Even as the World Health Organization said cases had spread to 18 countries, Italy announced its first confirmed cases, in two Chinese tourists.
In reporting the country's first 2019-nCoV case today, India's health ministry said the patient is a student who attended Wuhan University who tested positive after returning home to Kerala state, Kyodo News reported today. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
On Friday, Islamabad also halted all flights to and from China, effective immediately, with additional secretary of aviation Abdul Sattar Khokhar telling Reuters "We are suspending flights to China until Feb 2", after which the situation would be reviewed again.
Japan on Friday warned citizens against non-essential travel to China and fast-tracked new rules to limit the spread of a deadly coronavirus strain as new evacuees arrived in Tokyo.
"Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan", the U.S. State Department said in a new travel advisory on its website, raising the warning for China to the same level as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Vietnam confirmed three more cases involving travelers from Wuhan, according to the Star, an English-language newspaper based in Malaysia, which cited the country's health ministry.
The National Health Commission reported 171 cases have been "cured and discharged from hospital".
The White House has said it is considering further restrictions on USA airlines flying to China, in addition to the voluntary restrictions implemented by some air carriers.
A declaration of a global emergency typically brings greater money and resources, but may also prompt nervous governments to restrict travel and trade to affected countries.
The U.S. government says it has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.
Experts say there is evidence of people-to-people transmission of the virus.
"The flu is just not as new and headline-grabbing because we see it every year", said Emily Martin, an epidemiologist at the University of MI. One patient is a man in his 50s who had symptoms, and the others-a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s-are asymptomatic. At least 20 countries beyond China have confirmed cases. 2019-nCoV as it is called, belongs to the coronavirus family, which includes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and spreads via airborne droplets. There are around 250 Indians now trapped in Wuhan, many of them medical students studying overseas.