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Trump reaches aid deal with Democrats as cases mount

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: Servpro workers file in to begin a third day of cleaning at Life Care Center of Kirkland
Servpro workers begin a third day of cleaning Friday at Life Care Center of Kirkland, Wash., a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases. Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, the most significant move yet by the U.S. government to head off the coronavirus outbreak, and House Democrats and the White House later reached a deal on an aid package.

Trump's declaration came as many public and private institutions have taken action — including canceling major events, temporarily banning large gatherings, closing schools and telling people to work from home — in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled, soared, and then closed with a gain of 1,900 points after the emergency declaration. Wall Street had reeled Thursday afternoon after coronavirus fears drove the markets to their worst day since the Black Monday crash in 1987.

The United States as of Friday afternoon had surpassed 2,000 confirmed or presumptive cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to 41.

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Ted Cruz extends coronavirus quarantine

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Friday he was extending his self-quarantine after coming in contact with a second person who later tested positive for coronavirus. 

Cruz was already in self-quarantine after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last month, where a person tested positive for COVID-19. The lawmaker said Friday he remains without symptoms and would self-quarantine until March 17. 

“On March 3, I met in my D.C. office with Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Vox Party in Spain," he said in a statement Friday. "We met for about 20 minutes, sitting together at a conference table. We shook hands twice and took pictures together."

“My understanding is that Mr. Abascal tested positive for COVID-19 last night," he said. "His staff have informed us that he was asymptomatic at the time of our meeting and that several days after our meeting he had extended interactions with another individual who has also tested positive."

 

Germany offers 'loans of any size' to struggling businesses

Germany said Friday it is prepared to make loans of any size to help companies get over liquidity issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement released by the finance and economy ministries.

German Finance Minister Olaf Sholz said the country would take on debt to help businesses avoid potential economic breakdown. He also suggested that the government could step in and take ownership stakes in German companies. 

In the U.S., President Donald Trump has promised financial stimulus such as providing loans to small businesses affected by widespread fears of the virus.

Where things stand on coronovirus aid bill

We left last night with Speaker Pelosi saying that her and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin were “close” to a deal on the coronavirus legislative package. Negotiations continue today as there are still a couple of outstanding issues.

Secretary Mnuchin said on CNBC that “negotiations are going very well. This has been a bipartisan effort,” noting he has spoken to President Trump and GOP leadership several times during this process. “I think we are very close to getting this done.”

In Manhattan, bus cleanings ramp up

Wall Street bounces back after worst day since Black Monday

Wall Street rallied on Friday, bouncing firmly back after the worst day for markets since the Black Monday crash in 1987.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by around 1,200 points, with the S&P and Nasdaq surging by around 5 percent each.

The boost in stocks came after lawmakers and the White House appeared closed to finalizing an economic relief package to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey prepares for coronavirus

Workers from Istanbul Municipality disinfect a mosque to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, coronavirus ahead of Friday prayers on Friday in Istanbul, Turkey.Chris McGrath / Getty Images

First Read: Coronavirus response represents watershed week in 2020 campaign

This has been a week that has changed the trajectory of the 2020 election, as well as the trajectory for the entire nation.

The disruption from the spread of the coronavirus — and the political reaction to it — is certainly the biggest part of that change.

An economic recession now seems almost inevitable.

Get the rest of First Read.

Italians adjust to new reality under lockdown

The deserted Spanish Steps by the Trinita dei Monti church in central Rome on Thursday.Alberto Pizzoli / AFP - Getty Images

The local chef did not expect police to swoop in when he paused to take a picture of this city's renowned Spanish Steps, which for once were free of hordes of tourists as a result of Italy's sweeping coronavirus lockdown.

But officers handed Andrea Misseri a fine of between 60 and 80 euros (around $70 to $90) because he didn’t have the correct permission to leave his home.

“The fine now can happen if you're going anywhere without any reason, so at the moment it’s like a curfew,” he told NBC News right after the incident on Thursday. “It’s too strict.”

Italians throughout this country of 60 million are coming to terms with the new reality that has been imposed by the nationwide restrictions on movement aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly disease.

Read the whole story here.

Sen. Susan Collins meets with Maine health officials

Obama economist says coronavirus 'potentially more serious' than 2008 crash

Jason Furman, professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.Sarah Silbiger / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

An unexpected crisis has sent the stock market into free fall, Congress is divided on how to respond, and experts across the political spectrum are demanding unprecedented action to stave off catastrophe.

It’s a situation that’s all too familiar for Jason Furman, who advised President Obama’s campaign during the 2008 financial crisis and went on to serve as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Read our full interview here.

Spain looks at Italy for clues to deal with outbreak

As Italy grinds to a halt in hopes of stopping its outbreak, Spain has become the next country at risk of having its health care system pushed to the brink by the global pandemic.

A Catalan Police officer registers a car trying to arrive to Igualada at a check-point outside the city on Friday near Barcelona, Spain.David Ramos / Getty Images

Over 60,000 people awoke Friday in four towns near Barcelona confined to their homes and with police blocking roads. The order by regional authorities in Catalonia is Spain's first mandatory lockdown as infections increase sharply, putting a strain on health services and pressure on the government for more action.

The situation in and around the Spanish capital, Madrid, with nearly 2,000 positive cases of the virus and hospitals rapidly filling up, is a source of particular concern for authorities. The country as a whole had more than 3,800 cases by Friday morning and at least 84 deaths, but with a rate of contagion that is skyrocketing. In some areas, cases are doubling overnight.