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Restrictions on daily life grow as U.S. death toll climbs

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
A traveler talks with a security officer at Washington Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, on March 16, 2020.
A traveler talks with a security officer at Washington Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, on March 16, 2020.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Dow Jones plunged nearly 3,000 points as U.S. states and major cities are following European nations and capitals in shutting down schools, bars and theaters to try and delay the spread of coronavirus.

California officials announced a complete lockdown of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, that requires people to stay home except for essential needs, and the governor of Ohio is recommending postponing the state's primary elections originally scheduled for Tuesday.

New York, Los Angeles and Washington state have all announced public buildings will be shut temporarily, amid fears that the number of cases will continue to grow beyond the confirmed 4,000. The National Security Council stressed Sunday night that there is no U.S.-wide shutdown or national quarantine.

A long list of European nations that have enacted severe countrywide lockdowns, including France, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. Italy, the worst affected European country, has recorded more than 1,800 coronavirus-related deaths so far and expects some 90,000 infections by the end of April.

The U.S. death toll climbed to at least 85, with 25 of those deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

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929d ago / 5:47 PM UTC

Italy announces nearly 28,000 coronavirus cases, 2,158 dead

Undertakers carry a coffin out of a hearse on March 16, 2020 at the Monumental cemetery of Bergamo, Italy, as burials of coronavirus victims are conducted approximately every half hour.
Undertakers carry a coffin Monday at the cemetery in Bergamo, Italy, as burials of coronavirus victims are conducted approximately every half hour.Piero Cruciatti / AFP via Getty Images

The total number of coronavirus cases in Italy rose to 27,980 Monday, including the dead and recovered, the country's Civil Protection Department chief, Angelo Borrelli, said. 

The number had risen by more than 3,000 from the day before, Borrelli said. Nearly 350 more people had died, bringing the total number of dead to 2,158. 

More than 400 people had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recovered to 2,749. 

Just over 23,000 remain infected, and more than 11,000 are hospitalized. Nearly 2,000 of those hospitalized are in intensive care, while about 10,000 are isolated at home. 

Nearly. 138,000 people in the country have been tested for coronavirus. Much of Italy remains on lockdown in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

The Department of Civil Protection released a map to show where cases have been confirmed

929d ago / 5:18 PM UTC

The scene in Wuhan

Image: Medical staff wave goodbye to a patient who recovered from coronavirus at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China, on March 16, 2020.
Medical staff wave goodbye to a patient who recovered from coronavirus at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China, on Monday.AFP - Getty Images
929d ago / 5:07 PM UTC

'Nighthawks' in the time of coronavirus

With many bars and restaurants shut down, an edited version of Edward Hopper's famous painting "Nighthawks" has been making the rounds.

The original version of the edited picture can be found here.

929d ago / 5:06 PM UTC

Roche says it will work with FDA to test rheumatoid arthritis drug for use on coronavirus patients

Doctors in China have used an anti-inflammation drug to curb the effects of the coronavirus on critical patients, and now the maker of the drug says it is talking to the Food and Drug Administration about clinical trials.

Tocilizumab, sold under the name Actemra and made by the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche, is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis, as well as certain types of juvenile arthritis.

Chinese doctors have used Tocilizumab to prevent an overreaction of the immune system that has led to organ failure and death in coronavirus patients. An initial clinical trial in China used Actemra in 20 severe COVID-19 cases. Nineteen of the patients were discharged from the hospital within two weeks and one got better, according to China’s National Health Commission. The drug has now been approved for use in China, but has not yet been approved in the United States.

Karsten Kleine, a spokesperson for Roche, told NBC News that the drug company “is in active discussions with the FDA, as well as government bodies and institutions around the world, to initiate clinical trials that evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients.”

929d ago / 5:05 PM UTC

Amid crisis, NYC mayor commutes to the gym

and

Mayor Bill de Blasio may be telling his fellow New Yorkers to treat the coronavirus pandemic “like wartime,” but that’s not stopping him from hitting the gym.

