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All 50 states report coronavirus cases, U.S. death toll crosses 100

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: A worker wearing a mask watches a road in New York on March 17, 2020.
A worker wearing a mask watches a road in New York on Tuesday. Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

The United States and European nations are stepping up measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus and counteract its economic impact, as the numbers of deaths and infections continue to grow.

The U.S. death toll surpassed 100 on Tuesday as all 50 states have now reported cases, and the E.U. announced sweeping restrictions on most travel within the 27-country bloc.

The White House announced Tuesday that it is looking to send checks directly to Americans in order to soften the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement comes as many parts of the U.S. have taken extraordinary measures to health the spread of the coronavirus. California officials announced a complete lockdown of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, that requires people to stay home except for essential needs.

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1048d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was tested for coronavirus, no results yet


Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was tested for coronavirus Friday night in Michigan after presenting flu-like symptoms and testing negative for both the flu and strep throat. 

McDaniel has not received the results of her test yet, according to an RNC spokeswoman. 

In the meantime, McDaniel and her family have been self-quarantining at home. 

McDaniel has been in close proximity with President Donald Trump and other lawmakers in the past few weeks. She attended a fundraiser with Trump in Orlando on March 9 and flew back to Washington on Air Force One. She also attended a Senate GOP lunch on March 10 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

1048d ago / 1:22 PM UTC

U.K. advises against all non-essential international travel for 30 days

After a slew of tougher measures announced by the U.K. government Monday to help control the spread of the coronavirus, British nationals are being asked to avoid all non-essential international travel for at least 30 days. 

"This change in travel advice reflects the pace at which other countries are either closing their borders or implementing restrictive measures in response to the global coronavirus pandemic," U.K.'s foreign office said in a statement. 

British people who decide that they still need to travel abroad should be fully aware of the increased risks of doing so, the statement added. That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home if travel restrictions are put in place. 

Foreign office said in the last week alone, 430 changes have been made to their travel advice, more than in the entirety of 2019.

1048d ago / 12:37 PM UTC

Contestants on Germany's 'Big Brother' to be told about coronavirus pandemic

Contestants on the German edition of the "Big Brother" reality show will be told about the coronavirus pandemic for the fist time Tuesday night.

TV channel Sat.1 said most contestants where shut off from the outside world on Feb. 6 and are, therefore, theoretically aware of the virus outbreak in Wuhan and first infections outside of China, but have no idea how far the virus has spread since. 

It said the decision to inform them about the pandemic was made together with the contestants' families.

The show's moderator and consulting physician will break the news of the full scale of the global health crisis to the group during a live broadcast.

Contestants will then be able to ask questions about the pandemic and receive video messages from their loved ones. 

Four new housemates joined the show last week, but were not allowed to talk about the virus, the channel said. 

1048d ago / 12:31 PM UTC

Trump's outgoing acting chief of staff Mulvaney under voluntary self-isolation


Outgoing acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is under voluntary self-isolation in South Carolina, NBC News has confirmed. 

“He had contact with someone whose test results are pending, so out of an abundance of caution due to his proximity to the President, he’s teleworking pending those results," a White House official told NBC News. "He tested negative on Friday and had no symptoms. White House docs blessed his travel.”

The Associated Press reported that Mulvaney decided to isolate himself because his niece had been in contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive for coronavirus. Mulvaney had tested negative for the virus, the report said.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump tapped on of his stanchest allies, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to be his new chief of staff.

1048d ago / 12:10 PM UTC

Al Roker does the weather forecast — from home

Al Roker returned to "TODAY" after a staffer he came in contact with tested positive for coronavirus. But he's working from home, bringing viewers the weather from his kitchen.

"There are no NBC News crews here. This is my iPad," Roker said Tuesday, joking he finally got to sleep in without his usual commute.

Roker said he's feeling fine and doesn't have any symptoms of coronavirus. He sat out Monday's broadcast and decided to work from home Tuesday out of an abundance of caution.

Watch his kitchen broadcast below:

1048d ago / 12:04 PM UTC

Sydney Opera House cancels performances over coronavirus

1048d ago / 11:56 AM UTC

1048d ago / 11:48 AM UTC

Iran sees 135 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours

Iran now has 16,169 reported cases of coronavirus after adding 1,178 new cases in the past 24 hours, the Iranian Heath Ministry said Tuesday.

