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

Here are the latest updates from around the world.

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.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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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.

918d ago / 12:50 PM UTC

Shoppers in India embrace social distancing amid world's largest lockdown

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Shoppers in India's Gujurat state were waiting in circles to maintain social distancing as the country began the world's largest lockdown on Wednesday. 

More than 1.3 billion people, or nearly one-fifth of the world's population, have been told to stay inside. 

“To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday night, acknowledging that the 21-day lockdown would be a major blow to the economy but saying that the alternative could set the country back 21 years.

918d ago / 12:32 PM UTC

Coronavirus misinformation makes neutrality a distant memory for tech companies

Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
A passenger wearing a surgical mask uses his iPhone on New York City subway on Wednesday, March 18. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

Open up Instagram these days and you might be bombarded with calls to "Stay Home." On YouTube, you may see a link to a government website about the coronavirus. Or go to Twitter and try to find the phrase "social distancing is not effective." It might be there, but probably not for long — because Twitter has banned the phrase as harmful.

A few years ago, these kinds of warnings and filters would have been hard to imagine. Most major consumer technology platforms embraced the idea that they were neutral players, leaving the flow of information up to users.

Now, facing the prospect that hoaxes or misinformation could worsen a global pandemic, tech platforms are taking control of the information ecosystem like never before. 

Read the full story here.

918d ago / 12:13 PM UTC

Coronavirus confessions: share your anonymous stories

In time of social distancing, self-isolation and quarantining, NBC News would like to hear from our readers about their experience with COVID-19. 

Our readers can submit their own stories about childcare, family, dating, work and more during the pandemic. 

Check out some confessions and share your own here

918d ago / 11:55 AM UTC
918d ago / 11:51 AM UTC

Spain's death toll surpasses China

A Spanish soldier stands next to beds set up at a temporary hospital in Barcelona on Wednesday.
A Spanish soldier stands next to beds set up at a temporary hospital in Barcelona on Wednesday.Pau Barrena / AFP via Getty Images

Spain has surpassed China in nationwide deaths from coronavirus and is now second only to Italy, according to numbers released by the government on Wednesday. 

The country's health officials reported 738 new deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 3,434.

The outbreak began in China, which on Wednesday reported a total of 3,281 deaths. Italy, Europe's hardest-hit country and the pandemic's current epicenter, has reported 6,820. 

918d ago / 11:40 AM UTC
918d ago / 11:37 AM UTC

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns says his mom is in a coma because of coronavirus

Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl-Anthony Towns says his mom is in a medically-induced coma because of coronavirus.

The NBA star announced on social media his mom has been suffering from a high fever, a cough and was having trouble breathing. She was put on a ventilator before being placed in a coma.

Towns encouraged his fans to take the outbreak seriously and said he made the video so "people understand the severity" of the outbreak.

"This disease needs to not be taken lightly. Please protect your family, your loved ones, your friends, yourself, practice social distancing, please don't be in places with a lot of people," he said.

"We're gonna keep fighting," Towns said. "We are gonna beat it, we are gonna win. I hope my story helps."

918d ago / 11:24 AM UTC

U.S. hospitals brace for unprecedented shortage of nurses

As hospitals around the United States prepare for a surge of tens of thousands of coronavirus patients, they are trying to fill thousands of "crisis" nursing jobs, particularly intensive care unit and emergency room positions.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, several U.S. states were experiencing nursing shortages, and without a dramatic increase in staffing, hospital administrators and advocates fear the health care system will not be able to handle the demand.

“The American Nurses Association is concerned about the pending shortage of nurses to care for COVID-19 patients," said Ernest Grant, the group's present, in a statement to NBC News. "It is critical that healthcare facilities and the federal government do all they can to protect this essential workforce.”

Read the full story here. 

918d ago / 11:21 AM UTC

Jackson Browne says he tested positive

Image: Singer Jackson Browne performs onstage at the 33rd Annual TEC Awards during NAMM Show 2018 at the Hilton Anaheim
Singer Jackson Browne performs in Anaheim, California on Jan. 27, 2018. Jesse Grant / Getty Images file

Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne says he has tested positive for coronavirus.

