The death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak has risen to six in China's central city of Wuhan, the city's mayor has told state television.
A total of 258 cases had been confirmed in the city by the end of Monday, Zhou Xianwang said in an interview.
Separately, China's eastern Zhejiang provincial health authority said a total of five cases of new coronavirus were confirmed as of Tuesday.
Earlier, authorities confirmed that a new virus could be spread through human contact, reporting 15 medical staff had been infected.
The chilling update on the coronavirus outbreak that began in the central city of Wuhan sent shivers through financial markets, as the World Health Organisation called a meeting to consider declaring an international health emergency.
"Information about newly-reported infections suggest there may now be sustained human to human transmission," WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai said in an email statement.
There were also two cases identified in Thailand, one in Japan and one in South Korea, and health authorities around the world have begun to step up screening of travellers arriving from China.
The mounting anxiety was transmitted to regional markets. China's yuan was down nearly half a per cent and on track for the sharpest daily decline since late August, while airline and travel stocks fell across the region.
The virus can cause pneumonia, with symptoms including fever and difficulty in breathing. As those symptoms are similar to many other respiratory diseases, extra screening is needed.
Wuhan officials have been using infrared thermometers to screen passengers at airports, railway stations and other passenger terminals since January 14.
Some online vendors were limiting sales of masks and hand sanitisers as demand surged.
And Shanghai's market regulator warned on Tuesday that it will punish speculators who hoard masks and other products used for preventing diseases, according to the Shanghai Observer, a web publication backed by a Communist Party newspaper.
Australian Associated Press