So far, 988 people have died of COVID-19 in the country — 135 of them just in the past 24 hours.

The health ministry says 5,389 people have recovered.

1048d ago / 11:44 AM UTC

India closes iconic Taj Mahal to curb spread of coronavirus

Image: A low number of tourists are seen at Taj Mahal amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Agra
India has closed the Taj Mahal, its principal tourist site, amid coronavirus fears.Pawan Sharma / AFP - Getty Images
1049d ago / 11:16 AM UTC

AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas to close

Both AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas announced Monday they will close their doors this week as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States.

The movie theater chains were set to close Monday night after the last showing.

Read the full story here.

1049d ago / 11:16 AM UTC

British researchers warn social restrictions may have to remain for 18 months until vaccine is found

Researchers advising the British government have warned that social restrictions designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus may have to be imposed for 18 months or "indefinitely" until a vaccine is found.

report published Monday by the the COVID-19 Response Team at Imperial College London persuaded the U.K. government to shift its much criticized strategy from trying to slow the number of infections to trying to suppress them altogther.

However, the response team warned that the measures — advising people to skip pubs and theaters, as well as self-isolating at home for 14 days if any family member displays symptoms — might have to remain in place for many months because the contagion might "rebound" once they are lifted.

"The social and economic effects of the measures which are needed to achieve this policy goal will be profound," it warned.

1049d ago / 11:12 AM UTC

WH press secretary not at work after being exposed to coronavirus


White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was not at the White House Monday after she was exposed to Brazilian officials at Mar a Lago last weekend who later tested positive for the coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

1049d ago / 11:10 AM UTC

Barr issues memo to U.S. attorneys outlining DOJ priorities amid the outbreak


Attorney General William Barr sent a two-page memo to all U.S. attorneys Monday that outlined the Department of Justice’s priorities for law enforcement and the health and safety of people in the judicial system. 

Every U.S. attorney’s office has been ordered to prioritize the detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct that’s related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The memo referred to businesses selling fake cures online for the COVID-19 disease, phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the CDC and malware infecting apps designed to track the spread of the virus.

1049d ago / 11:09 AM UTC

Distilleries using high-proof alcohol to make hand sanitizer

Image: Chad Butters, founder of Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, poses for a photo at their facility in New Tripoli
Chad Butters, founder of Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, poses for a photo at their facility in New Tripoli, Pa., Monday, March 16, 2020.Matt Rourke / AP

NEW TRIPOLI, Pa. — A Pennsylvania distillery owner who grew increasingly angry as he saw the skyrocketing price of hand sanitizer has decided to do something about it: He’s temporarily converting his operation into a production line for the suddenly hard-to-find, gooey, alcohol-based disinfectant.

Eight Oaks Farm Distillery filled its first 20 bottles on Monday, a batch destined for charitable groups that need hand sanitizer but haven’t been able to get it due to the coronavirus pandemic. The family-owned distillery plans to dramatically boost production this week and distribute the bottles to charities as well as offer them at farmers’ markets where it sells its spirits and through its website.

The price: whatever people decide to donate.

“We are in a national emergency,” said distillery founder Chad Butters. “What’s the right thing to do? The right thing to do is support this community by providing something that is in desperate need. We’ll flood the valley with hand sanitizer and drive that price right down.”

Read the full story here.

1049d ago / 11:04 AM UTC

Cuomo orders that all New York state schools close for 2 weeks

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Monday ordering that all schools in the state close by Wednesday and stay closed for two weeks ending April 1. 

A press release from his office said that the state will reassess the decision and whether to reopen.

“The single most effective way to slow the spread of this virus is to reduce close contacts, and that includes in our schools,” he said in a statement, saying that every school district will be required to submit a plan to ensure children of healthcare and first responders have access to childcare.

1049d ago / 10:51 AM UTC

1049d ago / 10:35 AM UTC

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs tribute to frontline healthcare workers

1049d ago / 10:31 AM UTC

Olympic torch relay to go ahead in Japan as planned

Image: Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou, playing the role of the High Priestess, lights up the torch during the flame lighting ceremony at the closed Ancient Olympia site, birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece
Olympic torch lit up during the flame lighting ceremony at the closed Ancient Olympia site, birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece, on Thursday, March 12. Thanassis Stavrakis / AP

The Olympic torch relay will kick off in Japan on March 26 according to plan, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said Tuesday, but all accompanying celebrations and events will be cancelled.

