Global restrictions are increasing, but so is the number of cases.
Countries closed borders, cities from New York and Los Angeles to Paris and Madrid closed bars and restaurants, schools closed more classrooms and hundreds of millions of people closed their doors on one another as the authorities took ever more drastic steps to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The consequences of China’s harsh measures to halt the virus — restricting the movement of about 700 million people at one point — became apparent on Monday when the government released economic data showing industrial output falling to its lowest level in decades and unemployment rising at its highest rate ever in February.
While the economic ramifications of China’s approach are still playing out, Beijing did succeed in slowing the rise of new infections, as the total number of cases outside the country has for the first time surpassed those inside it.
The Federal Reserve, seeking to steady financial markets, cut interest rates to near zero and said it would buy hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. government debt. But global stocks still tumbled on Monday.
As the virus continues to spread across the United States, public life is increasingly shut down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
And as Americans are asked to isolate themselves, the United States has stepped up plans to isolate itself from the world, with travelers from Britain and Ireland on Monday joining the list of other European countries barred from entering the country.
The bans have left hundreds of thousands of people scrambling to get back to the United States, and American airports were overwhelmed over the weekend with thousands of people crowded closely together while waiting for hours to pass through customs.
Within Europe, countries are also closing themselves off. The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have all closed themselves off to foreigners. And Germany, the economic engine of the Continent, said that it would partly close its borders with five neighboring countries.
Still, the number of new cases across the Continent continues to surge, and there is growing worry that the health care systems of Spain and France could soon face the kind of dire situation playing out in Italy — where doctors have had to make grim decisions about which patients to treat.
There is a scramble across the Continent to step up production of ventilators, with leaders calling for the kind of effort seen in wartime to produce munitions.
The Spanish government warned on Monday that it would probably extend the state of emergency and keep people indoors beyond the initial period of 15 days.
Jérôme Salomon, a top official at the French health ministry, said the situation was “deteriorating very quickly.” He told France Inter radio on Monday that many people did not seem to be taking calls for social distancing seriously, and he tried to dispel the notion that the virus seriously threatens only the elderly. There are 300 to 400 people in intensive care in France, he said, and roughly half of them are under age 65.
Across America, states limit public interactions.
As the coronavirus continued to spread through the United States on Sunday, officials took some of their most aggressive steps yet to try to halt its progress.
Restaurants and bars were ordered closed in New York City, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington and Puerto Rico; in some places, officials said establishments could still sell food for takeout or delivery.
The move will close bars in New York City, Boston and California, among other places, for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday on Tuesday, which is typically one of their busiest days of the year.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for people 65 and older to shelter in their homes. He also issued guidelines calling for the closing of all bars, night clubs and wineries. He said that restaurants could remain open, but they must reduce their occupancy by half to allow for more “social distancing” among diners.
And movie theaters and gyms were closed in Los Angeles by its mayor, Eric Garcetti, who also said on Sunday evening that he was temporarily closing bars, nightclubs and restaurants except for takeout and delivery.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States climbed to over 3,100 across 49 states on Sunday, and after weeks of conflicting signals from the federal government, state and local officials across the nation began enacting stricter measures to try to slow its spread.
As the school week began, more schools shut down. New York City, the largest district in the nation, with 1.1 million students, said on Sunday that it would shut down, and Massachusetts moved to close schools across the state beginning Tuesday, joining other school systems around the nation that decided to close earlier.
Investors drive global shares lower, in a bad sign for Wall Street.
Global stocks tumbled on Monday despite the U.S. Federal Reserve’s emergency measures to address the economic slowdown.
European markets opened more than 4 percent lower on Monday, then fell more than 8 percent as the morning continued. France’s main stock index briefly fell 10 percent.
The glum opening followed a difficult day in Asian markets, where sentiment soured throughout the day. Australia led the region’s drop with a 9.7 percent plunge in the S&P/ASX 200 stock index, leaving it down about 30 percent from its high last month.
The Fed cut interest rates to near zero and said it would buy hundreds of billions of dollars in government debt, moves reminiscent of its actions during the financial crisis in 2008.
The central bank’s moves are aimed at supporting the economy from the fast-spread of the coronavirus. But financial markets remained on edge.
In Europe, France’s CAC 40 opened nearly 5 percent lower, then fell by as much as 10 percent before trading more than 9 lower. London’s FTSE 100 index and Germany’s DAX both fell by more than 8 percent in early trading.
Asian markets began the day mixed before turning downward. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index finished 2.5 percent lower. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 3.2 percent; after the close of trading, the country’s central bank slashed its key benchmark lending rate.
Hong Kong was down 4.2 percent in late trading.
Benchmark global and American crude oil prices were also lower, signaling concern that global demand for crude would continue to fall as the world’s biggest economies temporarily shut down to fight the virus.
No gatherings of 50 or more for now, urges the Centers for Disease Control.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Sunday that no gatherings with 50 people or more — including weddings, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events or conferences — be held in the United States for the next eight weeks, in one of the federal government’s most sweeping efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The C.D.C. said that its recommendation did not apply to “the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses” and added that it was not intended to supersede the advice of local health officials.
“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities,” it said, “and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus.”
The C.D.C. also urged people to take care with even small gatherings. “Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing,” its recommendation said. “When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”
Italy’s deaths jump, Germany seals its borders, and France sounds the alarm.
