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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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884d ago / 4:24 PM UTC

Granddaughter shows grandfather through window of isolated care home that she’s engaged

Image: Carly Boyd and her grandfather, Shelton, speak through a window at the locked down Premier Living and Rehab Center in North Carolina.
Carly Boyd shows her grandfather, Shelton, her engagement ring through a window at the locked down Premier Living and Rehab Center in N.C. Premier Living and Rehab Center

Photos of a young woman telling her grandfather about her engagement through the window of a care home under lockdown have highlighted the impact coronavirus is having on families. 

Carly Boyd is seen in photos excitedly showing her grandfather Shelton her new engagement ring through the window of his bedroom at the care home. 

Like other residents of the Premier Living & Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, the elderly man cannot receive visitors in keeping with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Image: Carly Boyd and her grandfather, Shelton, speak through a window at the locked down Premier Living and Rehab Center in North Carolina.
Premier Living and Rehab Center

In a second photo also posted to the center's Facebook page, Boyd and her grandfather are seen pressing their hands against a pane of glass that separates them. 

"She was right there with her hand pointing to it. He was lying up there eating some ice cream," Gennie Parnell, the facility's administrator, told NBC News over the phone.

"She put her hand up on the window and he put his hand on the window and we all just fell apart," Parnell added.

884d ago / 4:02 PM UTC

Dow surges after Mnuchin says the government will be "sending checks to Americans immediately"

Markets received a boost Tuesday morning after the White House coronavirus task force announced further response to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

"We're going big," President Donald Trump said at a White House briefing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to 1,000, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 notching gains of around 6 percent each.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government would be "sending checks to Americans immediately," and announced a "very significant economic stimulus plan" that would be presented to Congress.

Wall Street also bounced back after the Federal Reserve announced new action Tuesday as part of its sweeping emergency measures to shore up the economy.

884d ago / 3:33 PM UTC

Maryland postpones primary election slated for April to June

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that he's postponing his state's primary that was scheduled for April 28 to June 2. 

"I am issuing a proclamation to postpone the April 28 primary to June 2, just as a number of other states have done and as other governors are expected to do later today or in the days ahead," he said at a press conference.

"I am directing the state board of elections to develop a comprehensive plan by April 3 to conduct the primary election in a way that protects public health and preserves the integrity of the democratic process in our state," he said. 

884d ago / 3:10 PM UTC

White House eyeing $850B coronavirus stimulus package

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As the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. worsens, Congress and the White House are already eyeing a third stimulus package to address the economic effects of the pandemic. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is preparing an aid package that is expected to total $850 billion, according to two administration officials.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Congress needs to provide more “direct assistance” to workers and families and enact “further strong steps to secure our economic foundation,” especially small businesses.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have prepared their own package that would cost at least $750 billion.

Click here to read the full story.

884d ago / 2:59 PM UTC

Olympic Committee: Too early to make 'drastic decisions' about Tokyo

The International Olympic Committee said Tuesday that it was too early to make "drastic decisions" about whether the summer games in Tokyo would be affected. 

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive," the IOC said in a statement. 

"The situation around the COVID-19 virus" is affecting preparations for the games, but the "IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can," the committee said.

884d ago / 2:56 PM UTC

Queen to meet with prime minister, then head to Windsor Castle

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will head to Windsor Castle on Thursday, a week earlier than planned, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.

She will, however, still meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and has two other planned "audiences" at Buckingham Palace, as planned before her departure.

“In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by The Queen, and other Members of the Royal Family, in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed,” the palace said in the statement.

Three garden parties scheduled to take place in May were also canceled, along with Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel. It’s likely that the queen will stay at Windsor Castle beyond Easter, the palace said.

Image: Britain's Queen Elizabeth at a visit to the headquarters of MI5 in London on Feb. 25.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at the headquarters of MI5 in London in February.Victoria Jones / Reuters file
884d ago / 2:55 PM UTC

Updated map from the NBC News Graphics team

884d ago / 2:45 PM UTC

New York gov: 'I have no interest' in quarantining a city

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday morning he had no plans to impose a quarantine on any city in his state.

"I have no interest whatsoever, and no plan whatsoever, to quarantine any city," Cuomo said at a news conference.

However, Cuomo said it was "possible we will be doing more dramatic closings" in addition to shuttering restaurants, bars and schools to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

He also said the number of cases in the state is expected to peak in 45 days:

884d ago / 2:34 PM UTC

The scene in New York

Image: Employees entering the New York Stock Exchange are screened for fever on Tuesday.
Employees entering the New York Stock Exchange are screened for fever on Tuesday.Lucas Jackson / Reuters
884d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

Amazon limits warehouse service to household staples and medical supplies

Amazon is not accepting new products to its warehouse service except household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand items through April 5, according to an announcement obtained by NBC News. Amazon confirmed the authenticity of the announcement.

“We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” the company announced on its seller platform called Seller Central. “With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.”

The company said that high-demand goods include baby products, health and household items, beauty and personal care products, groceries, industrial items and pet supplies.

884d ago / 2:16 PM UTC

Spain turns back cars at land borders as death toll rises to 491

Image: A Catalan Police officer, Mossos d'Escuadra register a car trying to arrive to Igualada at a check-point outside the city on March 13, 2020 near Barcelona, Spain.
A Catalan Police officer at a check-point outside Barcelona, Spain, on Friday.David Ramos / Getty Images

Spain set up police checks at its land borders with France and Portugal on Tuesday and turned back foreigners attempting to enter, part of strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Europe’s second hardest-hit country.

The government reported 182 new fatalities overnight, bringing the total dead to 491 and making Spain the country with the world’s fastest-rising toll behind Italy. The number of infected topped 10,000 for the first time to 11,178.

