COVID-19: 'Pets no risk to owners', stress vets
But the British Veterinary Association stressed "owners should not worry" about risk of infection from pets.
"There isn't a single case of a pet dog or cat infecting a human with Covid-19," Dr Angel Almendros, from City University in Hong Kong, told BBC News.
Research has shown cats may be able to catch the virus from other cats.
Dr Almendros added that it would be sensible to keep cats indoors - where it is safe and possible to do so - during the outbreak.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Daniella Dos Santos told BBC News she agreed with that advice. But the association has since clarified that its recommendation to concerned pet-owners is to take the precaution of keeping cats indoors "only if someone in their own household showed symptoms".
Every pet-owner though should "practise good hand hygiene," she said.
"An animal's fur could carry the virus for a time if a pet were to have come into contact with someone who was sick."