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Senate, White House reach deal on $2 trillion stimulus plan

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With roughly a third of the world under some form of lockdown, the White House and Senate leaders reached agreement on a landmark $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the economic impact of coronavirus.

The White House coronavirus coordinator asked people who have recently been in New York, where the death toll continues to climb, to quarantine themselves for 14 days, because they may have been exposed before leaving.

President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, has warned that the U.S. could become the pandemic's new epicenter.

And as the number of cases in the U.K. reached 8,000 on Wednesday, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, was confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus.

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CORRECTION (March 25, 2020, 12:45 p.m. ET): An earlier version of the headline on this article misstated the status of the federal stimulus plan. The White House and Senate leaders have reached a deal, but the Senate has not yet passed the stimulus plan.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 26 Coronavirus news.

Live Blog

British parliament set to close for at least four weeks on Wednesday

A woman walks opposite the Houses of Parliament, by the River Thames, on Wednesday as the spread of coronavirus continues.Hannah Mckay / Reuters

Britain’s parliament is set to close and suspend sitting for at least four weeks starting Wednesday as part of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Parliament was due to close for a three-week Easter break on March 31, but a motion on Wednesday has proposed that the closure begins a week earlier as fears grow that politicians and staff are being put at risk by continuing to work.

The iconic Palace of Westminster, sitting along the River Thames in central London, had already closed to visitors and reduced the number of lawmakers present with those inside spacing out along benches in accordance with social distancing rules.

Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus, his royal household said Wednesday.

The Prince of Wales, 71, who is first in line to the British throne, is experiencing mild symptoms "but otherwise remains in good health," Clarence House said in a statement.

“It is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks," the statement added. 

Charles, the eldest son of 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, is now self-isolating and working from home at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland. His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative for the virus. 

Read the full story here.  

Iran records more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases

Iran’s health ministry reported 2,026 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to more than 27,000. 

The total number of deaths has also gone up by 143 in the last 24 hours to 2,077, the ministry added. 

Iran has been one of the global hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic, where the virus has sickened and killed several members of the country's political elite.

Richard Engel daily report: A third of the world is now under lockdown

The Great Wall of China partially reopens: state media

The Great Wall of China partially reopened Tuesday after being closed for nearly two months due to the coronavirus outbreak, state media reported. 

China's television network CCTV said the famous Badaling section will be open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time, with a daily cap on visitors. Other sections of the wall remain closed, and security guards will remind visitors to distance from each other.

Visitors will also have their temperatures taken upon entry, CCTV said. 

Meanwhile, mainland China registered 47 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, all imported— down from 78 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

U.S. could be next 'virus epicenter': WHO

The United States could become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with cases there growing quickly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. 

“We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

The U.S. has so far recorded 54,810 coronavirus cases, including 781 deaths. 

Britain seeking 250,000 volunteers to help coronavirus response

Britain is “rallying the troops” for the war on coronavirus and seeking 250,000 volunteers to help out in its response to the epidemic as the number of deaths reached 422 Tuesday. 

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the National Health Service is looking for people in good health to help with shopping and medicine delivery for approximately 1.5 million who are “shielding” and are recommended to stay at home for 12 weeks due to serious underlying health conditions.

The volunteers will also be asked to help drive patients to and from hospital appointments, and to call people isolating at home to check up on them.

The U.K. went into full lockdown for at least three weeks Monday, announcing tougher restrictions.

9,000 Americans returned home amid coronavirus pandemic

U.S. citizens and residents board a bus before getting on a plane back to the United States on Monday after Peru imposed a travel ban to stop the spread of coronavirus. Sebastian Castaneda / Reuters

More than 9,000 Americans from 28 countries have returned to the United States as more countries impose travel bans and close their borders amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.

The U.S. is "rising to meet the historic challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," working to bring home citizens from every corner of the globe, a department spokesperson said in a statement, adding that thousands more Americans will be brought home in the coming days. 

The department has never undertaken an evacuation operation of such geographic breadth, scale, and complexity, the statement said. 

Evacuations have included more than 800 people from Wuhan in China, where the outbreak is believed to have originated, earlier this year and about 1,000 Americans from Morocco earlier this month. 

Coronavirus cases climb in South Africa

A customer pushes two shopping carts filled with food while shopping in Pretoria East, South Africa on Tuesday. Phill Makagoe / AFP - Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa has jumped to 709 from 554, the country's health minister Zweli Mkhize told a local news channel on Wednesday.

South Africa now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in sub-Saharan Africa, and public health experts are worried that the virus could overwhelm the healthcare system.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day lockdown that will begin Thursday.

Ramaphosa also introduced some of the toughest measures on the continent, including deploying the army in the streets, closing mining operations and confining recently arrived tourists. 

Weddings delayed due to coronavirus

Companies seek epidemic insurance as coronavirus affects events

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed Tuesday, making the games the biggest global event to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the disease continues to spread, many companies and organizations have had to cancel or postpone major events around the world. That has led to increased interest in epidemic insurance.

"We definitely do see rising demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak," said Axel Rakette, a spokesperson for insurer Munich Re. "But it's not a common product — yet."

Events typically are protected by insurance policies in the event of cancellations. But most standard policies don't cover cancellations caused by communicable diseases and outbreaks. Insurers offer restricted coverage for epidemics or pandemics as a buy-back, which means a higher premium, so most companies don't opt to purchase it.

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