The spread of a deadly new virus is accelerating, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned, after holding a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday.
The country is facing a “grave situation” Mr Xi told senior officials. France on Friday became the first European country to confirm cases of coronavirus.
The coronavirus has killed at least 56 people and infected almost 2,000 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan.
Kenya has also stepped up surveillance with all passengers entering Kenya from China undergoing thorough screening.
“We have activated our national taskforce that is multi-sectoral that is now receiving updates from the Wealth Health Organization in Geneva on how best we can respond, to safeguard the Kenyan people,” Kenyan outgoing health CS Sicily Kariuki told journalists.
“I can confirm we are safe and there has been no case of Coronavirus. Our Hospitals are well equipped and ready to handle this virus,” she added.
The US has announced that staff at the Wuhan consulate will be evacuated on a special flight on Tuesday.
The State Department said that private Americans most at risk will also be able to board the flight to San Francisco.
Meanwhile, UK-based researchers have warned of a real possibility that China will not be able to contain the virus.
Travel restrictions have come in place in several affected cities. From Sunday, private vehicles will be banned from central districts of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak.
A second emergency hospital is to be built there within weeks to handle 1,300 new patients, and will be finished in half a month, state newspaper the People’s Daily said. It is the second such rapid construction project: work on another 1,000-bed hospital has already begun.
Specialist military medical teams have also been flown into Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.
The urgency reflects concern both within China and elsewhere about the virus which first appeared in December.
Lunar New Year celebrations for the year of the rat, which began on Saturday, have been cancelled in many Chinese cities.
Across mainland China, travellers are having their temperatures checked for signs of fever, and train stations have been shut in several cities.
In Hong Kong, the highest level of emergency has been declared and school holidays extended.
Several other nations are each dealing with a handful of cases, with patients being treated in isolation.
What is the coronavirus, and what does it do?
A coronavirus is a family of viruses which include the common cold.
But this virus has never been seen before, so it’s been called 2019-nCov, for “novel coronavirus”.
New viruses can become common in humans after jumping across the species barrier from animals.
The Sars [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] outbreak of 2003 started in bats and transferred to the civet cat which passed it on to humans.
This new virus also causes severe acute respiratory infection.
Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.
There is no specific cure or vaccine. Officials have urged people to avoid crowds and gatherings