Over three billion people around the world were locked on Wednesday as governments stepped up their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, which killed more than 20,000 people.
As the number of confirmed cases rose to over 450,000 worldwide, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that only a concerted global effort could stop the virus from spreading.
The number of deaths in Spain exceeded that in China, where the novel corona virus first appeared three months ago, making it the most affected nation after Italy.
According to an AFP balance sheet, more than 20,800 deaths have now been reported in 182 countries and territories.
Stock markets rallied after Congress neared a $ 2.2 trillion aid package to support a fluctuating US economy.
In Washington, President Donald Trump, New York, said the epicenter of the US outbreak, with over 30,000 cases, was likely to have some "tough weeks" ahead of him, but would soon decide whether unaffected parts of the country could go back to work.
"We want to get our country back on track," said Trump. "I will not do anything rash or hasty.
"We'll have a recommendation by Easter, and maybe before Easter," said Trump, who campaigned for a strong US economy in a November election.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said the world must ban together to curb the pandemic.
"COVID-19 threatens all of humanity – and all of humanity must defend itself," he said, appealing to $ 2 billion to help the world's poor.
"Global action and solidarity are crucial," he said. "Individual country responses will not be enough."
"Two deaths in Russia"
India's mandate to stay at home is now the largest for its 1.3 billion people. The total number of people facing limitations in their daily lives is over three billion.
Indians ran for supplies after instructing the world's second largest population not to leave their homes for three weeks.
Russia, which announced the death of two patients who tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, is expected to follow.
President Vladimir Putin declared a holiday next week and postponed a public vote on controversial constitutional reforms. He asked people to follow the authorities' instructions.
In Britain, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, was the last high-profile infected person, although he had only mild symptoms.
The major economies of the G20 will hold a video conference on Thursday to discuss a global response to the crisis, as will the 27 leaders of the European Union, the new epicenter of the outbreak.
China has started to loosen its own draconian restrictions on freedom of movement in Hubei province – where the outbreak started in December – after the country failed to report new cases.
Crowds blocked trains and buses in the province when people took their first opportunity to travel.
In Spain, the death toll rose to more than 3,400 after 738 had died in the last 24 hours, and the government announced a contract for € 432 million ($ 467 million) to buy medical care from Beijing.
The number of deaths in Italy rose by 683 in 24 hours to 7,503 – by far the highest of all countries.
The number of French deaths rose by 231 on Wednesday to over 1,330, and metro and rail traffic in Paris was reduced to a minimum.
Together with Spain and Italy, France and six other EU countries urged Germany and the Netherlands to allow the issuance of common European bonds to lower credit costs and stabilize the eurozone economy.
The call will likely fall on deaf ears when EU leaders speak Thursday – with members from the north who are careful not to pool debt with large donors – but they will sign an "unprecedented" recovery plan.
"People who die alone"
At the La Paz University Hospital in Madrid, nurse Guillen del Barrio sounded disappointed when he told what had happened overnight.
"It's really hard, we had feverish people in the waiting room for many hours," the 30-year-old told AFP.
"Many of my colleagues cried because there were people who die alone without seeing their family for the last time."
Coronavirus cases also spread in the Middle East, where the deaths in Iran exceeded 2,000, and in Africa, where Mali declared his first case and several nations announced a state of emergency.
In Japan, which postponed this year's Olympic Games, the Tokyo governor urged residents to stay home this weekend and warned of a possible "explosion" of the corona virus.
Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which Christians believed to be home to Christ's tomb, was closed when Israel tightened restrictions on movement.
The effects of the pandemic also affect European football. Leagues and tournaments were canceled while the fate of the Wimbledon tennis tournament could be decided next week.
The virus' economic damage – and closures – could also be devastating, as fears of a global recession are worse than the financial crisis over a decade ago.
However, financial markets rose after the US government reached agreement on a stimulus package worth approximately 10 percent of the US economy. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, said this was an "investment level in wartime."
More than half of all Americans have now been ordered to stay at home, including residents of the largest state of California.
The United States has at least 65,700 cases and 942 people have died.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)