Passengers wearing face masks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19, walk out from the arrivals of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Wednesday. AFP
New cases in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are all accelerating, with the total across the region nearing 700. Six people have died.
Authorities worry that these countries could be especially at risk should the virus begin to spread locally, due to poor health facilities and infrastructure.
India, the world's second most populous country after China, said it would ban all international commercial passenger flights from landing from Sunday for a week. The country has already suspended visas for the vast majority of foreigners seeking to enter.
Indian airline IndiGo said it would cut the salaries of most of its staff, while rivals SpiceJet and Vistara suspended international flights.
In Indian-ruled Kashmir, claimed in whole but ruled in part by both India and Pakistan, dozens of people told Reuters they had been prevented from leaving their neighborhoods by police and paramilitary units.
Srinagar's senior superintendent of police, Haseeb Mughal, told Reuters that road blockades across the valley had been imposed to prevent the spread of the virus.
"I had to take my mother to hospital in Srinagar but the police closed the road," said Mohammed Ayub, from the nearby town of Budgam.
"I am waiting here for the last two hours. I can't even go home now as the road is blocked due to a traffic jam."
In India, several areas introduced curbs on gatherings as coronavirus cases rose to 166.
Late on Wednesday, the desert state of Rajasthan invoked colonial-era laws that prevent the unlawful assembly of four or more people - powers more often used to quell riots.
Foreigners visitors wearing face masks stand outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. AFP
Similar restrictions were introduced in Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi.
The financial hub of Mumbai expanded its partial shutdown of offices to government buildings on Thursday, with at least half the staff ordered to work from home.
Online retailers say they are struggling to keep up with demand as consumers stockpile supplies.
"We are seeing unprecedented order volumes in all cities in India," said Hari Menon, chief executive of online grocery retailer BigBasket.
A city in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the global coronavirus epidemic, will pay residents as much as 10,000 yuan ($1,425.96) if they proactively report symptoms of the illness and it is confirmed after testing.
Qianjiang, a city of around one million people located about 150km from the stricken provincial capital of Wuhan, has reported a total of 197 cases so far and is stepping up efforts to ensure its infected people are confined and treated.
Anger has been building up against the authorities in China over their early handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 3,300 people globally, most of them in China. The Fujian provincial government said that as of Friday, the province had 296 cases of coronavirus and 10,819 people had been placed under observation after being classified as suspected close contacts.
India has also closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. No cases have so far been confirmed in Myanmar.
Coronavirus concerns led Saudi Arabia to cut off air and sea travel with Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. The kingdom had earlier closed off its land borders as well.
Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi ordered a waterline project to be initiated from Khorfakkan to Shees.
A visiting Israeli aerospace veteran believes more discoveries in the great outer space, beneficial to mankind and which would also generate employment, is attainable if governments join forces together.
The Traffic and Patrols Department at Ras Al Khaimah Police’s General Directorate of Central Operations has announced a ban on heavy-duty trucks on the emirate’s internal roads and highways in two morning and evening periods, effective from Sunday.