France's famed Louvre museum closed Sunday as coronavirus cases mounted across Europe and beyond, with the global death toll nearing 3,000.

The virus has now infected more than 88,000 people and spread to more than 60 countries around the world, well beyond the epicentre in China where it first emerged late last year.

It has rattled global markets and prompted unprecedented measures from governments scrambling to contain the outbreak, which the World Health Organisation has warned could become a pandemic.

The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, was shuttered after staff refused to open the museum over coronavirus fears.

Some tourists turning up in the afternoon complained they had booked their tickets that same morning with no warning of the closure.

France, which has 130 confirmed cases and two deaths from COVID-19, said it would ban gatherings of 5,000 people or more, closing schools and cancelling religious services in some of the hardest-hit zones. Sunday's half-marathon in Paris was cancelled.

Two confirmed cases in France on were children, aged one and five, and their 27-year-old mother in the eastern city of Strasbourg. No children under 10 years old are reported to have died from the virus.

In recent days, the epidemic has spread to sub-Saharan Africa, while Armenia and the Czech Republic reported their first cases, and cases in Germany doubled.

Qatar, Ecuador, Luxembourg, and Ireland all confirmed their first cases as the virus continued its global march beyond China's borders.