Commuter traffic was gradually increasing in Beijing on Monday (February 24) as more residents returned to work after weeks of quarantine in their own homes.
But the number of coronavirus cases in the city jumped.
Meanwhile South Korea was put on high alert as the number of infections there jumped to 763.
And the number of cases and deaths in Europe and the middle east rose.
Analysts described the latest developments with the virus as 'game-changing'.
Sending shockwaves around global markets, with investors fleeing for safe-haven gold, up over two percent in early trade.
European shares took a beating, with Italy plunging more than 4% after the spike in cases left parts of the country's industrial north in virtual lockdown.
That put Milan on course for its worst day since 2016.
Arthur Brunner is a fixed income specialist at ICF bank: (SOUNDBITE) (German) DIRECTOR SPECIALIST FIXED INCOME AT ICF BANK, ARTHUR BRUNNER, SAYING: "The DAX had a very weak start into the new week.
The coronavirus and especially its spread to Europe put the markets into a state of shock.
Markets across the globe are clearly taking hits.
The DAX is currently down 3.3% and in Asia too, losses were similar.
There is a fear that the coronavirus will lead to a permanent weakening of the world economy." The European STOXX 600 wiped off all its 2020 gains.
And London-listed stocks saw $50 billion knocked off companies' market value.
Travel, tourism and luxury stocks continue to be among the worst hit from the health crisis.
As well as sectors that rely on China for their supply chains.