abroad.
However, in no way 'does the planning indicate a greater likelihood of an event developing,' Navy Lt Commander Mike Hatfield told the Military Times.
'As military professionals, planning for a range of contingencies is something we owe the American people.'
It comes as the number of American cases rose to 15 on Thursday, with the most recent three patients being people who had been quarantined on military bases after evacuation from Wuhan.
March Air Reserve Base began running drills to prepare for coronavirus before evacuees were quarantined there. Now, the Department of Defense has told the Marine Corps and Navy to prepare for a 'coronavirus pandemic'
The Trump administration has been aggressive in tackling the outbreak via travel restrictions and broadly praised China's response, although economic adviser Larry Kudlow criticized China's lack of transparency after it reported a 14,000 spike in cases on Thursday.
The military is now