Coronavirus latest news: Outbreak in all 50 US states; EU shuts borders
The number of coronavirus deaths in the US has reached 105 even as the Trump administration pursues a $1 trillion stimulus package to contain the situation. The EU border move is expected to apply to 26 member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. UK citizens will be unaffected.
The deadly coronavirus pandemic has now hit all 50 states in the US, with 105 deaths and 6,000 confirmed cases in the country. On the other hand, the European Union has decided to ban travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days in an unprecedented move to seal its borders amid the crisis.
The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it was pursuing a $1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver $1,000 checks to Americans within two weeks to buttress the economy. The Covid-19 has so far claimed nearly 8,000 lives and infected 200,000 people across the globe.
With cases of the respiratory illness reported in all US states and the total number of infections surging, millions of Americans hunkered down at home instead of commuting to work or school.
New York City said it might order its 8.5 million residents to "shelter in place" at home, as cities escalated "social distancing" policies by closing schools, bars, restaurants and theatres to fight the spread of the virus.
"It's a very, very difficult decision," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We've never been here before." The state's Governor, Andrew Cuomo, told CNN he did not think it would work.
Kentucky and Illinois also recorded their first coronavirus deaths. Authorities said 22 people had been infected at a nursing home in suburban Chicago.
In Washington state, where 52 people have died, Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation approving $200 million for homeless aid and other measures to stop the spread of the virus. California's Governor signed off on $1 billion, and Georgia's Governor approved $100 million. Kansas shuttered schools through the end of the academic year.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy closed indoor shopping malls.
Sheriff's deputies in Los Angeles were ordered to write more tickets and make fewer arrests, to keep jail crowding to a minimum. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine postponed elective surgeries to preserve hospital space.
Vice President Mike Pence said the White House may have the US military establish field hospitals in virus hot zones if requested by state governors, or use the Army Corps of Engineers to add capacity to existing hospitals.
New York, Washington state and California have the most confirmed cases of the highly contagious respiratory illness.
Roughly half of all Americans want the US government to act more aggressively to slow the spread of the coronavirus, such as banning large public gatherings and shutting down all overseas flights, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
In one of the most restrictive policies already in place, officials ordered residents of the San Francisco Bay area, some 6.7 million people, to stay home for all but the most crucial outings until April 7.
President Donald Trump said progress was being made against the fast-spreading pathogen and predicted the US economy would "come roaring back" when it slows. "It's going to pop," said Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3.
Trump seeks more than $1 trillion for a stimulus package
The Republican President's tone on the pandemic has changed sharply in the last few days. After initially playing down the threat and focusing on the stock market, his administration has begun pushing for urgent action to stem the disease's economic and human toll. His administration sought more than $1 trillion for a stimulus package, including $50 billion for hard-hit airlines facing bankruptcy.
The Trump administration is also considering a plan to send checks to individual Americans of $1,000 to help them weather the crisis, though details remain unclear. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said his chamber would this week pass a multibillion-dollar emergency spending bill cleared by the House of Representatives on Saturday, despite concerns from some Republicans.
The House bill would provide free coronavirus testing, establish paid sick leave for most workers and expand unemployment compensation.
Trump said travel restrictions within the US are on the table
The President asked Americans to avoid travelling and urged them to "buy less" when they go to stores after nationwide reports of anxious shoppers emptying grocery store shelves.
EU SHUTS ITS BORDERS TO SLOW CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
The EU is temporarily closing its external borders to all "non-essential" travel from third nations to stem the spread of coronavirus. With immediate effect, the only things permitted to cross into the bloc will be goods, medical equipment and in some cases people deemed to be necessary to the EU's efforts to manage the coronavirus spread. The measures will remain in place for 30 days and will not apply to the UK, which despite having left the EU earlier this year is still in a transition period with the bloc.
The measure is expected to apply to 26 EU states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. UK citizens will be unaffected. The ban came as deaths continued to soar in Italy and Spain, and France began a strict lockdown.
What are the EU measures?
The travel ban will affect all non-EU nationals from visiting the bloc, except long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods.
The measures were agreed in a video-summit between EU leaders and will now have to be implemented by member states.
Latest situation in Europe
In France, citizens who leave home must now carry a document detailing the reasons why, with fines for transgressors to be set at $150. It comes after President Emmanuel Macron ordered the population to stay at home and only go out for essential trips. The number of confirmed cases in France reached 7,730 on Tuesday and the death toll rose to 175.
In Britain, where the death toll is 71, people have been told to avoid social contact, work from home if they can and avoid all non-essential foreign travel.
The number of confirmed cases in Spain increased to 11,178. Authorities in the country are maintaining a partial lockdown on 47 million people.
Italy -- which has reported the most cases outside China at more than 31,500 -- announced another surge in deaths on Tuesday, from 2,150 to 2,503. The country remains in lockdown.
Germany reported more than 6,000 cases and 13 deaths. Religious services are banned in the country and people are told people to cancel any domestic or foreign holiday travel. Venues including clubs, bars, leisure facilities, zoos and playgrounds will be closed. Schools are already shut.
Ireland could have 15,000 cases of coronavirus before the end of March, said Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.