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Trump, Congress to discuss economic relief package amid coronavirus panic in stock market

As of early March, people have tested positive for the coronavirus in about 70 countries. Officials are taking "unprecedented" actions. (Video: The Washington Post)
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President Trump said the White House would discuss a possible economic relief package with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans. The announcement followed a day of stunning declines in the stock market, fueled by fear about the spread of the coronavirus.

Among the options Trump mentioned in a Monday evening news conference were payroll tax cuts with “very substantial relief,” as well as ways to help hourly wage workers who cannot get paid when they stay home sick “so they don’t get penalized for something that’s not their fault.”

Italy plans to restrict movement throughout the entire country, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday, effectively locking down some 60 million people in an unprecedented move to contain the coronavirus. The announcement came a day after Italy imposed similar restrictions on one-quarter of the country.

Global markets tanked on Monday, fueled by coronavirus fears and a possible oil-price war. Oil prices fell harder than they have since the 1991 Gulf War, down 25 percent. Stocks tumbled around the world as more countries implemented measures to contain the outbreak, and the United States’ tally of known infections passed 600.

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Here are the latest developments:

  • More than 600 people in the United States have tested positive for the virus. Twenty-six people nationwide have died of the virus.
  • Two Republican congressmen who interacted with Trump over the past week said they are quarantining themselves after coming into contact with someone who tested positive. Trump has not been tested for the virus because he has not had “prolonged close contact" with any known patients, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said, “nor does he have any symptoms."
  • Ohio announced its first cases Monday afternoon — all in the Cleveland area. Patients are now being treated in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Boston is canceling its St. Patrick’s Day parade. More than 1 million people were expected to turn out Sunday for the 3.5-mile march. The event is in its 119th year and draws some of the largest St. Patrick’s Day crowds in the country.
  • Prison riots have broken out across Italy, in one of the first visible signs of social turmoil linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

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