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.
The coronavirus has killed at least 56 people and infected almost 2,000 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan.
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.