China has accused the United States of whipping up panic over the fast-spreading coronavirus with travel restrictions and evacuations.

The comments come as Chinese stocks plunged on the first day back from the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

The death toll in China from the newly identified virus, which emerged in Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei, rose to 425 as of yesterday, up 64 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said.

The World Health Organization last week declared the flu-like virus a global emergency and it has since spread to 23 other countries and regions.

The first death outside China was reported yesterday - that of a 44-year-old Chinese man who had travelled from Wuhan to the Philippines.

Airlines around the world have suspended flights but Pakistan, a close Chinese ally, bucked the trend and said it was resuming air travel after a three-day suspension.

Wuhan and some other cities remain in virtual lockdown with travel severely restricted, and China is facing increasing international isolation.

China accused the US of spreading fear by pulling its nationals out and restricting travel instead of offering significant aid.

Relations between the two sides had just begun to recover after a long and bruising trade war.

The US has "unceasingly manufactured and spread panic", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, noting that the WHO had advised against trade and travel curbs.

"It is precisely developed countries like the United States with strong epidemic prevention capabilities and facilities that have taken the lead in imposing excessive restrictions contrary to WHO recommendations," she added, saying countries should make reasonable, calm and science-based judgements.

There was no immediate official comment from the US.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva, again said travel bans were unnecessary.

"There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade," he told the WHO's Executive Board.

"We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent."

Chinese President Xi Jinping said controlling the virus was the country's most important task.

"Xi stated that the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic is directly related to the people's life safety and fitness, directly related to the overall economic and social stability, and directly related to China's opening," Xinhua state news agency said.

Chinese stocks closed down almost 8%, wiping $393 bln off the market value, the yuan currency had its worst day since August, and Shanghai-traded commodities from oil to copper hit their lower limits - all despite the central bank's biggest cash input into financial markets since 2004.

A gauge of global stocks was near seven-week lows.

While stock markets reopened, most provinces have extended the holiday to try to contain the virus, with workers in Hubei not scheduled to return until after 13 February.

The number of new confirmed infections in China rose by 2,345.

The WHO said at least 151 cases had been confirmed in 23 other countries and regions, including the United States, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Britain.

Hospital built in eight days

A 1,000-bed hospital built in eight days to treat people with the virus in Wuhan was due to receive its first patients today, state media said.

More than 7,500 workers took part in the construction, which begun on 25 January..

A second hospital in Wuhan with 1,600 beds is due to be ready on Wednesday.

While countries have been trying to block the virus with travel bans, they have also been getting stranded citizens out of Wuhan.

The United States, which flew people out last week, is planning "a handful more flights" while Russia was due to start evacuating its citizens from Wuhan.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, rocked by months of sometimes violent anti-China protests, announced the closure of four more border crossings with mainland China, leaving just three open.

Australia evacuated 243 people from Wuhan and will quarantine them on a remote island.

On Saturday it had followed the US in barring entry to all foreign nationals travelling from mainland China.

The virus is thought to have emerged late last year in a Wuhan market illegally selling wildlife.

The number of deaths in China has now passed the total Chinese toll from the 2002-03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that emerged from China and killed almost 800 people around the world.

Even so, Chinese data suggests the new coronavirus, while more contagious than SARS, is significantly less lethal, although such numbers can evolve rapidly.