The United Kingdom went into lockdown Monday as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has infected more than 5,000 people and killed hundreds in his country.
More American states did the same, too. Officials in Louisiana, New Mexico, Washington and West Virginia issued stay-at-home orders. “Right now, every time you leave your house, you are putting yourself, your family and your community at risk,” New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
Team USA's Olympic and Paralympic Committee called for the International Olympic Committee Summer Games in Tokyo.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 24 Coronavirus news.
Rush hour traffic in Los Angeles is down by as much as 87 percent
Cities are seeing dramatic declines in traffic, as more and more states implement lockdowns. Rush hour traffic in Los Angeles is down by as much as 87 percent.
In the New York City region, Monday morning traffic fell by 52 percent, after tumbling as much as 86 percent last Friday, according to location tracking company TomTom.
Even cities not yet hit hard by the pandemic are seeing larger declines. Baton Rouge traffic is down by as much as 32 percent, and Nashville by 44 percent.
For those still on the road, less traffic has allowed a big increase in speeds, especially during rush hour, according to Inrix, another tracking service.
Total number of confirmed deaths in England reaches 303
An additional 46 people who tested positive for the coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in England to 303.
World Health Organization says 300K+ cases reported
'Sesame Street' tries to lift spirits
German leader Angela Merkel tests negative
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has tested negative for the coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the government press office confirmed.
Merkel will continue to work from home quarantine in order to protect others as she awaits further tests in the next few days, the spokeswoman added.
3 therapy trials to begin in New York this week
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will begin three studies of potential treatments for the coronavirus this week.
One of those experimental therapies will involve taking antibodies from the plasma of patients who had been sick with COVID-19, and injecting them into patients who are currently ill.
Researchers will also study the safety and effectiveness of combining two drugs already approved for other conditions: hydroxychloroquine, often used to treat lupus and some forms of arthritis, and the antibiotic azithromycin, more commonly called a Z-Pak.
Cuomo also announced the state is working on blood test to determine whether a person has already had the virus and recovered.
"We believe thousands and thousands of people have had the virus and self-resolved. If you knew that, you would know who is now immune to the virus and who you can send back to work," the governor said during a briefing Monday.
Biden warns against 'blank checks' for corporations in coronavirus stimulus
Joe Biden, in the first live appearance he's made in days, told supporters Monday that while President Donald Trump is not to blame for coronavirus, he “does bear responsibility for our response.”
In a virtual event livestreamed on his campaign website, Biden, who in recent days had held only telephone calls with reporters, called on the federal government to coordinate the acquisition and dissemination of critical medical supplies to states "so we don't have governors competing against one another" for the equipment. That call echoed one made by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Biden also praised several Republican governors for how they were handling their states' response to the pandemic — including Ohio's Mike DeWine, Massachusetts' Charlie Baker and Maryland's Larry Hogan — before calling on Congress to make sure the aid packages for large corporations include "an enforceable commitment that they will keep workers on the payroll."
"No blank checks," Biden said.
Coronavirus cases reach more than 20,000 in New York
The number of coronavirus cases in New York state has grown to more than 20,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
There were 20,875 cases statewide as of Monday morning, with 12,305 in New York City, Cuomo said during a news conference. The governor said New York was testing more people than anywhere in the U.S., having tested some 78,000 people in all, with 16,000 new tests overnight.
Michigan governor signs 'stay home, stay safe' order
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed a "stay home, stay safe" executive order to tame the spread of coronavirus.
The order provides exemptions for certain workers, as well as outdoor exercise and visits to the grocery store or hospital. It will bar businesses from requiring employees to leave their homes unless they are necessary to sustain or protect life, or to conduct minimum basic operations.
"The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives," Whitmer said in a statement.
Italian mayor says coronavirus death toll probably several times higher than official reports
The mayor of Bergamo, a city in northern Italy devastated by coronavirus, said on Monday that the actual death toll from the pandemic is likely several times higher than official count.
Giorgio Gori told NBC News on Monday that the total deaths in Bergamo are three to four times higher than during an average year, signaling that the virus is killing many more people than medical authorities have reported.
