The virus has caused alarm because it is still too early to know how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. And because it is new, humans have not been able to build any immunity to it.
The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to bigger cities including Beijing and Shanghai.
Tourist access to Beijing’s Forbidden City and part of the Great Wall have been closed off and large gatherings cancelled, including two Lunar New Year temple fairs.
The Lunar New Year holiday, traditionally celebrated by hundreds of millions of Chinese travelling around the country and abroad, began on Friday but has been severely disrupted by the outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak was not yet a global health emergency.