China reported 508 new cases Tuesday in an outbreak of a viral illness that has spread to the Middle East and Europe.
Another 71 deaths were reported, 68 of them in the city of Wuhan, where the epidemic has been concentrated.
The updates bring mainland China's totals to 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths.
South Korea reported 60 more cases of the new virus, bringing its total to 893. Cases there now outnumber Japan, where many cases were detected among passengers and crew on a cruise ship.
South Korea has reported a near 15-fold increase in viral infections in a week, as health workers continue to find batches of cases in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas, where panic has brought towns into an eerie standstill.
Of the 60 new cases reported by South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 49 came from Daegu and the surrounding areas of North Gyeongsang province.
The country also reported its eighth fatality from the virus, a man in his 60s who was linked to a hospital in Cheongdo, where a slew of infections has been reported among patients who had been hospitalized at a mental ward.
Clusters have also emerged in Iran and Italy.
Schools were closed in Iran for a second day. Movie theaters and other venues were shuttered through at least Friday, and daily sanitizing of public buses and the Tehran metro, which is used by some 3 million people, was begun.
In Italy, where 229 people have tested positive for the virus and seven have died, police manned checkpoints around a dozen quarantined northern towns as worries grew across the continent.
After large increases in COVID-19 cases in other countries, the World Heath Organization said the virus had the potential to cause a pandemic but was not one yet.
"The past few weeks has demonstrated just how quickly a new virus can spread around the world and cause widespread fear and disruption," WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
But "for the moment we're not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus," he said.
In South Korea, the start of the new school year has been delayed, and President Moon Jae-in issued the country’s highest alert for infectious diseases.
People who recently visited Daegu and nearby areas were advised to stay at home if possible for two weeks. More than 600 police officers fanned out in Daegu in search of members of a church that has been identified as a source for hundreds of infections. The halls of the National Assembly were sterilized and crews in protective suits sprayed disinfectants at shops and food stalls in Seoul.
South Korea's Defense Ministry has confirmed 13 troops have the virus, resulting in quarantines for many other troops and halting field training.
The United States Forces Korea says a 61-year-old U.S. military dependent living in Daegu tested positive, the first infection among individuals related to U.S. troops in South Korea. South Korean and U.S. military health professionals were tracing her possible contacts.
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