E.U. may ban entry, as France prepares for lockdown
The European Union is expected to approve today a proposal to shut down nonessential travel into the bloc for at least 30 days to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The ban, which includes exemptions for health care workers and citizens returning home, would not restrict travel between E.U. member states. But 10 of the 26 countries that make up the passport-free Schengen Area are already doing that to some degree.
And in France, where 148 people with the virus had died as of this morning and intensive-care units have hundreds of serious cases, President Emmanuel Macron has ordered the country’s citizens to stay at home for at least the next 15 days starting at noon today.
“We are at war,” Mr. Macron told the nation on Monday, after a top French health official warned of a potential “saturation” of the nation’s hospital system. “The enemy is invisible and it requires our general mobilization.”
In other coronavirus news:
In Germany, where schools were preparing for a prolonged shutdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that religious services would be banned and that bars, clubs and other entertainment spots would close.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, where confirmed cases have surged to 1,543, stiffened his response to the virus by establishing strict quarantine measures for patients and urging the public to stop going to pubs or restaurants. But he did not ban public gatherings or close pubs or schools.
Even if an experimental coronavirus vaccine that went into testing on Monday in Seattle proves to be safe, it would not be available to the public for at least a year.
A new study in the journal Science, based on data from China, estimated that for every confirmed coronavirus case, there were most likely another five to 10 people in the same community with undetected, often-milder infections.
The English actor Idris Elba became the latest celebrity to test positive for the virus.
Markets swoon as talk of recession grows
Futures markets signaled more losses in European trading today, after markets around the world began the week with a disastrous slide that exacerbated fears of a financial crisis-style recession. Here are the latest updates.
Wall Street was expected to open on a more positive note today. But as the coronavirus crisis escalates and economic life grinds to a halt across the U.S., many traders there are acting as if economic collapse is inevitable. The S&P 500 fell 12 percent on Monday, its worst daily decline since October 1987.
Related: Fresh economic data suggests that the Chinese economy may have shrunk in the first quarter of this year for the first time since 1976 — a further sign that the rest of the world may not escape an economic slowdown.
Dying alone in Italy
In parts of northern Italy, where more than 2,100 people with the virus have died nationwide, the pandemic has eerie echoes of Milan’s 17th-century plague.
In hard-hit Bergamo province, there is a backlog of coffins awaiting cremation, and loved ones of the deceased are sick themselves and in state-enforced quarantine.
“For us, it’s a trauma, an emotional trauma,” said Alberto Ceresoli, who edits the local newspaper, L’Eco di Bergamo. “These are people who die alone and who are buried alone. They didn’t have someone hold their hand and the funerals have to be tiny, with a quick prayer from the priest.”
Mr. Ceresoli’s paper usually publishes a single page of death notices. Last Friday, it published 10.
If you have 20 minutes, this is worth it
The Billie Eilish sound
Billie Eilish, 18, is one of the few pop stars working today with a Marilyn Manson-like interest in macabre transgression.
But the melancholic Gen Z’er isn’t out to sabotage pop, a writer observes in The Times Magazine’s music issue. Instead, her appeal rests on “combining her taste for the radical with her strong sense of the classical.”
Whatever the formula, it’s working: Ms. Eilish’s songs have swept the top categories at the Grammys and earned more than 15 billion combined streams worldwide.
Here’s what else is happening
Syria: In a report from the war’s front line, our correspondent explores how a cease-fire that took effect earlier this month has left hundreds of thousands of people unsure if they can ever return home.
Russia: The country’s highest court approved constitutional changes that open the way for President Vladimir Putin to break term limits and remain in power through 2036. The Kremlin’s critics called the ruling a sham.
Sexual assault in France: In a high-profile case, the ex-priest Bernard Preynat was sentenced to five years in prison for using his position as a Boy Scout leader to sexually abuse dozens of boys from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Apple: France’s antitrust regulator fined Apple 1.1 billion euros, accusing the company of abusing its broad economic power over the wholesalers that sell its products in the country.
Snapshot: Above, an ornamental garden and wildflower meadow in Somerset, England. The 20-acre country estate is owned by the garden designer Dan Pearson and his longtime romantic partner and collaborator, Huw Morgan.
What we’re reading: This New York Magazine article about the fatal stabbing of a college student in a Manhattan park. Jonathan Wolfe, a news producer on the “Daily” podcast, called it “a sharp look at how the communities that surround the park — and the city as a whole — have responded to the murder, and grappled with the policing and commentary that followed.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Our food columnist Melissa Clark is offering weekly recipes for what to cook while you’re self-isolating, starting with one for pumpkin bread. We’ve published it as part of a roundup on how the coronavirus crisis is affecting daily life in the United States.
Go (online): Art Basel Hong Kong, a mammoth art fair that was canceled this year because of the pandemic, will present more than 2,000 works online.
Watch: True-crime docs, a musical mockumentary and a pottery competition are among the shows we recommend in a time of social distancing.
Smarter Living: Is it OK to drink while you’re holed up at home? Not if you have a problem with alcohol or issues with depression, our wine critic writes, but otherwise, sure.
And now for the Back Story on …
Covering market chaos
It’s been a chaotic week on Wall Street. To break down the turmoil, Times Insider spoke to Matt Phillips, a markets reporter on the Business desk. Below is a condensed version of the conversation.
Walk us through last week. What happened?
Everyone knew the virus was spreading in China and compartmentalized it. But there was a psychological shift when the virus spread to Italy. As one of my sources said, a lot of Wall Street workers have been to Italy. This wasn’t as “foreign” as people thought.
Then there was growing concern about the response from our government. It seemed from talking to people that they were getting concerned there wasn’t a serious response. Wall Street isn’t warm and fuzzy. What they really want to see is numbers. And if there aren’t numbers to work with, then Wall Street doesn’t know what to do. The fact that there hasn’t been substantial testing in the United States drove the Street crazy.
Did the stock market events of last week surprise you?
I never would have predicted a collapse like we saw last week. This was the end of the bull market, in part because the Federal Reserve, which has been as if a huge wind at the market’s back for a decade, can’t solve it: It can’t print enough money to ensure that people don’t get infected with the virus.
How have your sources been reacting?
They’re saying it’s scary. People in the stock market typically talk in generalities because specifics are valuable. My job is like trying to take their temperature on what they think is driving the market, but no one really has any idea. It’s really the sum of millions of people with millions of motivations taking millions of positions, so there is never one answer.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the economic threat of the coronavirus.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Copper + zinc (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Elaine Glusac, a longtime contributor to The New York Times Travel section, is our next Frugal Traveler columnist.