The mayor — whose long, daily motorcade commute from his official Upper East Side mansion to his Park Slope YMCA has been criticized as wasteful — was spotted by reporters at his Brooklyn gymnasium on Monday morning, defying city advice for New Yorkers to act as if they’ve been exposed.

“The mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time,” a spokesman said afterwards, according to the New York Post. “That doesn’t change the fact that he is working around the clock to ensure the safety of New Yorkers.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered gymnasiums closed by 8 p.m. Monday. Asked about the mayor’s gym choice, the governor said: "He can be in the gym this morning. You can be in the gym this afternoon. You can be in the gym this evening” — just not after 8 pm.

929d ago / 4:57 PM UTC

School lunches for delivery

Image:
Cafeteria workers fill buses to distribute grab and go lunches from Conte Community School in Pittsfield, Mass., on Monday. The lunches provide a good meal for children while schools are closed due to coronavirus.Ben Garver / The Berkshire Eagle via AP

 

929d ago / 4:51 PM UTC

Wall Street has a grisly morning after rate cut fails to calm markets

Wall Street had a grisly start to the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding by 2,800 points at session lows in Monday's morning trading.

The massive sell-off came despite emergency action from the Federal Reserve on Sunday to shore up the economy by infusing markets and Main Street with easier access to cash.

The week's trading halted before it even started, with the S&P 500 triggering a "limit down" threshold in premarket activity. Within seconds of the opening bell, the S&P 500 fell again, by 7 percent, triggering a circuit breaker that halted all trading on the exchange floor for 15 minutes.

When trading resumed, all three major averages extended their losses, with the Dow settling with a decline of around 1,800 points by midday.

929d ago / 4:47 PM UTC

Maryland to close bars, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the closure of all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms across the state, while allowing drive-through, takeout and delivery services to continue. Social gatherings of more than 50 people in close proximity at all locations will also be prohibited. The order is effective at 5 p.m. ET.

Hogan issued another executive order prohibiting eviction of any tenant during the state of emergency, as well as prohibiting utility services — including electric, gas, internet, and phone companies — from shutting off for any residential customers or charging them any late fees. 

929d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

Why do we touch strangers so much? A history of the handshake offers clues. [National Geographic]

What if you can't avoid the hospital as COVID-19 spreads? [Wired]

Foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks [The Economist]

Locked down in Beijing, I watched China beat back the coronavirus [The Washington Post]

929d ago / 4:41 PM UTC

GOP senator says Trump should 'step back' from response messaging

and

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would like President Donald Trump to "step back" and appoint a public health official to be the spokesman for the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

“My suggestion would be Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been around for decades and is such a well-regarded infectious disease specialist," Collins told reporters in the state capital in remarks first reported by the Portland Press Herald on Friday. Collins' spokeswoman Annie Clark confirmed her remarks to NBC News on Monday.

Collins said that the federal government is making progress in dealing with the outbreak but she "isn't satisfied with the response." 

“I think that the messaging at the federal level has been inconsistent, and when you are dealing with a  novel virus like this, it’s very important that health professionals be out front and that there be a consistent message," she said, the newspaper reported. 

929d ago / 4:23 PM UTC

Romney to propose giving every U.S. adult $1,000

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Monday that he will propose a provision that would give every U.S. adult a $1,000 check in any additional coronavirus relief measure that Congress considers.

"Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy," his office said in a press release. "Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options."

Romney also called for providing federal loans to small businesses for short-term obligations, factoring unexpected housing, travel and other costs related to the outbreak into Pell Grant awards, and allowing deferment of student loans to recent graduates affected by the crisis.

Romney called on the Senate to "swiftly pass" the House-passed aid package this week. The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on that measure.

929d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

E.U. considers 30-day restriction on nonessential travel to region

The head of the European Commission has proposed a 30-day restriction on nonessential travel to the region.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, one of the two most powerful European Union institutions, said in a recorded announcement that she has brought a restriction proposal to European heads of state.

