States react to Trump's plan to reopen U.S. while some hear a call to arms

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Medical workers are seen as they take swab samples from people to be tested for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on April 16, 2020.Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images

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A number of governors said that while they would take President Donald Trump's new guidelines to reopen state economies under consideration, they were wary of moving too fast in the face of unresolved issues like testing shortages.

But some Americans are calling for a quick return to business as normal and marched on state capitols Friday to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, extremists have interpreted Trump's recent tweets to "LIBERATE" certain states as a call to arms.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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Live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 18 coronavirus news here.

Serbia under full lockdown for Orthodox Easter weekend

Serbia will be under curfew for its longest lockdown to date due to the coronavirus for the upcoming Orthodox Easter weekend, similar to the full lockdown style implemented in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. 

All residents will be under curfew from 5 P.M. local time on Friday until Tuesday 5 A.M., Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a TV interview earlier in the week.

All supermarkets and businesses will be fully closed, although dog-walking will be allowed close to home for no more than 20 minutes. Serbia has confirmed around 5,000 reported cases as of Friday.

Pandemic 'potentially catastrophic' for millions of children, UN says

While children have largely escaped the most severe symptoms of COVID-19, the social and economic impact “is potentially catastrophic for millions" of them according to a U.N. report released Thursday evening.

“All children, of all ages, and in all countries, are affected,” it said. “However, some children are destined to bear the greatest costs.” Those badly hit will be children most affected by poverty: those living in refugee and displacement camps, conflict zones, institutions and detention centers, the report said.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres also issued a statement, saying the pandemic is putting many of the world’s children “in jeopardy” and urged families and leaders everywhere to “protect our children.”

Guterres said the lives of children “are being totally upended” by COVID-19, pointing out that almost all students out of school, family stress levels are rising as communities face lockdown, and reduced household income is expected to force poor families to cut back on health and food expenditures which will “particularly affect children.”

Coronavirus in a psychiatric hospital: 'It's the worst of all worlds'

It's not unusual to hear patients screaming and crying at Western State Hospital, workers say. But lately, they say it's been worse than normal at the massive psychiatric facility just south of Tacoma, Washington.

Thirty-four patients and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Western State since the outbreak began, and one patient has died. The hospital says conditions have improved, with few new cases in recent days and no new sick patients in two weeks. But some workers — who actually outnumber patients 4 to 1, and who account for most of the coronavirus cases — tell NBC News they fear the real scale of the infection is unknown.

Read the full story here.

Lions nap in the road during South Africa lockdown

Lions and other wild animals have been taking advantage of the strict lockdown in South Africa, as there are no human visitors visiting the 2 million hectare Kruger National Park.

Photographs taken by ranger Richard Sowry show a pride of lions napping in the sun on the tarmac just outside one of the park’s rest lodges.

In a Twitter post, the park explained that the lions was were not usually resident in areas of the park open to tourists.

The pandemic in pictures: 29 images from around the world

A Yonkers Fire Department EMT arrives to assist EMS medics with a patient with COVID-19 symptoms on Tuesday in Yonkers, N.Y.John Moore / Getty Images

NBC News' picture editors have brought together 29 of the most striking images of the pandemic around the world in the last seven days. See the full gallery here.

German foreign minister: Trump's WHO funding cut like 'throwing a pilot out of the aircraft'

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned President Donald Trump's decision to halt payments to the World Health Organization on Thursday, in a continuation of the wave of global criticism of the move.

Speaking to German public service broadcaster ZDF on Thursday evening, Maas said: “To call the WHO into question or to cut off its financing in such a phase, is as if you would throw the pilot out of a flying aircraft.”

Trump has accused the WHO of "severely mismanaging and covering up" the coronavirus crisis, specifically the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.

London Mayor calls on U.K. to change advice on face masks

London Mayor Sadiq Khan reiterated his calls for face masks to be worn “if you really can’t stay at home” on Friday. The U.K. is “an outlier” in not following the recommended health policy, he said.

“The government’s advice should change so that in those circumstances where it is not possible for us to keep our social distance — think of public transport usage, think of when you’re in a shop — we should be using non-medical facial coverings like bandanas, like scarves, like reusable masks,” Khan told BBC Radio on Friday.

The U.K. extended its lockdown for three more weeks on Thursday until at least May 7, as concerns grow Britain that the crisis was far from abating.

A woman wearing a face mask and a plastic bag pulls a cart loaded with bags of recyclables through the streets of Lower Manhattan on Thursday.Johannes Eisele / AFP - Getty Images