Spain closed its land borders Monday to all but Spaniards, permanent residents and transborder workers. Trade in goods is not affected.

884d ago / 2:07 PM UTC

Australian supermarkets open early to allow elderly to shop and buy supplies

Image: Elderly customers waiting for the opening of Woolworths supermarket in Balmain on March 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
Elderly customers waiting for the opening of Woolworths supermarket in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday. Jenny Evans / Getty Images

A major supermarket chain in Australia opened earlier than usual on Tuesday dedicating a shopping hour for the elderly and the disabled as anxiety over the coronavirus increases.

Shoppers waited outside Woolworths supermarkets chain waiting for a chance to buy necessities before stores opened to the general public.

The move comes after the country witnessed panic buying in recent weeks, especially for toilet paper, rice, pasta and frozen foods.

Similar "elderly hours" were also reported in shops in Iceland and Canada. 

884d ago / 2:01 PM UTC

884d ago / 1:50 PM UTC

Euro 2020 championship postponed over coronavirus, Sweden and Norway's soccer authorities say

Soccer’s 2020 European Championship has been postponed for a year as the world fights to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Norwegian and Swedish football associations said on Tuesday.

Swedish Football Association chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said in a message to Reuters during a UEFA video conference call that the tournament will now take place in summer of 2021.

The Norwegian FA tweeted the news from its official account.

UEFA, who is yet to confirm the decision, was under pressure to push back the tournament to give suspended domestic leagues time to be completed.

884d ago / 1:48 PM UTC

Senate Democrats have prepped third coronavirus aid package

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WASHINGTON — As Congress and the White House are already eyeing a third aid package to address the coronavirus outbreak, Senate Democrats have prepared their own package that would cost at least $750 billion.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to present it to his Democratic caucus during a powerpoint during a tele-lunch they are having Tuesday.

He plans to “explain the contrast to the GOP’s expected proposals of industry bailouts and tax cuts,” a senior Democratic aide said.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is preparing an aid package that is expected to total $850 billion, according to two administration officials.

884d ago / 1:44 PM UTC

Dierks Bentley donates $90K to employees after closing Nashville bar

Image: Dierks Bentley performs at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas in 2018.
Dierks Bentley performs at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas in 2018.Mike Blake / Reuters file

Country music star Dierks Bentley said he is donating $90,000 to help his hourly employees after he was forced to close his Whiskey Row bar and grill in Nashville, Tennessee, due to the coronavirus. 

"Just gave last call at @whiskeyrownashville as we close the doors for a while. My heart goes out to all the guys/girls down on Lower Broad. Feels like yesterday that it was me down there working for tips," he said in a tweet.

"I am going to immediately give each of our 90 hourly employees $1,000 to help in the short run as our community and country try to get a handle on the situation," he said.

Read the full story here. 

884d ago / 1:43 PM UTC

First Read: Dem race could be frozen in place after Tuesday's primaries

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It’s likely — if not certain — that tonight’s Democratic presidential primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois will be the last ones for the next two months.

And it’s unclear what, exactly, is going to happen today in Ohio, where the state’s governor said he wouldn’t open the state’s polling places, defying a judge who declined to postpone the state’s primary.

It all freezes into place a Democratic nominating contest — with uncertainty about when it all begins again.

Read the full story here.

884d ago / 1:40 PM UTC

Image: A woman wearing a protective mask speaks over a phone as she stands inside a train at Fort railway station, as the number of people tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country increased, in Colombo, Sri Lanka,
A woman wearing a protective mask speaks over a phone as she stands inside a train at Fort railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday.Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters
884d ago / 1:38 PM UTC

Kentucky Derby to be postponed until September

The Kentucky Derby, the iconic annual horse race, will be postponed from May to September, according to a news release.

The race will now be held on Sept. 5.

The Derby is the latest major sporting event to be postponed or called off because of the global coronavirus outbreak.

884d ago / 1:37 PM UTC

Dow bounces back nervously as coronavirus continues to slam markets

The stock market bounced back nervously on Tuesday, the morning after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst single-day points drop ever as traders grappled with almost unprecedented economic volatility.

The Dow opened with a modest rebound of around 400 points, and the S&P and Nasdaq notched up gains of around 2.5 percent each.

While analysts, economists, and even President Donald Trump make mention of the possibility of a recession, some are now even contemplating whether the massive social and economic upheaval could throw the U.S. into a depression.

Monday was the worst day for the Dow and the S&P 500 since the Black Monday crash of 1987.

884d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

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

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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.

884d 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.

884d 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. 

884d ago / 12:31 PM UTC

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

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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.

884d 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:

884d ago / 12:04 PM UTC

Sydney Opera House cancels performances over coronavirus

884d ago / 11:56 AM UTC

884d 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.

884d 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
884d 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.

884d 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.

884d ago / 11:12 AM UTC

WH press secretary not at work after being exposed to coronavirus

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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. 

884d ago / 11:10 AM UTC

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

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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.

884d 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.

884d 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.

884d ago / 10:51 AM UTC

884d ago / 10:35 AM UTC

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs tribute to frontline healthcare workers

884d 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. 

884d 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
884d ago / 9:51 AM UTC

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

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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.

884d ago / 9:46 AM UTC

884d ago / 9:41 AM UTC

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

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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. 

884d 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.

884d 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. 

884d 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
884d ago / 6:42 AM UTC

San Francisco police ready to enforce health orders

884d 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. 

884d 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.

884d 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.

884d 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.

884d 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.

884d ago / 4:36 AM UTC

Miami mayor with coronavirus shares video diary to reduce fear

884d 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.

884d 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.

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