"As I have just informed our G-7 partners, I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the European Union," she said. 

The restriction would be in place for 30 days, with the possibility of an extension. Long-term E.U. residents, family members of E.U. nationals, diplomats, people transporting goods, people commuting for work and people helping deal with the coronavirus outbreak would be exempt.

929d ago / 3:57 PM UTC

No seating at Starbucks

Chairs are stacked in a Starbucks coffee shop
Chairs are stacked in a Starbucks coffee shop that remained open for customers purchasing for take-away on Monday in New York City. New York leaders took a series of unprecedented steps Sunday to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including canceling schools and extinguishing most nightlife in the city.John Minchillo / AP
929d ago / 3:50 PM UTC

NFL draft to proceed next month, but public events canceled

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that teams' selection of players will be televised and proceed as scheduled April 23-25. However, public NFL draft events will be cancelled.

The league will continue exploring options for how the process will unfold and will provide information as it becomes available, Goodell said.

“The decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” Goodell said.  He added that he looks forward to “evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

929d ago / 3:40 PM UTC

Cuomo mobilizing National Guard to find buildings to convert to emergency hospitals, calls for federal help

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he is mobilizing the N.Y. National Guard to seek out facilities that can be converted into emergency hospital space in anticipation that the curve of new infections will almost certainly not be flattened enough to prevent the state's hospital systems from being overwhelmed.

Cuomo called on the federal government, specifically the Army Corps of Engineers, to build such emergency facilities, saying they have the greatest capability to quickly expand the total number of beds throughout the country. And Cuomo said that all elective surgeries scheduled in the state could be postponed.

929d ago / 3:29 PM UTC

Austrian Airlines to suspend operations

Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend scheduled flights starting Thursday as the result of entry restrictions imposed by many countries amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline said the last flight will land in Vienna on March 19. Until then, flights will bring back as many passengers and crews home as possible, the company added. 

929d ago / 3:22 PM UTC

Cuomo announces drive-through testing sites, waiving park fees

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced drive-through coronavirus testing sites on Long Island, Staten Island and in Rockland County, among other measures he's taking to combat the outbreak. 

Cuomo also said at a Monday press conference that he's waiving all state park fees so that people are more encouraged to spend time outside in less densely packed areas.

In addition, Cuomo announced that at least 50 percent of state and local government employees must now work from home, and he said private businesses in the state should conduct the same practice when possible.

929d ago / 3:18 PM UTC
929d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Eerie quiet at D.C. travel hub

The Main Hall of Washington's Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, is mainly empty on Monday morning.
The Main Hall of Washington's Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, is mainly empty on Monday morning. Patrick Semansky / AP
929d ago / 3:12 PM UTC
We apologize, this video has expired.
929d ago / 3:12 PM UTC

VA records one death from coronavirus, 25 positive test results

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has administered more than 100 tests for COVID-19, and recorded four positive results, 21 presumptive positive results and one death.

The death occurred on March 14 in the Portland, Oregon, VA system. The four confirmed cases are in Palo Alto, California; Southern Nevada; Denver and Maine. Two of the patients are home quarantined and two are inpatients.

The 21 presumptive positive cases, meaning positive pending Centers for Disease Control confirmation, are in New Orleans, Denver, Portland (Oregon), Washington State, Atlanta, Fresno, Sioux Falls, San Francisco, New York City, Tucson, Vermont, Cleveland and New York’s Hudson Valley.

The VA urges “any Veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath [to] immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to call before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility.”

929d ago / 3:10 PM UTC
929d ago / 2:54 PM UTC
929d ago / 2:50 PM UTC

Supreme Court announces it will delay oral arguments

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will delay oral arguments in light of the coronavirus outbreak. That means the justices will not be in the courtroom to resume hearing oral arguments next week.