Toshiro Muto told reporters the grand opening event in Fukushima will have no spectators. 

As for the actual torch relay, Muto said anyone who is not feeling well is asked to refrain from watching from the sidelines. Spectators will also be asked not to pack together along the streets where runners will be passing through. 

Despite a growing coronavirus pandemic, Japan has so far ruled out postponing or cancelling this year's  Olympics. 

1049d ago / 9:54 AM UTC

Image: Thai Muslim students wear face masks donated by a school official as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus during a ceremony at Attarkiah Islamic School in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat
Thai Muslim students wear face masks donated by a school official at a school in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat on Tuesday.Madaree Tohlala / AFP - Getty Images
1049d ago / 9:51 AM UTC

China reacts to Trump’s tweet referring to coronavirus as ‘Chinese virus’


China had harsh words for President Donald Trump Tuesday after he referred to the coronavirus as "Chinese virus" in a tweet. 

State media CGTN quoted China’s foreign ministry spokesperson saying Beijing strongly opposes Trump's use of those words.

Geng Shuang said the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community are clearly against linking the virus to specific countries and regions, according to CGTN. 

The disease the coronavirus causes was dubbed indiscriminate COVID-19 by the WHO earlier this year to avoid names that can be stigmatizing, singling out a country or a group of people. 

On Weibo, Chinese equivalent of Twitter, hashtag #trumpcallingCOVID19Chinesevirus was mentioned 24 million times Tuesday as social media users voiced their discontent with the U.S. president's tweet. 

The comments also prompted massive backlash in the U.S., including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said the tweet was misplacing blame and could put more Asian Americans in danger.

1049d ago / 9:46 AM UTC

1049d ago / 9:41 AM UTC

All but one new confirmed cases in China are imported: health officials


Health officials at China’s National Health Commission said Tuesday there were 21 new confirmed cases in mainland China, of which 20 were imported cases. The only new domestic case was recorded in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated. 

It’s a huge change of pace for China, where officials are now focusing on stopping people bringing new cases from abroad. 

On Tuesday, Wuhan officials said they will now require overseas arrivals to undergo 14-day quarantine at a central location at the people’s own cost, emulating Beijing.

Other cities in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, are doing the same, as is Anhui province.

The rate of new infections has slowed down considerably in China, according to officials figures released by the state, since a surge in number of cases in January. Nearly 81,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus so far, with 3,226 deaths recorded. 

1049d ago / 9:12 AM UTC

Israel's security forces to track coronavirus patients and people in self-isolation

Image: Health Ministry inspectors speak with a woman who is in self quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera
Health ministry inspectors speak with a woman who is in self quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera, Israel on Monday. Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

Israeli's security forces will track coronavirus patients and people in self-isolation using technology used to locate terrorists to make sure they stay isolated, officials said Tuesday.

They will also use this information to track people who were in proximity to the coronavirus patients and notify them of the need to self-isolate themselves. 

Israel has so far recorded more than 300 cases of the coronavirus, with no recorded deaths. 

Israel's military force, IDF, also confirmed to NBC News Tuesday that it's taking over two hotels - each able to hold 500 people - and transforming them into facilities to house patients with mild symptoms.

1049d ago / 8:50 AM UTC

Qatar stops prayer in mosques indefinitely

Image: An almost deserted Souq Waqi in Qatar's capital Doha, with the spiral minaret of the mosque at the Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center in the background
An almost deserted Souq Waqi in Qatar's capital Doha on Monday. AFP - Getty Images

Qatar has stopped prayers in mosques indefinitely amid the growing coronavirus epidemic.

The Qatar News Agency reported Tuesday that government officials directed the closure of mosques and suspension of all congressional prayers, including the obligatory five prayers and Friday prayers as part of measures to prevent and contain coronavirus. 

The country has so far recorded 439 coronavirus cases, but no deaths. 

1049d ago / 8:16 AM UTC

Two pedestrians cross an empty San Francisco street on Monday.
Two pedestrians cross an empty San Francisco street on Monday.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
1049d ago / 6:42 AM UTC

San Francisco police ready to enforce health orders

1049d ago / 6:12 AM UTC

Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive closed to shoppers

Beverly Hill’s iconic Rodeo Drive and the rest of the city’s “non-essential” retail stores are being ordered closed for most business to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The City Council approved an ordinance that says non-essential retail businesses “shall be closed except for pick up, delivery and certain transactions by appointment.”

