The World Health Organization on Thursday decided to not declare the coronavirus in China, which has sickened close to 600 and crossed borders, a global health emergency.
Several WHO members said it was too early in the outbreak to categorize the virus as an international threat, noting the limited cases abroad and the precautionary efforts China is making.
Authorities in China moved to lock down three cities on Thursday to try and contain the outbreak, which has infected almost 600 and killed 17. It is shutting down transportation in Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, which house about 18 million people combined.
The coronavirus started in the central city of Wuhan last month. While most of the cases are in China, the U.S., Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Vietnam have confirmed cases.
As the outbreak evolves, WHO says it will be ready to reconvene an emergency meeting if necessary.
Officials have linked the virus to a large seafood market that reportedly sold wild animals illegally in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The market closed at the beginning of the month for cleaning and investigation.
Coronaviruses can infect both animals and people and spread through coughing and sneezing.