Among the high-profile cases on the schedule was the March 31 argument on President Donald Trump's efforts to shield his tax returns and other financial documents from Congress and a New York prosecutor.

929d ago / 2:48 PM UTC

N.Y., N.J. and Connecticut announce widespread closures Monday night to combat coronavirus

Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut announced in a conference call that starting Monday night at 8 p.m., all restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and casinos will be ordered closed, while no events of more than 50 people will be permitted in their states.

Bars and restaurants will still be able to provide takeout and delivery services after the 8 p.m. closure.

Cuomo told reporters on the call that they felt it necessary to agree "to a common set of rules that will pertain in all of our states" so that people wouldn't "even think about going to a neighboring state because there's going to be a different set of conditions."

Speaking at a press conference with reporters, Cuomo called on the federal government to create national guidelines so that different states aren't each doing their own measures, saying that creates the appearance that the country is in "chaos" and "out of control."

929d ago / 2:46 PM UTC

Norwegian airline temporarily lays off 7,300 staff

A European airline plans to temporarily lay off more than 7,000 staffers as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the aviation industry.

The airline, Norwegian, said in a statement Monday that around 90 percent of its workforce would be laid off for an unspecified amount of time as the majority of its flights are grounded. The airline operates mainly out of the United Kingdom and carried 6 million passengers from there last year.

“What our industry is now facing is unprecedented and critical as we are approaching a scenario where most of our airplanes will be temporarily grounded,” CEO Jacob Schram said.

“It is indeed with a heavy heart we have to temporarily lay off more than 7,300 of our colleagues, but we unfortunately have no choice. However, I want to emphasize that this is temporary, because when the world returns to normalcy my goal is to keep as many of our dedicated colleagues as possible,” Schram added.

929d ago / 2:45 PM UTC
929d ago / 2:30 PM UTC

The scene in Italy

Hospital personnel look out the window of the Gemelli hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated in Rome on Monday. 
Italy on Sunday reported its biggest day-to-day increase in infections — 3,590 more cases in a 24-hour period — for a total of almost 24,747. And 368 more deaths brought its toll to 1,809, more than a quarter of the global death toll.
Hospital personnel look out the window of the Gemelli hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated in Rome on Monday. Italy on Sunday reported its biggest day-to-day increase in infections — 3,590 more cases in a 24-hour period — for a total of almost 24,747. And 368 more deaths brought its toll to 1,809, more than a quarter of the global death toll.Cecilia Fabiano / AP
929d ago / 2:27 PM UTC

Italy to spend $28 billion on coronavirus measures

Italy's government announced Monday its plans to spend 25 billion euros ($28 billion) to tackle a growing coronavirus epidemic.

The money will allow the hiring of more doctors and nurses and provide legal and economic incentives for businesses producing medical devices.

It will also be used to boost the country's economy by placing a moratorium on both businesses and personal mortgage repayments, deferring tax and bill payments and providing economic support for all workers facing temporary layoffs.

“We were the first country to put in place 25 billion euros in support of our economic system," Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after the injection of funding was announced Monday. "This is a powerful package. We don’t think we can fight this flood with rags."

The hardest-hit country in Europe, Italy has nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,809 deaths. 

929d ago / 2:19 PM UTC

White House cancels Easter Egg Roll amid coronavirus fears

The White House has canceled its annual Easter Egg Roll as a precaution against the coronavirus, first lady Melania Trump's office announced Monday. 

“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” the first lady said in a statement. “I deeply regret this cancelation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short term to ensure a healthy country for the long term. During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”

The annual event, which officially dates back to the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878, was scheduled to take place on April 13.  

929d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

Dow now trading at same level as it was when President Trump took office

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now trading at almost the same level as it was when President Donald Trump took office.

After a brutal week for all three major averages, the Dow plunged again just minutes into Monday's trading session, falling 10 percent to around 20,600. When Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017, the Dow was at around 20,000 points.

