The number of confirmed deaths from Chinaís viral epidemic has risen to 169, the government said on Thursday, as hard-hit Hubei province reported 37 new fatalities.
Meanwhile, many foreign governments have began flying their citizens out of Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak,.
Although the majority of cases have been in Hubei, cases have been detected elsewhere in China and in at least 15 other countries.
The World Health Organizationís (WHO) Emergency Committee is set to reconvene behind closed doors in Geneva later on Thursday
to decide whether the rapid spread of the virus now constitutes a global emergency.
"In the last few days the progress of the virus, especially in some countries, especially human-to-human transmission, worries us," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Wednesday, naming Germany, Vietnam and Japan.
"Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak."
The United States flew about 200 Americans out of Wuhan, capital of Hubei where most of the cases are concentrated.
They were being screened on arrival in California. France, Britain and Canada also have organized evacuations.
The effects of the virus are already weighing heavily on Chinaís economy, the worldís second-biggest, with companies cutting corporate travel and tourists cancelling trips.
Various airlines are cutting flights, from British Airways and Lufthansa to Air Canada and American Airlines.