"We [have] evidence now in our territories that many people are unfortunately dying in their homes or in the residence for [seniors]," Gori said via Skype. "They are not officially tested because the test is only for people that go to the hospital with serious symptoms."
Bergamo is in Lombardy, Italy's most affected region with 27,206 cases and 3,456 deaths reported since the outbreak began.
88-year-old Holocaust survivor is Israel’s first coronavirus death
Arie Even died on March 20 in Jerusalem after the assisted living home where he was living saw several cases of the coronavirus, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issues stay-at-home guidance
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday issued a stay-at-home advisory and ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.
Residents above the age of 70 are encouraged to limit interactions with others, Baker said.
"Effective March 24 at noon, all non-essential businesses shall close their physical workplaces and facilities to all workers, customers and the public," Baker said at a morning news conference.
The advisory and order will be in effect through at least April 7.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses that provide essential goods and services will continue to operate.
Italian medical worker shares selfie after a 13-hour shift
"I don't love selfies," Nicola Sgarbi wrote on his now viral March 14 Facebook post. "Yesterday, though, I took this photo. After 13 hours in ICU after taking off all my protective devices, I took a selfie."
The Italian medical worker's picture has helped drive home just how much the coronavirus outbreak has strained Italy's health care system.
In the photo, Sgarbi is seen with deep indents on his face from wearing medical gear for an extended period of time.
He said he doesn't "feel like a hero" and described himself as a "normal person" who is proud to be on the front lines of the fight. "That's why I don't care about the many hours," Sgarbi said. "This will all pass."
Italy has 53,578 cases of coronavirus and 4,285 deaths as of Sunday, according to an NBC News tally.
"It will also pass thanks to you and your hard work and sacrifices. It will pass if we are united in one immense joint effort," Sgarbi wrote. "Don't give up. Never."
Amy Klobuchar says her husband has coronavirus
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Monday morning that her husband, law professor John Bessler, has coronavirus.
"While I cannot see him and he is of course cut off from all visitors, our daughter Abigail and I are constantly calling and texting and emailing," Klobuchar said in a statement on Medium. "We love him very much and pray for his recovery. He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person."
Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert experiencing 'loss of smell and taste'
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is recovering from the coronavirus, said he is experiencing "loss of smell and taste."
"Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven't been able to smell anything for the last 4 days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?" Gobert posted on his Twitter account Sunday afternoon.
Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 on March 11, prompting the league to suspend its regular season indefinitely.
His teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive on March 12.
With no stimulus bill in sight, markets continue their slide
Wall Street turned briefly positive Monday morning after a new round of emergency action from the Federal Reserve, before sinking into the red again.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a loss of around 350 points, with the S&P 500 down by around 2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lower by 1.25 percent.
With traders laser focused on the stimulus plan that is currently stalled on Capitol Hill, stocks slid despite “extensive new measures to support the economy” announced by the Federal Reserve.
"We need to get this thing passed today," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.
Pompeo: Iran supreme leader's 'fabrications' about coronavirus put lives at risk
Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s "fabrications" about the coronavirus are dangerous and put the lives of Iranians and people around the world at greater risk, the U.S. State Department said Monday. The comment came after Khamenei characterized the U.S. offer to help Iran fight coronavirus as strange, describing U.S. leaders as “charlatans and liars."
In a statement released Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Iranian regime of ignoring repeated warnings from its own health officials, and denying its first death from the coronavirus for at least nine days. More than 1,800 people have died from the virus in Iran so far, with the total number of cases now over 23,000.
"The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths, which are unfortunately far higher than the regime admits," Pompeo said.
He also added that the United States has offered over $100 million in medical assistance to foreign countries, including Iran, but Khamenei rejected the offer because "he works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritizes ideology over the Iranian people."
Angela Merkel tested for coronavirus, remains in self-imposed quarantine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was tested for the coronavirus Monday as she remains in self-imposed quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected doctor.
Germany’s government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters Merkel, 65, is doing well and that she led the cabinet by phone today from home. “She was tested today and we’re waiting for the results,” he said, adding that she received many messages of support.
Seibert said they do not know when the test results would be back.
Last week, Merkel received a vaccine shot against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria, from a doctor who later tested positive for coronavirus, her office said Sunday.