929d ago / 2:18 PM UTC
929d ago / 2:01 PM UTC

Checking temperatures at the White House

White House Continues To Check Temperatures Of Press Members In Response To Coronavirus Spread
Workers from the White House Physician's Office check the body temperatures of people entering the White House with a forehead temperature scanner on Monday. The White House is now routinely checking the temperatures of people who may be in close contact with President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. Win McNamee / Getty Images
929d ago / 1:55 PM UTC

Wall Street plunges again, despite unprecedented crisis response package from Fed

Wall Street plunged again on Monday, despite emergency action from the Federal Reserve over the weekend to shore up the economy by infusing markets and Main Street with easier access to cash.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank by 2,200 points at the opening bell, with the S&P 500 falling by 7 percent, triggering a circuit breaker that halted all trading on the exchange floor for 15 minutes. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by around 6 percent. When trading resumed, all three major averages extended their losses.

The chaos came just over 12 hours after the Fed unleashed a series of crisis response measures, slashing rates to almost zero on Sunday night, injecting cash into Treasurys, and announcing coordinated efforts with central banks across the world to ensure liquidity as the coronavirus pandemic takes a hold on the global economy.

929d ago / 1:45 PM UTC

How Native American tribes are bracing for the coronavirus

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center, meets with other Navajo Nation officials to discuss the coronavirus crisis.Navajo Nation

The normal sound of students shuffling through the hall has been replaced by silence this week at Marty Indian School, a kindergarten to grade 12 facility on the Yankton Sioux Tribe's reservation in South Dakota.

It comes after an Indian Health Service patient in Charles Mix County, where the school and reservation are, tested positive last week for COVID-19, health officials said.

Leaders of Native American tribes across the country acknowledge that it's only a matter of time before they may be thrown into a similar situation as the Yankton Sioux, and have begun banning forms of travel and declaring a state of emergency.

Read more here.

929d ago / 1:28 PM UTC

Grocery delivery app downloads surge

Grocery delivery apps are seeing a major uptick in downloads as people turn to alternative ways to stock their pantries. Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have set records for downloads in each of the past three days, according to data from app tracking firm Apptopia

"Comparing average daily downloads in February to yesterday's (Sunday, March 15), Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have seen surges of 218%, 160%, and 124% respectively," Adam Blacker, Apptopia's vice president of insights, wrote in a blog post.

Notably, food delivery apps are not seeing a similar spike. 

"Even with the promise of non-contact delivery from these providers, people are starting to understand that consistently ordering delivery is both expensive and, quite frankly, not as safe as cooking meals within your own home," Blacker wrote.

929d ago / 1:27 PM UTC

Opinion: America's sports blackout may be just beginning

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, 2020Abbie Parr / Getty Images

The leagues and the executives of the sports world have done their best to stay calm and let us know that they will be back soon. But if you'll forgive the fatalism here, I do not believe them. I think we are in for many, many more weekends like this one, something that's even more clear in the wake of the CDC's recommendation Sunday night for no events with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

Read the full opinion piece here.

929d ago / 1:21 PM UTC

De Blasio warns outbreak could bring something like another Great Depression

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak could result in something as bad as the Great Depression.

"We have the historical playbook, and this, if you want to know what this whole thing is going to play out as, one part the Great Recession we went through a few years ago, one part the Great Depression, one part the 1918 flu epidemic," he said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," saying those are three models to use in considering how to manage the outbreak.

De Blasio said it's going to take "massive direct relief to Americans" to replace lost paychecks because of the crisis.

"We're going to have to recreate economic capacity," he said. "If you don't have money, you can't pay the rent, you can't buy food, you can't buy medicine. So, we have to understand this as a pure war footing, right down to rationing if you need it."

