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

Here are the latest updates from around the world.

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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.

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.

Live Blog

Pink eye may be a rare symptom

The new coronavirus can spread through the eyes, prompting the world’s largest association of eye doctors to urge its members to be aware of the warning signs in patients.

The pathogen may cause pink eye, or conjunctivitis — inflammation of the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye — in about 1-3 percent of infected people, the American Academy of Ophthalmology said in an updated alert Tuesday.

Virus particles have been found in eye secretions, it previously warned, but a study published Wednesday suggests the risk of virus transmission through tears is low.

Read more

1 million in California file for unemployment as state feels economic hit of coronavirus

One million Californians filed unemployment claims this month, as America's most populous state braces for an economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

In addition to the unemployment data, Gov. Gavin Newsom also revealed that:

  • At least 2,535 Californians have tested positive for the deadly virus, up 17 percent from 24 hours ago;
  • Those positive cases include 37 people who are 17 or younger;
  • At least  66,800 tests have been conducted so far in the state;
  • While the elderly are particularly vulnerable, about 51 percent of those California cases are of people between the ages of 18 and 49;
  • The coronavirus has taken the lives of 53 Californians, as of Wednesday morning.
  • Four of the state's five biggest banks, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citibank and Chase, have all agreed to 90-day mortgage waivers - and Bank of America 30 days - for borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. 

Netanyahu says Israel may have to 'impose a complete lockdown'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that the government may have to "impose a complete lockdown, except for essential needs such as food and medicines." 

The longtime leader of Israel said that the country had already taken drastic steps, but that the confirmed number of coronavirus cases was doubling every three days. It was not clear what a complete lockdown would mean for Israel. 

"In two weeks we are liable to find ourselves with thousands of patients many of whom will be in danger of death," Netanyahu said. 

As of Wednesday, Israel had 2,030 confirmed cases and five deaths. 

Dow closes with modest gains, after whiplash day digesting fiscal stimulus package

Wall Street's mini-rally lost steam Wednesday, as negotiations for the $2 trillion stimulus package that seemed a done deal shuddered to a halt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had gained 1,200 points earlier in the day, tumbled in the last few minutes of trading after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he would “put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund.”

The S&P 500 ended the day up by just over 1 percent and the Nasdaq was down by almost 0.5 percent.

Aid groups ‘race against the clock’ to prevent COVID-19 outbreak in refugee camps

For the world’s most vulnerable communities -- from the Greek island of Lesvos to Jordan’s refugee camps -- aid groups like the Norwegian Refugee Council are sounding the alarm on insufficient resources.

“We’re now in a frantic race against the clock and against the pandemic to try to get a minimum of water and sanitation and decongestion, shelter to the most vulnerable groups before it is too late,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General for the Norwegian Refugee Council, in Oslo, whose organization serves nine million displaced people globally.

From supplies like water and sanitation material to following basic precautionary measures like hand washing in overcrowded areas, these groups are urging governments to step in and help before the 25 million refugees and more than 70 million displaced people worldwide are affected. 

“Even things like dispensing hand sanitizer, there’s simply not enough,” Katie Muirhead, who heads a medical non-governmental organization and serves refugees on Greece’s island of Lesvos, told NBC News. “Unless we can find somewhere we can donate…and how long would that last anyway? That’s sort of a band aid solution.”

Minnesota orders its citizens to stay home

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday ordered the 5.6 million residents Minnesota — other than those performing essential services — to stay home in the state's ongoing battle against coronavirus.

"We must take bold action to save the lives of Minnesotans," he said in a statement. "As a former Command Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard, I believe in having a plan — which is why I’m directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit their movements to essential services." 

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 287 confirmed cases and at least 1 death due to coronavirus. Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said that her husband has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

More than 140 nursing homes have reported coronavirus cases. Federal officials won’t say which ones. [The Washington Post]

Newest shortage in New York: The city is running out of dogs to foster [Bloomberg]

How Ford is using seat ventilation fans to build thousands of respirators [Road and Track]

Photo: Drive-by birthday celebration

Dana Baer, right, and her son, Jacob, wish Avery Slutsky a happy birthday during a drive-by birthday celebration to maintain social distancing in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., on Tuesday.Emily Elconin / Reuters

Apple chief says company has sourced 10M masks