Asked for further details on how the chancellor was set up to work from home and if her husband was in quarantine as well, Seibert refused to comment, only adding that “the chancellor is in a position to conduct business.”
CVS to hire 50,000 workers, including those furloughed from other companies
CVS Health plans to immediately hire 50,000 new workers, with many roles filled by people who were furloughed from other companies because of the coronavirus, the company announced Monday.
The drugstore chain said it will hire temporary, part-time and full-time store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center workers and customer service representatives.
It plans to hire employees from major clients who have had to furlough workers, including Hilton and Marriott.
CVS Health employees will also receive $150 to $500 bonuses and an additional 24 hours of paid sick leave in addition to 14 days of paid leave for any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 or needs to be quarantined as a result of potential exposure.
Photo: The scene in Cairo
Global infections on track to reach 350,000; over 15,000 deaths worldwide
The number of global coronavirus infections is on track to reach 350,000 on Monday, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The number of deaths worldwide has climbed to 15,308 after big overnight increases in Italy and Spain.
Italy is the hardest-hit nation in the world in terms of total number of deaths, with its death toll reaching 5,476 deaths Monday as its health care system struggles to cope with outbreak.
Numbers provided by the World Health Organization, which slightly differ, suggest more than 292,000 global infections and 12,784 deaths.
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma donates supplies to Africa
A plane carrying 6 million face masks and other life-saving equipment donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday as Africa scrambles to contain a growing number of coronavirus cases, Ethiopia's prime minister tweeted.
The shipment also includes over a million coronavirus testing kits, and 60,000 protective suits and face shields. Ma's foundation said the supplies would be distributed across Africa, going first to countries that were particularly vulnerable to the pandemic.
For several days, governments across the continent have imposed tough measures to restrict travel and close public spaces to curb the spread of the virus.
The African region has so far registered 739 cases of coronavirus and 20 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization, but there are concerns about how well health care systems in Africa's developing nations could handle the coronavirus pandemic.
Harvey Weinstein tests positive for coronavirus
Convicted rapist and disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein tested positive for coronavirus, the head of the New York state corrections officers union told NBC News.
Weinstein, 68, was transferred to Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security state prison east of Buffalo, NY, on Wednesday. There, he tested positive for coronavirus, Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, learned on Sunday and told NBC News Monday.
Weinstein is currently in isolation at the prison, Powers said, and several staff at the facility have also been quarantined.
Federal Reserve pledges asset purchases with no limit to support markets
The Federal Reserve said Monday it will launch a barrage of programs aimed at helping markets function more efficiently in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Among the initiatives is a commitment to continue its asset purchasing program “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy.”
Others include an unspecified lending program for Main Street businesses and the Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility implemented during the financial crisis. Markets reacted positively to the moves, cutting most of the losses in stock market futures that had once been “limit down” in overnight trading.
Baghdad's coronavirus travel ban extended
The Iraqi government has extended a ban on travel in and out of Baghdad to March 28 as it tries to stem the coronavirus outbreak.
The move comes after hundreds of thousands of people defied coronavirus restrictions and attempted to visit a shrine sacred to Shiite Muslims in Baghdad over the weekend, forcing the Iraqi government to deploy troops to close the area.
The government has also extended its ban on all flights in and out of the country’s airports.
Iraq has so far recorded 233 cases and 20 coronavirus deaths, according to the country's heath officials.
'This week, it's going to get bad'
WASHINGTON — U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week and said that people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough.
“I want America to understand this week, it's going to get bad,” Adams said in an interview on the “TODAY” show.
The disease is spreading, he said, because many people — especially young people — are not abiding by guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing.
“Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously,” he said.
What scams should I watch for during the coronavirus outbreak?
The watchdog for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has issued a fraud alert for coronavirus scams such as fraudulent testing kits and treatment across the country.
A spokesperson for the HHS inspector general says telemarketers have been calling people offering fake coronavirus tests while other scammers have been looking to hire phony technicians to swab multiple people, charge them for tests, but never provide results. The inspector general's agents have also noticed an uptick in “door to door visits and social media ads about unapproved treatments.”
