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Angela Merkel quarantined, Rand Paul tests positive, Ohio on lockdown

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: The nearly empty 42nd Street in New York on March 22, 2020.
The nearly empty 42nd Street in New York on March 22, 2020.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The number of global coronavirus cases surged past 300,000 on Sunday, with more than 13,000 deaths worldwide, according to John Hopkins University, which reported that China, Italy and the U.S. had the most people diagnosed with the respiratory illness.

The news came as the number of Americans under virtual lockdown grew to over 80 million on Saturday, and Ohio issued new shelter-in-place orders.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is herself in quarantine after a doctor who treated her tested positive for coronavirus, her press office announced Sunday.

And Sen. Rand Paul became the first known U.S. Senator to test positive for coronavirus.

“He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events,“ the senator’s Twitter account said on Sunday.

Elsewhere, China ended a three-day streak of reporting no new coronavirus cases after 46 people tested positive positive for COVID-19. On the same day, China's National Health Commission also reported six new deaths. Five of the deaths occurred in Wuhan in Hubei province, where the outbreak originated late last year.

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Pelosi on coronavirus relief plan: Democrats will "be introducing our own bill’

Top Democrats said Sunday they're not yet ready to sign off on the major coronavirus stimulus package — and will be preparing their own legislation — as Congress attempts to ready the bill for passage as soon as Monday.

Just prior to an 11 a.m. meeting between the top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters "from my standpoint, we are apart."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters ahead of the meeting that "we need a bill that puts workers first, not corporations" and declined to say whether he supports the current bill.

Read the full story here.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in quarantine after her doctor tests positive

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference in Berlin on March 22, 2020.Michael Kappeler / Pool via AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after a doctor who treated her tested positive for coronavirus, her press office announced Sunday. 

The doctor had given her a vaccination on Friday afternoon and has since tested positive for the coronavirus, her office said. She will continue to perform her official duties from her home during her self-quarantine. 

"She will be tested regularly over the next few days because a test would not yet be fully meaningful," her office said.

The announcement comes just as Germany announced stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including the shut down of nonessential businesses. 

Among the new policies is one that states people will only be allowed out in public alone, with members of the same family or with only one other person not of the same residence. Police will also be permitted to intervene in any public parties or similar activities that go against the social distancing advice of medical professionals. 

Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday became the first known senator to test positive for coronavirus. "Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19," Paul's account tweeted. "He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person."

"He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time," the thread continued. "Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul."

Paul is the third member of Congress to announce a positive test for coronavirus, following Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah.

Read the full story here. 

At least 23 die in Colombia prison violence as inmates riot over coronavirus fears

BOGOTA, Colombia — Authorities in Colombia said Sunday that 23 prisoners died and another 83 were injured in a riot and attempted escape over poor conditions inmates argue will help spread the new coronavirus.

The violence happened overnight at the La Modelo jail in Bogota — where all of the deaths occurred — along with several other penitentiaries. Officials said seven workers were injured, two of them in critical condition.

Relatives gathered outside the jail Sunday wearing masks and clamoring for information. Videos shared by inmates online showed fires inside several jails, prisoners outside their cells and inmates complaining of conditions.

Colombia has confirmed 231 coronavirus cases. Authorities say none are in jails.

School closures skyrocket, nearly 54 million students sent home

WASHINGTON — Beyond the health effects and the impact on the economy, the coronavirus has created a long tail of impacts in the United States and the world, and one of the biggest impacts has come in education. The number of K-12 school closures has skyrocketed in the last few weeks with a great deal of uncertainty about when the virus may be tamed and when normal school days will resume.

The affected areas range from classroom instruction to meals for lower-income children and they are spread far and wide around the country.

As of Friday evening, 45 states and Washington D.C. had closed schools for at least several weeks. The state of Kansas went further and closed schools for the rest of the academic year. The last day of school there was slated for May 15. And these closures have come remarkably fast, the first state to close its schools was Ohio, only 10 days ago.

Currently, there are five states that have not closed all schools: Idaho, Iowa, Maine Nebraska and Wyoming – and even in those states, the majority of schools are shuttered.

Read the full story here. 

Nearly a billion people now confined to their homes

Richard Engel reports on the latest about the coronavirus pandemic, including an AFP report that estimates nearly a billion people are now on lockdown in their homes. 

Photo: The scene in New Delhi

A man wearing a mask rides a motorcycle on a deserted road in New Delhi, India, on Sunday. The Indian government has placed dozens of districts with confirmed coronavirus cases on lockdown until March 31. Yawar Nazir / Getty Images

Grandson, grandfather meet for first time through glass due to coronavirus concerns

It was an unusual meeting for three generations of one family in Ireland amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A photo posted on Twitter showed baby Faolán, held by his father Micheal Gallachoir, meeting his granddad for the first time through the glass of a window to observe social distancing rules. 

Faolán was born on March 14. His mother, Emma, went into labor on Friday morning, which was the first day of a semi-lockdown in Ireland, Gallachoir told NBC News. 

The family was told by the hospital to not come into contact with anyone and not have any visitors to avoid spreading the virus. The grandfather arrived on Saturday to see his first grandchild, but could only meet him through the window. z

Ireland has confirmed 785 coronavirus cases and three deaths so far. 

38 people test positive for coronavirus in New York City jails

At least 38 people tested positive for coronavirus in New York City's jails, according to the Associated Press.

“It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman said in a letter seen by AP.

Sherman warned cases could soon skyrocket for this reason.

Many of the cases are at the Riker's Island Jail and nearby facilities, according to AP. Among the 38 who tested positive, 21 of them are in custody, 12 are Department of Correction employees and five are Correctional Health Services employees.

Dozens of people are currently being monitored in the prison's quarantine units, Sherman said.

The news comes as New York City alone had 6,211 cases as of Saturday, and the state is seeing a 15 percent hospitalization rate among coronavirus cases.

NYC Mayor: If Trump doesn't act, 'people will die who could have lived otherwise'

WASHINGTON — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sharply criticized President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic Sunday, arguing that the federal government has not done enough to ramp up production of life-saving medical supplies like masks and ventilators and asking the president to deploy the military across the country to help with the public-health crisis.

“The president of the United States is from New York City and he will not lift a finger to help his hometown and I don’t get it. I don’t get it. Right now, I have asked repeatedly for the military to be mobilized, for the Defense Production Act to be used to its fullest to get us things like ventilators, so people can live who would die otherwise,” de Blasio said Sunday on a special edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Read the full story here. 

Spain reports 394 new coronavirus deaths bringing the total to 1,720

Spain has reported 394 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 1,720, country's health officials said Sunday. 

Spain has so far confirmed 28,572 coronavirus cases, of which 1,785 require intensive care. 

The country is grappling with Europe’s second-worst coronavirus outbreak after Italy.