World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

Coronavirus

In this March 5, 2020, photo, a waitress of the Chinese restaurant Hot Pot serves customers in London. While white collar workers trying to avoid contagion can work from home or call in sick if they experience symptoms of the virus, such precautions are not an options for the millions of waiters, delivery workers, cashiers, ride-hailing drivers, museum attendants and countless others who routinely come into contact with the public. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

ROME (AP) – The World Health Organization is declaring that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic.

The assessment comes as Italy is weighing even tighter restrictions on daily life and has announced billions in financial relief to cushion economic shocks from the coronavirus.

Premier Giuseppe Conte says he will consider requests to toughen an already extraordinary lockdown.

The hardest-hit region of Lombardy is pushing for a shutdown of nonessential businesses and public transportation on top of travel and social restrictions. The death toll in Italy has risen to 631. In the U.S., more than 1,000 people have been infected. .

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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