Other scams have offered fake telemedicine as part of an identity theft scheme, the inspector general warned. The office has also found fake charities applying for grants to help people in the community who are needy.
Spain's coronavirus death toll tops 2,000
Spain's death toll from the growing coronavirus pandemic has now topped 2,000, only three days after its number of deaths hit 1,000.
The country's health ministry said Monday there are now 33,090 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,182 deaths in the country.
Spain, the second hardest-hit country in Europe after Italy, sought to extend its state of emergency Sunday by another two weeks until April 11. Announced on March 14, it was intended to last 15 days, and bars people from all but essential outings. The extension would need to be approved by Parliament.
“We are at war,” the country's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told a news briefing.
Iran records more than 1,400 new cases in 24 hours
Iran confirmed more than 1,400 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Monday as the country struggles to contain its coronavirus epidemic.
Health officials also announced 127 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,812.
There are now a total of 23,049 confirmed cases in Iran, one of the global hot spots of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the U.S. offer to help in its fight against the virus, accusing U.S. leaders of being “charlatans and liars."
Rep. Ben McAdams hospitalized after coronavirus positive test
WASHINGTON — Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, who tested positive last week for the disease caused by the coronavirus, said Sunday night that he has been hospitalized since Friday because of “severe shortness of breath.”
McAdams said in a statement that he experienced worsening symptoms Friday evening and he called the hotline for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. He said he was told to go to the hospital.
“I was admitted and have been receiving oxygen as I struggled to maintain my blood oxygen at appropriate levels. I am now off oxygen and feeling relatively better and expect to be released as soon as the doctor determines it is appropriate,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
McAdams said his experience has shown him “how critical it is to follow the advice of the CDC and the Utah Department of Health in order to stop the spread of this virus.”
Florida closes all state parks
All state parks in Florida will close Monday for the foreseeable future as the state tries to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The decision, made by Gov. Ron DeSantis, was announced late Sunday evening. Florida State Parks said on Twitter that while "many measures" had been taken to attempt to safely provide access to the parks, "this has not resulted in the reductions needed to best protect public health."
Florida's announcement comes after the state fell under intense national scrutiny for keeping its beaches open for too long. Local officials in Florida towns and cities ended up taking it upon themselves to close beaches last week after the governor's initial refusal.
Florida had 768 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths as of Sunday, according to NBC News tallies.
Cuban health workers arrive in Italy to staff field hospital
A delegation of 52 Cuban health workers arrived in Lombardy, Italy on Sunday to work in a field hospital in the region at the heart of Italy's coronavirus outbreak.
The team, which includes doctors and nurses specializing in pulmonology, intensive care, infectious diseases and emergency medicine, will work at a newly-built field hospital in Crema, Lombardy, according to regional officials.
Lombardy has been Italy's most affected region in the pandemic, with 27,206 cases and 3,456 deaths reported.
On Sunday, 651 people across Italy as a whole died from the virus, and 952 more people had officially recovered, Italy's Civil Protection Department confirmed in a press conference on Sunday.
Coronavirus may force Olympics to be postponed, Japan's Abe says
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged for the first time on Monday that the Summer Olympic Games could be delayed due to the coronavirus as countries began threatening to keep their athletes at home.
"If it’s difficult to proceed in its complete form, then we must think about the athletes first and consider postponing," Abe told Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee told reporters it would not make a final decision for another four weeks.
"Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody," the international committee's president, Thomas Bach, said Sunday. He added that canceling the games would "destroy" the dreams of 11,000 athletes from around the world.
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound closed over coronavirus fears
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound was closed to worshipers on Monday to help stem the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs in Jordan, which acts as custodian of the site, announced.
Employees who work at the compound, also home to the Dome of the Rock shrine, will continue to be able to access the area, and the call to prayer will still take place.
The closure, which took effect at dawn on Monday, is in place until further notice.
Israel has so far recorded 1,238 cases of coronavirus and one death.
London Tube packed as government warns people to stay apart
Hong Kong to ban tourist arrivals as coronavirus numbers rise
Hong Kong authorities said Monday they are banning tourist arrivals from the global financial hub as the city is facing a growing number of coronavirus cases. The city government announced 39 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, 30 of which had a recent travel history, bringing its total to 357 and four deaths.
