Hong Kong reported its first death from the newly identified coronavirus on Tuesday, the second outside mainland China from an outbreak that has killed more than 420 people.
The Hong Kong victim was a 39-year-old man from Wuhan, where the virus first originated, who had underlying health problems, the authorities said.
It was the second death recorded outside China – the first was in the Philippines on Sunday.
China has since admitted “shortcomings and difficulties” in its response to the flu-like infection.
The coronavirus is spreading around the world and raised fears for global economic growth.
China’s currency and stock markets steadied in choppy trade after anxiety over the virus hit the yuan on Monday and erased about 400 billion dollars in market value from Shanghai’s benchmark index.
Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, said it had asked all casino operators to suspend operations for two weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.
In another announcement that will compound worries about the economic impact, Hyundai Motor said it would gradually suspend production at its South Korean factories because of supply chain disruptions from the outbreak.
The Hong Kong death took to 427 the toll from the virus, including a man who died in the Philippines last week after visiting Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak.
Chinese authorities said the toll in China rose by a record 64 from the previous day to 425, mostly in Hubei, the virtually locked down province whose capital is Wuhan.
New cases were reported in the U.S., including a patient in California infected through close contact with someone in the same household who had been infected in China.
It was the second instance of person-to-person spread in the U.S. after a case reported last week in Illinois.
“We expect to see more cases of person-to-person spread,” said Dr Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Centre for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The total number of infections in China rose by 3,235 to 20,438, and there were at least 151 cases in 23 other countries and regions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the flu-like virus a global emergency and experts say much is still unknown about the pathogen, including its mortality rate and transmission routes.
Such uncertainties have spurred extreme measures by some countries to stem the spread.
Australia sent hundreds of evacuees from Wuhan to a remote island in the Indian Ocean, while Japan ordered the quarantine of a cruise ship with more than 3,000 aboard after a Hong Kong man who sailed on it last month tested positive for the virus.
The Asian financial centre has confirmed 15 cases of the virus and its public hospital network is struggling to cope with a deluge of patients and measures to contain the epidemic.
Hong Kong was badly hit by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that emerged from China in 2002 to kill almost 800 people worldwide.
WHO figures show SARS killed 299 people in Hong Kong then. Chinese data suggest that the new virus, while much more contagious than SARS, is significantly less lethal, although such numbers can evolve rapidly.
The U.S. said on Friday it would block nearly all foreign visitors who have been to China within the past 14 days, joining Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam and others with similar restrictions.
China accused the U.S. on Monday of scaremongering and said on Tuesday it would welcome its help to fight the outbreak.
The White House said China had accepted its offer of U.S. experts among a WHO mission to study and help combat the virus.
Airlines have stopped flights to parts of China. A suspension by the United Arab Emirates on Monday will affect the Gulf airlines Etihad and Emirates.
Some economists predict world economic output will shrink by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points due to China’s lockdown.