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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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Stop nonessential social contact, U.K. PM tells Britons

Brits need to stop nonessential social contact and avoid clubs, pubs, theaters and all unnecessary travel as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday.

"Now is the time for everyone to stop nonessential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel," Johnson said at a news conference from Downing Street.

He said anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus should isolate themselves along with their entire household for 14 days. Working at home, he said, should begin in earnest. "We need people to start working from home where they possibly can," Johnson said. 

"It looks as though we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve, and without drastic action cases could double every five or six days," Johnson said.

Canada closing its borders to noncitizens

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will be closing its borders to noncitizens.

Trudeau said there will be exceptions for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and, notably, U.S. citizens. Trudeau implied the U.S. citizens exception could change, and said the order does not apply to permanent residents of Canada.

Canada has 339 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Monday, and one reported death.

Trudeau's announcement comes after many European nations enacted similar policies over the weekend to stem the spread of the virus. 

Lone GOP congressman delays House coronavirus relief bill from moving to Senate

WASHINGTON — Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is holding up the House-passed coronavirus relief bill and preventing it from being delivered to the Senate for a vote.

The House was expected to make technical corrections Monday to the bipartisan measure, passed by the House early Saturday, but Gohmert is insisting on reading them, a Democratic leadership aide confirmed to NBC News on Monday.

The technical corrections package has not yet been finalized and the House wants to pass it by unanimous consent because the House is on recess this week.

If one member stands in opposition, the House can’t send the bill to the Senate without bringing the entire House back from their districts to Washington for a vote. The Senate is currently in session this week, but schedules have been fluid because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more here.

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

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

The scene in Wuhan

Medical staff wave goodbye to a patient who recovered from coronavirus at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China, on Monday.AFP - Getty Images

'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.

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.”

Amid crisis, NYC mayor commutes to the gym

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.

School lunches for delivery

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

 

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.

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.