The first of these ships, the 'Blue Whale', arrived Friday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, Reuters reported.

Tens of thousands of medical workers have been brought into central Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, from across China to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. The seven ships will provide 1,469 beds in total.

As of 11 February, an estimated 1,716 health workers had been infected by the coronavirus, including several who died, data from Chinese officials said.

The ships are expected to provide safe dining and living conditions for medics to keep them refreshed as they fight the epidemic, state media said.

Since it evolved in late 2019, the coronavirus outbreak has caused over 2,000 deaths, over 7,000 infections, and a major disruption to global trade operations.

Diamond Princess, held under quarantine in Yokohoma, Japan, since 3 February, has reported more than 630 cases, accounting for the biggest infection cluster outside China.

Reports also say two passengers of the ship died last week because of the virus.

Several countries have already evacuated scores of the 3,700 passengers from the ship.