With the global death toll heading towards 3,000 and almost 80,000 people infected, how can we protect ourselves from the spread of the virus known as Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation and other medical experts have issued guidelines for members of the public.
Keep at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease like Covid-19 coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. One virologist in the UK Professor John Oxford even warns people to avoid kissing and hugging.
Plane passengers are advised to take precautions to avoid infections when flying.
Citing a study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, an article in National Geographic warns that passengers in aisle seats have a greater likelihood of coming into contact with viruses due to the proximity of other passengers.
Window seat passengers had far fewer close encounters than people in other seats, averaging 12 contacts compared to the 58 and 64 respective contacts for passengers in middle and aisle seats.
Passengers are warned that the infectious zones on aircraft include tray tables, air vents, seatbelt buckles and seat-back pockets. With the fast turnaround of aircraft nowadays, airlines have little time to clean every surface. Use disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising Irish citizens to avoid travel to China and to parts of Italy. Dr Graham Fry of Dublin's Tropical Medical Bureau in Dublin is advising travellers to avoid non-essential travel to certain Asian countries. Apart from China, the countries with the highest number of infections are Japan, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia. Dr Fry said: "The risk of infection is still low, but there is a risk of being quarantined. Don't go to the cinema or get on a crowded bus."
Dr Fry said: "Unless it is a proper filter mask, the standard masks that you see people wearing are of very little value in protecting you from someone else spreading the virus. If you use a mask it should be sealed and tight to the face."
The WHO warns passengers using a mask to make sure they cover the nose and mouth. Avoid touching the mask once it's on. Discard each single-use mask after use and wash your hands.
Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - discard the tissue immediately in a closed bin and clean your hands. Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevents the spread of germs.
Tony Holohan, chief medical Officer in the Department of Health, said: "Anyone who may have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, or who has been to mainland China in the last 14 days, is advised to contact HSE Live. If they are unwell with a cough, especially with respiratory symptoms (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever) they should isolate themselves and phone their GP immediately."