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World markets tumble and all of Italy goes on lockdown

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex which is under cohort isolation after mass infection of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Daegu
South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex that is under isolation in Daegu on Monday. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

World stocks tumbled with investors bracing for the economic fallout of the epidemic, with a shocking all-out oil price war adding to anxiety.

Wall Street suffered its worst day since the financial crisis of 2008 as the Dow plummeted more than 2,000 points by Monday's closing bell, and London's FTSE 100 plunged to a three-year low after oil prices cratered by 30 percent overnight.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte announced Monday that the containment measures introduced Sunday for the Lombardy region in the country's north would be applied to the whole nation. More than 9,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Italy so far while Germany and Spain also saw spikes in the number of cases Monday.

The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus has risen to more than 650 on Monday, including 26 deaths.

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GOP House member who was with Trump on Air Force One also self-quarantining

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is also now self-quarantining and closing his Washington, D.C., office after learning Monday that he was exposed to a patient with coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month.

Gaetz, who wore a gas mask on the House floor during the vote on the coronavirus emergency spending bill last week, was on Air Force One with President Donald Trump on Monday. 

The list of members known to be self-quarantining include Gaetz, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Doug Collins of Georgia, and Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley of California.

Dow closes with decline of 2,000 points, almost ending 11-year bull market

Wall Street took a beating on Monday, as collapsing oil prices and fears about the impact of the coronavirus almost nudged the American economy out of the longest bull market in history, exactly 11 years to the day since it began.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day with a loss of around 2,000 points Monday, part of a global market rout that saw spiraling sell-offs in the energy sector amid the biggest drop for crude oil since the Gulf War in 1991.

The blue-chip Dow saw its biggest points drop ever, down 7.8 percent, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq down by 7.6 percent and 7.2 percent for one of the worst days since the financial crisis.

Pelosi to hold meeting with House chairs over coronavirus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday that she plans to hold a meeting with House committee chairs to discuss the coronavirus outbreak after their regular weekly Democratic leadership meeting Monday night, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

The meeting comes amid rising anxiety in Congress about the risk of exposure to the virus. Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Doug Collins of Georgia both said in statements this week that they will self-quarantine at home in their districts for 14 days after they came in contact with someone now hospitalized with COVID-19 at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. 

An aide for Collins told NBC News that two of his office staff are also self-quarantining. Collins shook hands with President Donald Trump in Atlanta on Friday, video and photos of them show.  

Rep. Julia Brownley. D-Calif., said in a statement Monday that she had met with someone who tested positive for infection and was closing her Washington office as a precautionary measure. She and her staff are "self-monitoring and maintaining social distancing practices" but are not experiencing symptoms.

The scene on Capitol Hill

A custodian walks past the office of Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who is voluntarily quarantining after interacting with a person who has coronavirus, on Capitol Hill on Monday.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Coronavirus mask mania spurs internet’s gray markets into action

Coronavirus-related products are still for sale across most major social media platforms, including through person-to-person messaging systems, despite some efforts to crack down on black- and gray-market activity around the outbreak.

Facebook temporarily banned ads and listings in its Craigslist-style classifieds section Marketplace for coronavirus masks Friday, but searches like “N95 mask surgical mask supplier” on Facebook turned up a variety of marketers selling on Pages and Groups.

The offerings highlight how the fringe markets of social media have seized on the coronavirus and been able to fly under the radar of broader efforts to stop misinformation and profiteering around it. Some accounts that purport to market other illicit goods such as drugs have even turned to coronavirus-related products.

Read the full story here.

2nd person dies in California

A woman in her 60s who had been hospitalized for several weeks died on Monday morning, the Santa Clara Public Health Department said — bringing the California death toll to two people.

She was the first person in Santa Clara County who was confirmed to be infected with the disease caused by coronavirus without any known history of international travel, or contact with an infected person — suggesting she contracted the disease in the community.

“This is a tragic development. The Public Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk,” said Dr. Sara Cody, a health official for Santa Clara County.

Courts and coronavirus

A few federal courts around the country are beginning to reduce or restrict operations or access in view of the coronavirus.

All jury trials, both civil and criminal, have been postponed in Seattle and Tacoma federal courts. Grand juries are not meeting there, either.

Federal courts in New York's Southern District, including Manhattan, are restricting entry. No one will be allowed in who traveled within the past 14 days to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy or Iran, or who had close contact with someone who has. The chief judge has also ordered that no jail inmates can be brought to court for hearings if they have a fever.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has notified all federal courts to make certain they can maintain essential functions in the event of a pandemic, by substituting teleconferences for face-to-face meetings, requiring staff to stay home at the first sign of symptoms and encouraging more telework.

 

Ohio governor: Three people have tested positive

7-year-old in NYC diagnosed with coronavirus

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that a seven-year-old girl in the Bronx has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

This is not the first child in the U.S. to be diagnosed. An elementary school student in Indiana, as well as another New York City child, have also been diagnosed. 

But overall, children comprise a small percentage of total cases worldwide, including just 2.4 percent of reported cases in China, where the outbreak started. 

Among those children, complications from the virus have been rare. No deaths have been reported so far in young children.

Netanyahu says anyone entering Israel from abroad will be isolated for 14 days

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that anyone entering the country from abroad, including citizens, would be isolated for 14 days.

"This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health — and public health precedes everything," Netanyahu said. The rule will be in place for at least two weeks. 

Netanyahu made the announcement during a series of discussions with other leaders regarding the coronavirus outbreak. He also said he was working on plans to maintain the Israeli economy.