China battles coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates


Meanwhile, more than 23 million people are affected by the shutdown as Chinese authorities have moved to lock down more cities.

The respiratory virus emerged from a seafood and animal market in Wuhan and cases have been reported as far away as the United States.

In Wuhan, authorities have temporarily banned residents from leaving the city.

The Chinese authorities earlier reported over 600 cases and at least 17 deaths resulting from the new respiratory infection that was first registered in the Chinese city of Wuhan and labelled 2019-nCoV or Novel Coronavirus by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

-- The new virus claimed its youngest victim.

Many airlines have suspended their flights to Wuhan due to fear of transmitting the virus to other areas, while Beijing has canceled large-scale activities in view of the New Year celebrations. Anyone who suspects they have been exposed to the virus should immediately seek medical treatment if they start having trouble breathing, develop a fever, or have issues with coughing. Hundreds of millions of people in China are expected to travel over the course of the new year period, which begins Saturday, both within the country and overseas.

The city of 11 million people, and neighbouring Huanggang, a city of seven million, were in virtual lockdown.

Eight Fijians in Wuhan City are together in isolation at a flat in Wuhan since Monday.

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"This year we have a very scary Chinese New Year".

But after two days of talks to determine the level of global concern, the WHO stopped short of declaring a so-called "public health emergency of worldwide concern" - a declaration used for the gravest epidemics. Travel restrictions have also been placed on Chibi, Zhijiang, Huangshi, Xiantao, Enshi, Qianjiang and Xianning cities, according to The Guardian.

The man, who arrived in Japan on Sunday, is now hospitalised, the ministry said.

U.S. President Donald Trump assured reporters during a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday that U.S. officials "have a plan" to deal with the new outbreak, praising experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as "terrific, very great professionals, and we're in great shape".

Some experts believe the new virus is not as unsafe as the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed almost 800 people, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.

"There is some work being done and there are some trials now for MERS (vaccines)".

Gilead Sciences Inc said it was assessing whether its experimental Ebola treatment could be used.

Shares in luxury goods firms have suffered from the anticipated drop in demand from China, and on Friday French spirits group Remy Cointreau said it was "clearly concerned" about the potential impact.

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