929d ago / 1:17 PM UTC

A Barcelona supermarket shows how Spain is getting used to the new social distance

Spain To Impose Nationwide Lockdown To Combat The Coronavirus
People keep their distance as they wait their turn at a supermarket in Barcelona, Spain, Monday.David Ramos / Getty Images
929d ago / 1:12 PM UTC

Connecticut couple spends 67th anniversary separated after nursing home visits banned

Bob Shellard held a sign outside his wife's nursing home in Stafford Springs, CT, on Saturday that read "I've loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary."

The couple had to celebrate their 67th anniversary on Saturday separated by a window because the governor temporarily banned nursing home visits due to coronavirus.

Bob used to visit his wife, Nancy, at the nursing home everyday before the new rules went into place, and told NBC Connecticut they haven't spent a single one of their 66 previous anniversaries apart.

"It makes me feel bad because I want her down with me and I know she can't be," Bob said of Nancy.

Nancy waved blew kisses to Bob from her window, according to the local affiliate.

The couple got married in their early-20s and have four children together.

"I can only hope that I have half as much as what they have shared over the years," their daughter Laura Mikolajczak said.

929d ago / 12:52 PM UTC

'Disaster waiting to happen': Cuomo warns 'major crisis' at hospitals could be weeks away

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday that he needs the U.S. military to step in and help expand hospital capacity because otherwise "this is a disaster waiting to happen." 

Cuomo said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he needs the Army Corps of Engineers to retrofit old building and dorms to create more intensive care units beds; about 80 percent of New York's hospital ICU beds are already occupied, he said. 

"My priority is turning to the hospital system, because that's where we're going to have a major crisis, and it's weeks away," said Cuomo, who added that he plans to announce additional measures Monday.

In a separate interview on "Morning Joe" after Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed that the military must get involved to create emergency ICUs all over the country. "If we don't have those medical facilities, if we don't have those ventilators and those supplies, you're going to be losing thousands and thousands of lives that could have been saved," he said. 

929d ago / 12:26 PM UTC

Another prominent political figure dies of coronavirus in Iran: state media

Iran's state media reported Monday another senior political figure has died of coronavirus.

Isna news agency said Grand Ayatollah Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani has died of COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, Sunday night. He was a member of the Assembly of Experts, a body tasked with choosing the country's supreme leader.

Iran has been one of the global hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 15,000 cases and 853 deaths. The virus has sickened and killed several members of the country's political elite.

929d ago / 12:17 PM UTC

Paris is quiet as France shuts down to curb coronavirus

Image: Public transport remains quiet in Paris
Public transport was quiet in Paris on Sunday as France shut shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities with its 67 million people told to stay at home. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images
929d ago / 12:09 PM UTC

Arnold Schwarzenegger encourages people to stay at home 'as much as possible'

929d ago / 12:09 PM UTC

Brothers donate 17,700 hoarded bottles of hand sanitizer after officials open probe

Matt and Noah Colvin went viral after a New York Times article detailed a 1,300 mile trip they took around their home state of Tennessee and neighboring Kentucky to buy 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer and thousands of packages of antibacterial wipes to sell them on Amazon for between $8 and $70.

The brothers were dragged on social media for hoarding the products necessary to fight the coronavirus, and the Tennessee Attorney General's Office opened a price gouging investigation.

Colvin stopped selling the in-demand antibacterial supplies at a markup after Amazon got wise to COVID-19-related price gouging and moved to stop it. Over the weekend, he wrote on his seller's page that he would be donating his remaining stock "to a local church and first responders."

A reporter with NBC affiliate WRCB was on the scene of one of the Colvins' at least three storage areas filled with the crucial goods as they were collected Sunday. 

Read the full story here.

929d ago / 11:57 AM UTC

'TODAY' staffer tests positive for coronavirus

A "TODAY" employee working at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, NBC News announced Monday.

"Last night we learned a colleague of ours on the Third Hour of 'TODAY' has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus," Savannah Guthrie, an anchor of the show, said. "So, out of an abundance of caution, Craig [Melvin] and Al [Roker] have taken the morning off."

