Most of the deaths and the majority of cases have been in central Hubei province, whose capital, Wuhan, is the epicentre of the outbreak.
Some 56 million have been placed under lockdown in the province.
The biggest cluster of cases outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan’s coast, though others have been reported around the world.
While the death toll from the epidemic climbed past 1,100 on Wednesday, the number of new cases fell for a second straight day, raising hope the outbreak could peak later this month.
The World Health Organization warned the virus posed a “very grave threat”, but that there was a “realistic chance” of curbing it.