The 71-year-old singer, whose hits include "The Pretender" and "Doctor My Eyes," told Rolling Stone that he got tested after he began feeling ill recently. He said he believes he might have gotten infected during a recent trip to New York for the annual Love Rocks NYC benefit, which was held March 12. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee said his symptoms are mild, and he is self-quarantining at home. He urged younger people to take part in the global response to stop the spread of the virus. "That means not going anywhere, not getting into contact with anybody, not seeing anybody.”

918d ago / 11:04 AM UTC

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

Image: A woman walks opposite the Houses of Parliament, by the River Thames, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. London,
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.

918d ago / 10:55 AM UTC

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.  

918d ago / 10:46 AM UTC

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.

918d ago / 10:12 AM UTC

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

918d ago / 10:00 AM UTC

The Great Wall of China partially reopens: state media

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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.

918d ago / 9:22 AM UTC

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. 

918d ago / 9:20 AM UTC

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.

918d ago / 8:56 AM UTC

9,000 Americans returned home amid coronavirus pandemic

Image: U.S. citizens and residents board a bus before getting on a plane back to the United States after Peru imposed a travel ban to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Lima
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. 

918d ago / 8:24 AM UTC

Coronavirus cases climb in South Africa

Image: A customer pushes two shopping carts filled with food while shopping at Makro in Pretoria East, 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. 

918d ago / 8:01 AM UTC

Weddings delayed due to coronavirus

918d ago / 8:00 AM UTC

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.

Read the full story here.

918d ago / 6:04 AM UTC

How countries around the world are working to flatten the curve

918d ago / 5:58 AM UTC

Senate agrees to $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill

WASHINGTON — The White House and Senate leaders reached an agreement early Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.

“At last, we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday. "In effect, this is a war-time investment."

Although the full text of the bill is not yet known, lawmakers indicated on Tuesday that the Republican’s initial proposal for direct cash payments would be included.

Read the full story here. 

918d ago / 5:01 AM UTC

Brazil president says coronavirus is overblown

RIO DE JANEIRO — President Jair Bolsonaro is sticking with his contention that concern about the new coronavirus is overblown and has accused Brazilian media of trying to stoke nationwide hysteria.

Bolsonaro said in a nationally televised address that the media had seized on the death toll in Italy, which he said is suffering so severely because of its elderly population and colder climate.

“The virus arrived, we are confronting it, and it will pass shortly," he said. "Our lives have to continue, jobs should be maintained.”

Bolsonaro added that certain Brazilian states should abandon their “scorched earth” policy of prohibiting public transport, closing business and schools, and calling for mass confinement at home for their residents.

About 2,200 people in Brazil have been infected so far, with 46 dead.

918d ago / 4:38 AM UTC

Trump approves disaster declarations for Louisiana, Iowa

President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved disaster declarations for the states of Iowa and Louisiana, the White House said.

The approvals follow declarations for New York, California and Washington state. Emergency declarations allow federal aid. Those three states have some of the highest number of cases in the country.

Iowa has 124 cases and reported its first death associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday. Louisiana has more than 1,300 cases and 46 deaths, according to its state health department.

918d ago / 4:30 AM UTC

Video diaries around the world: What it's like living in quarantine

918d ago / 4:18 AM UTC

Key medical glove factories cutting staff 50 percent

Malaysia’s medical glove factories, which make most of the world’s critical hand protection, are operating at half capacity just when they’re most needed, The Associated Press has learned.

Health care workers snap gloves on as the first line of protection against catching COVID-19 from patients, and they’re crucial to protecting patients as well. But medical-grade glove supplies are running low globally, even as more feverish, sweating and coughing patients arrive in hospitals by the day.

Malaysia is by far the world’s largest medical glove supplier, producing as many as three out of four gloves on market. 

The Malaysian government ordered factories to halt all manufacturing starting March 18. Then, one by one, those that make products deemed essential, including medical gloves, have been required to seek exemptions to reopen, but only with half of their workforce to reduce the risk of transmitting the new virus, according to industry reports and insider sources. The government says companies must meet domestic demand before exporting anything. The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association this week is asking for an exception.