The employee is experiencing mild symptoms and receiving medical care, according to an email sent from NBC News President Noah Oppenheim.

"As you know, we have been preparing for this possibility and are taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our teams," Oppenheim wrote in the email.

NBC News has identified employees in close contact with the affected employee and has asked them to self-isolate. The entire staff of the 9 a.m. editorial team was asked to work from home on Monday, according to Oppenheim's note.

"We are just trying to play exactly by the rules," Hoda Kotb, another anchor of the show, said on air. "We hope and wish they come back soon."

929d ago / 11:54 AM UTC

'Very frustrating': Impeachment attorney Daniel Goldman explains coronavirus testing ordeal

Attorney Daniel Goldman, who was counsel to House Democrats during the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, said Monday that it was "very difficult" and "very frustrating" to try to get tested for the coronavirus. 

Goldman revealed Sunday on Twitter that his test returned positive and said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he had what felt like a "medium-strength flu" for three days. He went to both urgent care and a New York hospital, both of which said they couldn't do anything for him. 

"I had not been in contact with anyone who I knew to be positive for coronavirus, and now, basically, that meant I could not get tested," said Goldman, a former MSNBC legal analyst.

Other tests, for the flu and a full viral panel, came back negative, Goldman said, and he decided to drive from New York to Connecticut last Friday to get tested for the coronavirus at a curbside clinic. After he tested positive, his wife and children had to get tested over the weekend and are awaiting the results.

Goldman said he suspected that he contracted the virus during a trip to London the previous weekend and said he did not take the threat of the illness seriously.

"I didn't take it seriously enough, but everybody really needs to take this seriously," he said. "Anybody can get it anywhere. Whatever we hear about the limited number of cases, we just don't know. There's way insufficient testing to know how many people have it."

929d ago / 11:45 AM UTC

Petition demands U.K. schools and colleges closure

An online petition to close public schools and colleges in the U.K. to help stop the spread of the coronavirus epidemic gained nearly 600,000 signatures as of Monday morning.

The petition calls on the British government close schools and colleges in the coming weeks or as soon as possible to prevent further spread.

Unlike other European nations that have already entered nationwide lockdowns, shutting down places of mass gatherings to curb the spread of the virus, the U.K. government has yet to shut down educational institutions, bars, restaurants and shops.

It’s expected to provide an update on its next steps Monday afternoon. So far, 1,391 cases of coronavirus have been identified in the U.K., including 35 deaths. 

929d ago / 11:35 AM UTC

Moscow builds temporary hospital for coronavirus patients

A temporary hospital to be used for coronavirus patients is being constructed near Moscow.

In a post on messenger app Telegram, officials with Moscow’s Coronavirus Crisis Response Center shared a video showing the construction of the hospital that the post says will have room for 500 patients. 

The video published on March 16 claims to have been taken during the second day of construction.

The hospital is being constructed along a highway leading out of the city to supplement two existing facilities that have been designated to treat coronavirus cases in Moscow.

Russia has recorded 63 coronavirus cases as of Sunday.

929d ago / 11:07 AM UTC

Wuhan doctors warn Western counterparts over COVID-19

929d ago / 11:01 AM UTC

929d ago / 10:58 AM UTC

European airline Ryanair to ground majority of fleet

Ryanair, the massive Irish budget airline, announced on Monday it will ground the majority of its fleet across Europe over the next seven to 10 days due to coronavirus.

The airline said in a stock market announcement Monday it expects to reduce its seat capacity by up to 80 percent in April and May, and a "full grounding" of its fleet is possible.

"At the Ryanair Group Airlines, we are doing everything we can to meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has over the last week caused extraordinary and unprecedented travel restrictions to be imposed by National Governments, in many cases with minimal or zero notice," CEO Michael O'Leary said in a statement.

The company cited flight bans of varying degrees enacted in the past week in Italy, France, Morocco, Spain, Denmark, and other countries as part of the reason for its decision. Poland and Norway banned all international flights over the weekend, while others have banned flights from highly infected countries.