The order kicks in on Wednesday.
The semi-autonomous territory detected its first cases as early as January, but thanks to severe social distancing measures and a strong community response it has managed to avoid the scale of contagion seen in other countries and territories.
It is now faces the risk that visitors carrying the virus could spread it, undoing efforts to contain it.
500 U.S. tourists depart Peru after border closure
Hundreds of Americans have left Peru after getting stranded in the country amid travel chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Embassy in the country's capital Lima said they are working with the Peruvian government on all options for U.S. citizens to depart the country and are arranging charter aircraft.
It said approximately 500 American tourists departed Peru this weekend, including some of the most urgent medical cases.
Earlier this month, Peru issued a state of emergency, closing all international borders and leaving many Americans stranded and unable to get out.
British public warned of 'tougher measures' after weekend of gatherings
Saudi Arabia imposes nationwide curfew amid coronavirus epidemic
Saudi Arabia has imposed a nationwide curfew as it tries to stem the spread of coronavirus, the country's state news agency reported Monday.
Saudi ruler King Salman issued an order for a curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time, Saudi Press Agency said.
The curfew kicks in Monday evening and will be in effect for the next 21 days.
Employees in the so-called vital sectors, whose work requires continued performance during the curfew, are exempt from the order.
Saudi Arabia has taken some of the most drastic steps in the region, including halting international flights, suspending work at most institutions and closing public venues.
The country has recorded 119 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 511.
War-ravaged Syria records its first coronavirus case
Syria registered its first case of coronavirus Sunday, the country's health officials said, according to Syrian state news agency SANA.
Health officials said the individual who tested positive came from abroad, without specifying a country, SANA reported.
Health Minister Nizar al-Yaziji told state media “necessary measures” had been taken regarding the individual, who he said would be quarantined for 14 days and given medical checks.
Damascus announced a ban on public transport on Sunday as it stepped up a lockdown introduced in recent days, including the closure of schools, parks, restaurants and various public institutions, as well as calling off army conscription.
The country ravaged by nine years of civil war has a wrecked health care system that many fear would not be able to handle an epidemic, but government authorities have denied any outbreak or cover-up.
How are imposters imitating the World Health Organization?
The World Health Organization warned over the weekend of an uptick in criminals disguising themselves as WHO workers to steal money or personal identity information vulnerable people.
The United Nations branch responsible for public health around the globe urged people to verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be from WHO. It also issued a list of questions and information the organization will never ask for.
The only request for financial support WHO has made, it said, was for people to give to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. "Any other appeal for funding or donations that appears to be from WHO is a scam," the organization said.
The World Health Organization will:
never ask for your username or password to access safety information
never email attachments you didn’t ask for
never ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int
never charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel
never conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email.WHO
IOC says canceling Tokyo Olympics wouldn't solve anything and 'isn't on the agenda'
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that canceling the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo "is not on the agenda," even as Australia and Canada became the first two countries to pull out of the games because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Olympic committees of both countries issued statements late Sunday (midday Monday in Australia) saying they wouldn't send teams unless the games are postponed for a year. The games are scheduled to open in just four months.
In a long statement, the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, said the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, had led the organization's executive board to conclude that "the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning."
But it said "a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody."
"Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda," it said.
Parks, trails closed in Los Angeles area
More than 75,000 acres of parks and trails were closed indefinitely in and around the Los Angeles region Sunday because of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said.
The announcement, by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, expands on an order Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued earlier Sunday closing sports and recreation at city parks and parking at city beaches as images of packed trails and beaches sparked an outcry while California is under a statewide stay-at-home order.
"This is serious. Stay home and save lives," Garcetti tweeted.
The two orders effectively close all parks and restrict access to many beaches across tens of thousands of acres from Los Angeles north across the San Fernando Valley, including the popular Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
Canada, Australia pull out of Olympics
Canada and Australia will not send athletes to the Olympics later this year if the games are not delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Sunday.
In a statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it was “urgently” calling on the groups that organize the games to postpone the event for one year. “This is not solely about athlete health — this is about public health,” the group said.
In a similar statement announced Monday in Australia, that nation's organizing committee said its board had "unanimously agreed that an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad."