What does that mean, novel?
novel means new. There are hundreds (?) of Coronaviruses, but this one is the New (novel) one.
novel = new
“novel” is part of the name of the virus now. This started about a week or ten days ago. The first few times I heard it I thought it was a description by the news reader, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Of course “novel” means new, so maybe they are trying to distinguish it from other corona viruses, even though few people had ever heard of any coronavirus before late December.
That it's a new one, not SARS, MERS, or something else that they've seen.
New. In the same sense that a manuscript of a certain longer than normal length was regarded as novel, and that became the name for the type of book that fills our bookshelves today.
By the way they call this New Crown Pneumonia in China. It’s a pneumonia that is highly communicable which is why the US press doesn’t call it pneumonia.