929d ago / 10:36 AM UTC

Italy expects more than 90,000 people to get sick with coronavirus by end of April

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Image: An empty Saint Mark's square in Venice on Sunday with an unprecedented lock down across of all Italy imposed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus
An empty Saint Mark's square in Venice on Sunday. Dylan Martinez / Reuters

The Italian government anticipates more than 90,000 people to get sick with coronavirus by the end of April.

It estimates 360,000 will be quarantined, adding that March 18 could be the peak of the contagion.

“We are facing a never known emergency since the end of Second World War," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an interview to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Monday.

“Scientists are telling us that we have not peaked yet, these weeks are the most important and we need  to urge caution. We must never lower our guard," Conte added. 

As of Sunday, Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, has confirmed 24,747 cases of coronavirus.

More than 1,800 people have died of the virus, the most outside mainland China, where the virus is believed to have originated. 

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Germany imposes border controls over coronavirus

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Germany has reintroduced border controls with France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark Monday, only allowing goods and cross-border commuters through, to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

The country is facing an aggressive progression of the illness, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Sunday, adding that the virus was progressing “rapidly and aggressively” and that “we must assume that the peak of this development has not yet been reached.”

Germany has confirmed more than 4,800 cases and 12 deaths. 

930d ago / 9:45 AM UTC

Australian casinos turn off half of poker machines in “social distancing” measure

Australia’s two biggest casino companies said they would shut off half their poker machines to force gamblers to engage in “social distancing” and slow the spread of the coronavirus as concerns about their future revenue sent shares tumbling.

The measures show the pressure on the tourism sector to keep operating amid a widespread shutdown of entertainment and sporting events as authorities limit public gatherings to curtail the spread of the illness.

Melbourne-based Crown Resorts and Sydney rival Star Entertainment Group said they would keep gamblers apart by switching off every second electronic machine, and restrict the number of players at gambling tables.

Crown said its “social distancing policy” was approved by the chief health officer of Victoria state, while Star said its measures were in line with Federal Government policy.

930d ago / 9:10 AM UTC

Pope Francis walks through empty Rome, prays for pandemic to end

Image: Pope Francis walks in a deserted Rome to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic, in Rome
Pope Francis walks in a deserted Rome to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday. Vatican Media / Reuters

Pope Francis left the Vatican to walk over to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome on Sunday through empty streets as Italy remained under strict quarantine to ward off a growing coronavirus outbreak. 

The Holy See said the Pope prayed for the Virgin Mary, then walked along one of Rome’s main streets to the Church of San Marcello al Corso, near the Spanish Steps, where he prayed for the pandemic to end. 

The church contains a crucifix which was carried around Rome during a procession to invoke the end of the great plague in 1522, the Holy See said. 

A Vatican picture showed the pope and a small security detail walking on an empty Via del Corso, which is usually packed with shoppers and people taking strolls on Sunday.

All Papal Easter services in April will be held without the faithful attending due to coronavirus. 

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National Security Council says 'no national lockdown'

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Peace Corps suspends global operations

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L.A. mayor on restaurants, bars and gyms

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Washington governor orders restaurants takeout, delivery only

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that he will temporarily limit restaurants to take-out and delivery services and close entertainment venues and recreational facilities across the state.

The emergency proclamation, which aims to stem the spread of coronavirus, will go into effect Monday, he said.

Inslee also prohibited gatherings with more than 50 people unless they’ve met social distancing and public health guidelines.

“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease,” Inslee said. “I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges.”

930d ago / 2:10 AM UTC

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to close theaters, limit restaurants to takeout

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday ordered the temporary closing of movie theaters, nightclubs and concert venues.

In an executive order that will go into effect on Tuesday morning, de Blasio also said restaurants, bars and cafes will be limited to takeout orders and deliveries.

“The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together,” de Blasio said. “We have to break that cycle.”