Also closed are bars and nightclubs that don’t serve food, and restaurants are restricted from serving food to be eaten on premises. Gyms and movies theaters are closed. 

1049d ago / 5:44 AM UTC

Nordstrom to temporarily close all stores

Nordstrom will close all of its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday for the health and safety of customers and employees, the retailer said Monday.

Its websites will remain open for business. Employees will receive pay and benefits. “We realize the impact a closure can have on our store employees, and this is not a decision we made lightly,” Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom has 117 full-line stores in the U.S. and Canada, and also has 250 Nordstrom Rack stores among other businesses, according to its website.

Several other companies, including Apple, have also announced temporary closures. Cosmetics and beauty chain Sephora also on Monday announced it would close all stores in the United States and Canada starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday and lasting until April 3.

1049d ago / 5:09 AM UTC

Companies offer help with missed payments, disconnections

Some of the largest companies are waiving late fees, forgiving missed payments and expanding services as the threat of economic hardship looms along with the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

More than 100 municipal water and utility companies across 34 states said they won't shut off water service for late payments, and utility companies from Duke Energy in North Carolina to regional utility companies in California have all suspended shut-offs for nonpayment as the virus continues to disrupt daily life.

Credit card companies said they are offering relief programs, and a group of broadband and telecommunications companies has pledged to postpone termination of services for the next 60 days for customers unable to pay their bills.

Read the full story here.

1049d ago / 4:59 AM UTC

New York Times staffer tests positive

An employee at The New York Times has tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the newspaper’s publisher and executive editor said in a note to staff.

“The staff member has not been hospitalized and is in self-quarantine, recovering at home. The individual was last in the office on Thursday, March 5,” publisher A.G. Sulzberger and executive editor Dean Baquet wrote in the note.

The employee was not identified. “We have informed all the individuals who were in close proximity to this colleague. We’ve been in contact with each and asked them to monitor their health and self-quarantine,” they wrote, adding that having the vast majority of staff work from home is in everyone’s best interest.

1049d ago / 4:57 AM UTC

Asian shares bounce after Wall Street dive

BANGKOK — Shares reversed early losses in Asia on Tuesday after the U.S. stock market plunged to its worst day in more than three decades and huge swaths of many economies came to a standstill as businesses and travel shut down due to the virus outbreak.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 reversed early losses to gain 0.7 percent while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 0.9 percent. Shares also rose in Thailand and Australia, but fell in other regional markets.

Monday’s 12 percent drop for the S&P 500, its worst day in more than 30 years, came as voices from Wall Street to the White House said the coronavirus may be dragging the economy into a recession.

The rebound in Asia followed news that the Trump administration plans strong support for airlines stricken by the outbreak and is pushing the Senate to enact a massive stimulus package to alleviate losses for businesses and individuals affected by the outbreak, which has infected more than 182,000 people worldwide, 4,600 in the United States.

1049d ago / 4:36 AM UTC

Miami mayor with coronavirus shares video diary to reduce fear

1049d ago / 4:14 AM UTC

California governor halts evictions and foreclosures

California Gov. Gavin Newsom halted evictions and foreclosures statewide Monday in an executive order aimed at protecting businesses and residents from the coronavirus’ economic impact.

The order also protects Californians from utility shutoffs. Newsom tasked the state’s utility regulator with making sure electric, gas, water, internet and phone service remain functional if a customer’s payment is late.

“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” Newsom said in a statement.

The protections will remain in effect through May 31.

In a briefing, Newsom said that 392 people in the state have tested positive for the disease — an increase of 57 people from Sunday. Six people have died, he said.

1049d ago / 4:10 AM UTC

Los Angeles sheriff releasing inmates, urging fewer arrests

The Los Angeles County sheriff said Monday that his department had reduced the number of inmates in his custody by about 600, in part by granting early release, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Police departments are also being asked to cite and release offenders when possible, and that average daily arrests have dropped by around 300 a day to 60 a day.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that inmate populations are vulnerable and the moves are designed to help protect them. There have been no confirmed cases among inmates, but 35 are in isolation housing or quarantine, he said.

Read the full story here.