The number of coronavirus cases continued to accelerate in the United States on Tuesday, and early Wednesday Senate leaders announced they had reached a deal on a massive $2 trillion spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.
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.
And after growing international pressure, Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo games until next year but said they would happen no later than summer 2021.
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Steep fines face those who defy coronavirus lockdowns, curfews around the world
As millions of people are locked down in their homes around the world, governments are hoping steep fines will also help to stop those who are breaking quarantine rules.
In Saudi Arabia, where a nationwide curfew has been enacted for three weeks starting Monday, violators will be fined 10,000 Saudi riyal ($2,777), which will be doubled for a second violation, the country's interior ministry said. A third violation will earn the offender a jail sentence of up to 20 days.
Italy, which is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 6,077 deaths so far, is considering raising the fines for violation of the nationwide lockdown to 3,000 euros ($3,246), the country's Corriere della Sera newspaper reported. The current fine stands at 206 euros ($222).
Meanwhile, in Israel, which is on partial lockdown, police are fining those breaking the quarantine 5,000 shekels ($1,365). Israel has had 1,656 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death so far.
And in France, where 860 people died of the virus, sanctions for not respecting restricted movement started at just 38 euros ($41) when they began last week, but French Prime Minister Philippe Edouard said Monday night the fines will go up to as high as 1,500 euros ($1,618) for repeat offenders.
New York governor highlights 'dramatic increase' in infection rate
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday his state has seen a "dramatic increase" in the rate of coronavirus infections, saying the "troubling and astronomical numbers" of people getting infected are higher than initially projected.
"The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo said, adding that cases could peak in as soon as 14 to 20 days. "It is clear that we must dramatically increase the hospital capacity."
India's prime minister orders nationwide lockdown
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a lockdown of the country starting at midnight local time.
The lockdown across the country of some 1.3 billion people will last for 21 days, according to The Associated Press.
Photo: The staggering toll in northern Italy
Dow soars by 1,300 points on hopes economic stimulus bill will finally pass
Wall Street rallied Tuesday on hopes lawmakers are nearing a deal on the $2 trillion stimulus package to help American workers and businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by 1,300 points, after hitting its 5 percent "limit up" threshold in premarket trading. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both notched up gains of around 5 percent at the opening bell.
"I think we're very hopeful that this can be closed out tomorrow," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters late Monday on Capitol Hill after emerging from negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
France enters two-month state of emergency
France will be under a state of health emergency for two months, the French government announced Tuesday.
The new emergency law, passed by the Senate and the Parliament last week, gives the government special powers to enforce the lockdown, which first began two weeks ago.
Local officials will determine in each city if a curfew is necessary, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. Health officials said France has confirmed 19,856 cases of coronavirus, more than 2,000 of which are in intensive care, and 860 have died.
The tighter measures rolled out Monday night by Philippe allow residents to leave their homes for only one hour to do only essential tasks, and for physical exercise within 0.6 miles of their residence. They will also need to mark the time they leave home on a special form they need to carry when venturing outside.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.
Abe said Japan and the International Olympic Committee came to an agreement during a phone call with the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, following growing calls for the games to be delayed or canceled because of the concerns around coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese leader said they have agreed that the games would not be canceled and will be held by the summer of 2021, his office said on Twitter.
The Olympics was set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9, and the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.
Spanish doctor warns situation in hospitals likely to become 'unsustainable'
A doctor in Spain has warned that unless the number of new coronavirus infections decreases, the situation in Madrid's hospitals will be "almost unsustainable" in a few days.
"One of the worst shifts I can remember," Miguel Guirao, 27, a Spanish anesthesiologist, wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of his face marked with red lines from his protective mask after a 19-hour shift. "And they said it was like the flu."
Guirao told NBC News that staff at the Hospital Universitario La Paz where he works have "literally just enough" personal protective equipment, but not enough ventilators for patients.
Doctors need to decide which patients can be admitted to their critical care units, taking into account medical history and prognosis. "There is even an age limit: Above it, you do not enter, because there isn't a bed for everyone," explained Guirao.
Madrid has been the city worst affected by the pandemic in Spain, with a total of 10,575 cases and 1,263 deaths reported in the capital so far, according to officials on Tuesday.
FEMA to use Defense Production Act for test kits, chief says
FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said Tuesday that his agency planned to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act “to get our hands on” coronavirus test kits.
“We're going to use it for about 60,000 test kits, and so we're really going to use the allocation portion of the DPA, and again many different levers and options in that,” he said in an interview on CNN.
Gaynor said that they were also going to insert “DPA language” into contracts for 500 million masks.
President Donald Trump has come under fire in recent days for not using the powers of the DPA to authorize the mass production of critical supplies.
'Fine line' to balance economy, public health, White House official says
The White House coronavirus response coordinator on Tuesday suggested that "there's a fine line" between balancing the economic needs of Americans and the fight against the pandemic.
Dr. Deborah Birx in an interview on "TODAY" on Tuesday responded to questions about President Donald Trump's assertion at a press conference Monday that the shutdown of many businesses around the country would last weeks, not months. "America will again and soon be open for business," he said.
Birx said officials are carefully evaluating data, including from Italy where after two weeks of a national lockdown the number of deaths has begun to decline.
The question is, Birx said, "Can we be laser-focused rather than generic across the country" in the fight against the spread of virus?