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Over 3,000 cases in the U.S.; airport chaos due to new screenings

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: People wait in line to go through customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 14, 2020.
People wait in line to go through customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 14, 2020.Austin Boschen / via AP

Americans are racing to cut vacations short and re-book flights home this weekend as Europe continues to lock down towns and cities amid the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC said Sunday that all events of 50 people or more should be canceled for the next eight weeks, guidance that advocates for people to engage in "social distancing" through early May.

New York City announced it would close public schools, and many cities around the country ordered bars and restaurants closed, with some even issuing curfews, to encourage social distancing. Meantime, brick-and-mortar retailers began shutting down stores.

Stock futures plunged Sunday night, despite unprecedented emergency action from the Federal Reserve, which announced a rate cut.

The United States has surpassed 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to at least 61, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

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Coronavirus fears leave ski slopes empty

Skiers walk past a closed chair-lift after the closure of all ski resorts, in Les Crosets, Switzerland, Sunday.DENIS BALIBOUSE / Reuters

American Airlines to suspend nearly all international flights

American Airlines said it will start a phased suspension of nearly all long-haul international flights starting Monday, due to reduced demand and travel restrictions from the outbreak.

Between March 16 and May 6, the company will reduce its international capacity by 75 percent on a "year over year basis," it said in a statement Saturday.

The airline also anticipates its domestic capacity in April will be reduced by 20 percent compared to last year. It also projected it will be reduced by 30 percent in May.

Mexico braces for outbreak lasting 'all year'

Mexico has warned that the coronavirus outbreak could last all year as it rolled out tougher measures to contain the spread.

The education ministry said it would extend the Easter break for some 33 million students, doubling the length of their vacation. Meanwhile, the health ministry recommended canceling gatherings with 5,000 people or more.

“We’re preparing for an epidemic that could last all year,” Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told a news conference Saturday.

Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus infections had risen to 41 on Saturday up from 26 a day earlier, the government said. It has not reported any fatalities from the virus.

South Korea declares Daegu a special disaster zone

The president of South Korea declared the city of Daegu a special disaster zone on Sunday, according to a presidential spokesperson.

While South Korea has recently reported a downward trend in new cases, Daegu accounts for a majority of cases in the country due to an outbreak in a church.

South Korea reported 76 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 8,162 with 75 total deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Sunday's numbers are in line trend of falling cases, which are down from the 107 recorded on Saturday.

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China tightens airport checks as imported cases tick up

China tightened checks on international travelers arriving at Beijing airport on Sunday, after the number of imported new coronavirus infections surpassed locally transmitted cases for a second day in a row.

The government announced that all international arrivals at will be sent to special facilities for 14 days of monitoring. People with certain special needs will be allowed to return to their homes for self-quarantine  only after strict evaluation, they said.

Mainland China reported 20 new cases of infections on March 14 — up from 11 cases a day earlier — data from by the National Health Commission showed on Sunday. Of those, 16 were internationally imported, it said.

Vatican Easter services to be held without audiences

St. Peter's Square on Friday.ALBERTO LINGRIA / Reuters

The Vatican said on Sunday that all papal Easter services will be held “without the physical presence of the faithful,” due to the public health emergency.

Also, Sunday blessings will be held via internet live streaming on the official Vatican News website until April 12.

“In this Sunday of Lent, we pray all together for the sick and the people who are suffering. Today, I would like to say a special prayer for all the people who are ensuring the functioning of the society: pharmacies, supermarkets, transports, police officers,” Pope Francis said during Sunday's mass. 

Outbreak delays start of Netanyahu corruption trial

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial was delayed on Sunday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel’s Justice Ministry said the trial against Israel's longest serving leader — due to have opened on March 17 — would begin on May 24.

Netanyahu — who is spearheading Israel’s measures against the outbreak — has denied any wrongdoing in the investigations. Charges against him include bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

Spain, France join countries announcing more virus restrictions

A taxi passes underneath a traffic sign reading 'Stop the coronavirus, stay home' across the highway to the airport in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday.David Ramos / Getty Images

BARCELONA, Spain — Authorities around the world turned to increasingly drastic measures to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus Sunday, with lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions spreading.

Soldiers and police sealed the densely populated Philippine capital from most domestic travelers in one of Southeast Asia’s most drastic containment moves. The move mirrored a lockdown Spain announced just hours earlier for its 46 million citizens.

France ordered the closing of just about everything the rest of the world loves about it — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the cafes and restaurants — as governments took increasingly desperate measures to put more space between people and contain the virus.

President Donald Trump announced that the U.S., which days ago barred travelers from most of Europe, will extend the ban to Britain and Ireland. And more cities in the U.S. put in place curbs on gatherings of more than a few hundred people, with one New Jersey city even announcing an overnight curfew.

In a nationally televised address Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez detailed the battery of exceptional measures put in place as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in infections.

In a lockdown similar to the one already imposed in Italy, people will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of the young and the elderly. All schools and universities were closed, along with restaurants, bars, hotels and other non-essential retail businesses.

DHS says it's aware of long lines at airports