The Government defended its approach to the coronavirus outbreak after a group of Sidcup pupils went into isolation on return from Italy.

People coming back from affected areas have been told to self-isolate but the Foreign Office has not changed its travel advice, meaning flights continue to take Britons to the region.

Secondary school Cleeve Park today confirmed that an unspecified number of pupils and staff who felt "unwell" had been advised to stay at home after they returned from a skiing trip in northern Italy.

Downing Street insisted its approach was based on medical evidence but stressed that travel advice was kept under review.

Mr Hancock said official advice has been changed to say that those who have been to anywhere in Italy north of Pisa should self-isolate if they develop flu-like symptoms on their return to the UK.

Britons who have been in locked-down regions of Italy - including parts of Lombardy and Veneto - should self-isolate at home for 14 days even if they have no symptoms.

Not all of the Sicup pupils on the trip are in isolation, suggesting they did not return from a quarantined region. The school has not stated the exact location of the trip.

But the Foreign Office advice simply details the restrictions the Italian authorities have put in place to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus, with no suggestion that Britons should avoid travel.

Mr Hancock told Sky News: "We don't think there are any Brits in the area that has been quarantined by the Italian government but the Government does not track where people move around Europe, so if people are in that area then they should get in contact and we will do what we can to help."

The Health Secretary, who said it was a "significant outbreak" in Italy, was asked whether he would fly to the country.

"Certainly southern Italy is perfectly reasonable to travel to," he replied.

But asked if he would travel to the north of the country under the current conditions, he said: "I'm not planning on (it), put it that way".

"We have not changed the official Government travel advice but I'm not planning on going.

"If people go and then they come back and feel ill with flu-like symptoms then we are asking them to self-isolate and stay at home for two weeks and try not to come into contact with anybody else.

"So that is obviously quite a significant imposition on people, we get that, but of course the top priority is to keep the public safe."

Number 10 insisted there was not a contradiction between the health advice and travel advice in place for northern Italy.

"In both instances the advice which we issue is based on the evidence and on the professional opinion of medical experts," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

"We have been led by medical expertise from the beginning of this outbreak and we will continue to be so.

"In terms of travel advice, that is kept continuously under review."