The coronavirus continued its assault on Italy, the hardest-hit country outside of China, with officials on Sunday reporting that the number of deaths rose to 1,809 — a 25 percent increase over the day before and the largest one-day uptick yet of any country.
In an interview published Monday, Italy’s prime minister said the government could take further action to stem the spread and bolster the economy.
“The approved measures are not sufficient,” Giuseppe Conte told the daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“After the coronavirus nothing will be as before,” he said of the country that is under effectively under a nationwide lockdown. “We will have to sit down and rewrite the rules of trade and the free market.”
Other countries in Europe also began taking more serious measures. Germany will close its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland, the country’s interior minister said on Sunday.
Spain and France announced drastic countrywide restrictions this weekend. Those countries are the hardest hit after Italy.
On Sunday, Spanish officials reported nearly 8,000 cases of coronavirus and 288 deaths. The country ordered all residents to confine themselves to their homes — and to leave only to buy food, go to work, seek medical care or assist older people and others in need. The government also ordered all schools, restaurants and bars to close.
The Spanish authorities said that the prime minister’s wife, Begoña Gómez, had tested positive for the virus.
France announced the closing of all “non-indispensable” businesses, including restaurants, bars and movie theaters, after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. The number of French cases passed 5,420 on Sunday, with 127 deaths.
On Sunday, France’s transportation minister said the country would begin reducing plane, train and bus services between cities.
By Monday, Jérôme Salomon, an official in France’s health ministry, said the situation in that country was “extremely preoccupying” and “deteriorating very quickly.”
“We are seeing that the number of cases is doubling every three days,” Mr. Salomon told France Inter radio.
Mr. Salomon warned that young people too were at risk of contracting the virus. About half of those patients in intensive care because of the virus are younger than 65, he said, adding that the country’s health care system would soon be under great strain.
Turkey, which has recorded 20 cases, on Monday said it would close bars, night clubs and discos until further notice.
In Latin America, Argentina and Peru both said they would close their borders, and Honduras went into virtual lockdown.
Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, announced on Sunday night that the country would shut down its borders for inbound foreigners for at least 15 days.
Peru on Monday declared a state of emergency, restricting travel and authorizing the military to take over public roads.
Biden and Sanders say the military can help in the fight against the virus.
As they faced off in a debate that was transformed in ways large and small by the coronavirus pandemic, the two rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, agreed on at least one thing: a greater role for the U.S. military in helping the nation deal with the outbreak.
“I would call up the military now,” Mr. Biden said. “They have the capacity to provide the surge help that hospitals need and is needed across the nation.”
Mr. Sanders was slightly less direct, but agreed. “Using the National Guard is clearly something that needs to be done,” he said.
Both men said that the pandemic was highlighting weaknesses in the health care system. Mr. Biden warned that it was ill equipped to handle the expected surge of coronavirus cases, saying, “We should be planning where we are going to put these temporary hospitals.”
Mr. Sanders said that the crisis was highlighting the shortcomings of America’s for-profit health industry. “Let’s be honest and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system,” he said.
Both men — Mr. Biden is 77, and Mr. Sanders is 78 — said that they were taking steps during the campaign to avoid contracting the virus, including canceling events, the heavy use of hand sanitizer and regular hand washing.
The coronavirus shaped not just the content of the debate, but its format, too. The face-off was moved from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., over concerns about the outbreak. There was no live audience, in an effort to promote the social distancing health experts are calling for. The rival candidates parried from lecterns that were kept six feet apart. And when they took the stage they dispensed with the customary handshake in favor of an elbow bump.
The Fed slashes rates nearly to zero.
The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates nearly to zero and unveiled a sweeping set of programs — including plans to snap up huge amounts of government and mortgage-backed debt — in an effort to backstop the United States economy as the spread of coronavirus poses a dire threat to economic growth.
“The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” the central bank said in a statement on Sunday. “The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.”
At a news conference on Sunday afternoon, President Trump congratulated the Federal Reserve for its slashing of rates to nearly zero.
“It makes me very happy,” he said.
Lowering interest rates is supposed to help goose the economy by making it cheaper for households and businesses to borrow money, which they would hopefully use to buy houses and cars and invest in new plants and equipment.
Besides cutting its key interest rate by a full percentage point, returning it to a range of 0 to 0.25 percent, the Fed said that it would increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $500 billion and its holdings of government mortgage-backed securities by at least $200 billion “over coming months.”
“The committee will continue to closely monitor market conditions and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate,” it said.
The Fed also encouraged banks to use its discount window, which provides ready access to financing, and said it was “encouraging banks to use their capital and liquidity buffers as they lend to households and businesses.” The Fed also eliminated bank reserve requirements — a suite of efforts meant to free up cash for the banks to keep lending.
There are now more new cases outside China than in the country, where the outbreak began.
As the coronavirus epidemic continues to surge worldwide, there are now more total confirmed cases outside of China than inside China, the country where the virus first spread, according to numbers released Monday.
Statistics released by China’s National Health Commission showed that by Sunday, the country had recorded 80,680 infections, including the 16 most recent.
The global total for the rest of the world — everywhere outside mainland China — exceeded 85,000, according to figures tabulated by Johns Hopkins University. Italy, in particular, recorded a grim rise in infections and deaths in recent days, and said that total cases now are near 25,000.
Since January, China has imposed sweeping restrictions on travel, commerce and transport, especially in Hubei Province, where the outbreak began. The country’s leader, Xi Jinping, has trumpeted his efforts bringing the…