The U.S. State Department on Thursday warned Americans to no longer travel abroad, and urged those already abroad to return, for fear they may become stranded as other countries increasingly lock down in the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy has surpassed China in total deaths connected to the coronavirus, with the country reporting 3,405 fatalities as of Thursday afternoon Eastern Time.
For the first time since the global coronavirus outbreak began, China has reported no new domestic cases of the illness.
Only eight deaths were reported for Wednesday, all of which occurred in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan where the pandemic started. Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has topped 200,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the U.S. and Europe have brought life in many major cities to a standstill, and governments are launching a variety of aid packages meant to alleviate the worst of the economic impact.
Markets were calmer on Thursday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing slightly up by around 200 points.
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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 20 Coronavirus news.
Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage
Wanted: People willing to get sick to find coronavirus vaccine [The Wall Street Journal]
Amid coronavirus outbreak, drive-in movie theaters find their moment [The Los Angeles Times]
COMIC: I spent a day in coronavirus awareness mode. Epidemiologists, how did I do? [NPR]
Photo: The scene in Greece
Mexico, former swine flu hub, drags feet on border closures
Mexican officials are dragging their feet on border closures and coronavirus containment measures, in what critics call a high risk strategy driven by bad memories of a shutdown a decade ago that deepened the country’s recession during the swine flu epidemic.
While neighboring U.S. and other countries in Latin America have suspended flights, banned public gatherings and closed schools, in Mexico City tens of thousands of music fans rocked out to Guns and Roses at a festival at the weekend.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also went on tour, hugging surging crowds of supporters and kissing babies.
Some Mexican scientists — receiving news of Europe’s growing lockdown — are increasingly worried that Mexico’s highly restrained approach to the outbreak could lead to a bigger epidemic down the road.
ESPN turns to alternative sports — including marble racing
ESPN is turning to fringe sports in an effort to replace some of the thrills and spills of its usual sports programming.
The network said that this Sunday its ESPN2 channel would become "ESPN8: The Ocho," a reference to the fictional channel from the movie "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."
The TV line-up includes a range of unusual sports competitions including marble runs, cherry pit spitting, sign spinning, the Stupid Robot Fighting League and the questionably titled Death Diving Championship of 2019.
Here’s a list of other little known sporting competitions coming to ESPN’s airwaves on Sunday.
E.U. asks Netflix to limit high-definition streaming
Many people in Europe are working from home and staying in at night, and that means more internet-based video conferencing and streaming.
In an effort to make sure everything functions properly, E.U. Commissioner Thierry Breton has asked Netflix to limit high-definition streaming.
Photo: Medical experts wait to screen foreign visitors at Moscow airport
400 foreigners stranded in Panama after festival
Between 400 and 500 people are stranded in Panama after a “tribal” festival and music event ended with many of them being quarantined at the concert site near the Caribbean beach of Playa Chiquita, an organizer said.
James Baker of Manchester, England, told the Associated Press that those attending the festival included people from countries around the world, including Spain, Canada, the U.S., Denmark, France, Britain, and Hungary.
Authorities in Panama have required that those seeking to leave prove they had been in Panama for at least 14 days. While many attendees have been able to leave, Baker said many of the remaining festivalgoers and staff would need help getting back to their home countries due to flight and transport cancellations. He told the AP that "the mood is generally good" and the group had tents, medial support and food for about a month.
Markets calm amid silent opening bell ahead of switch to all-electronic trading
Markets were calmer on Thursday, just two days before the New York Stock Exchange closes its main trading floor and converts to all-electronic trading due to safety concerns about coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by around 200 points, with the S&P and Nasdaq down by just under 1 percent each.
Newly released data that showed a significant spike in unemployment levels put some pressure on stocks on Thursday, with 281,000 people filing claims, far higher than last week's 211,000.
Pelosi demands Trump authorize production of critical supplies to fight coronavirus
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., implored President Donald Trump on Thursday to use his authorities to force the mass production of critical supplies that the U.S. is lacking in the fight against the coronavirus.
“The president must immediately use the powers of the Defense Production Act to mass-produce and coordinate distribution of these critical supplies before the need worsens and the shortages become even more dire,” Pelosi said in a statement issued from her district in San Francisco.
Pelosi’s statement comes after Trump tweeted Wednesday evening that he signed the Defense Production Act so that he could use it in a "worst case scenario."
Read the full story here.
Cruise ship docks in France with more than 200 Americans on board
The Costa Luminosa cruise ship with more than 200 Americans on board docked on Wednesday evening in Marseille, France, after it was barred from docking in the Canary Island as three passengers diagnosed with COVID-19 disembarked earlier in the trip.
A health inspection has been underway since last night and is still being carried out aboard the Miami-based Carnival Corporation ship, port authorities said. Health officials will make the decision if any non-French passengers can disembark the ship today, or if it will continue to its final destination in Genoa, Italy.
French authorities said that an American plane is on standby to repatriate them to the U.S. French passengers will be taken by health officials in Marseille and immediately put into quarantine.