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Coronavirus roundup: Italy cracks down, Britain locks down, U.S.-Mexico border shuts down

A roundup of the latest international, national and local news on the coronavirus outbreak

SHARE Coronavirus roundup: Italy cracks down, Britain locks down, U.S.-Mexico border shuts down

People stand in marked places to keep a social distance at a fast food restaurant in London, Friday, March 20, 2020. The United Kingdom has asked 65,000 retired physicians and nurses to come back to work to aid in Britain’s fight against the virus.

Frank Augstein, Associated Press

Italy cracks down on lockdown, sees record daily death toll from COVID-19

Italian police questioned more than 200,000 people who were outside their homes during the country’s lockdown on Thursday, The Washington Post reported. Authorities cited 9,407 people — a single-day record — for violating the country’s lockdown. Italians are only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips like grocery shopping, doctors visits and a daily exercise.

Another 205 citations — of 99,806 questioned — were given to business owners in Rome on Thursday. Twenty-one shops were also shut down. Italian authorities have now cited more than 61,000 people since the lockdown began on March 11.

On Friday, Italy said 627 people had died because of COVID-19 in just the last day — the deadliest single day total in that country, according to the Post. Italy’s total death toll of more than 4,000 has surpassed China in total deaths.

British PM shuts down restaurants, theaters, other venues Friday night

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered restaurants, pubs, theaters, gyms and other public facilities closed on Friday night, The New York Times reported.

Agreements were being made to do the same across the rest of the United Kingdom.

Johnson said the serious measures were an important means to prevent unnecessary social interaction. The prime minister had been hesitant to take such drastic measures, according to the Times.

The British government also announced Friday that it would be covering 80% of wages for people unable to work because of the pandemic, according to The Washington Post.

U.S. and Mexico agree to stop most border traffic

America and Mexico have reached an agreement to halt nonessential traffic across the border, the Trump administration announced Friday. The restriction is an another attempt to stop the global spread of the novel coronavirus.

At a press conference Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said “both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure the commerce that supports both our economies keeps flowing,” reported The Los Angeles Times.

The new travel restriction will begin Saturday, Pompeo said.

Senators dump stocks after January classified coronavirus briefings

Four U.S. senators divested stocks days after a classified Senate briefing on the threat of the coronavirus in late January, according to The Hill.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein sold at least hundreds of thousands to more than a million dollars in stocks before the market began its downward slide in mid-February.

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson said Thursday that Burr — the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman — should resign if he is unable to explain an honest reason for dumping the stocks. Burr “had inside information about what could happen to our country ... but, he didn’t warn the public,” Carlson said.

“There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis,” added Carlson.

Burr said in statement Friday morning that he had requested a Senate Ethics Committee investigation — acknowledging the public’s assumption — and that he had relied “solely on public news reports” on his decision to divest, The Associated Press reported.

ProPublica first reported the Burr story while The Daily Beast first reported about Loeffler.

Californians ordered to stay home

California Gov. Gavin Newsom order all 40 million residents of his state on Thursday to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Californians were told they could go to work for essential jobs, to run errands and to get outside for exercise, the AP reported.

“I can assure you home isolation is not my preferred choice, I know it’s not yours, but it’s a necessary one,” Newsom said. The governor also activated 500 National Guard soldiers to aid in food distribution and has taken over a bankrupt hospital that can provide 357 beds in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Newsom hoped the order would stifle the spread of the virus, which he had earlier warned could infect half of all Californians if stricter measures were not taken.

UK asks retired health workers to return to work

The United Kingdom has asked 65,000 retired physicians and nurses to come back to work to aid in Britain’s fight against the virus.

Spain’s health minister said its army will assist in creating a 5,500-bed field hospital at a convention center in Madrid, reports the AP. The capital city has upwards of 7,000 COVID-19 cases already.

The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 246,444 people and resulted in 10,040 deaths globally, the Johns Hopkins University and School of Medicine reported Friday morning on its COVID-19 tracker.

China and Italy are still reporting the highest numbers of coronavirus infections with more than 81,000 and 41,000, respectively, while cases in the United States have grown to 14,250. Johns Hopkins reports that 86,037 people have recovered from the virus.