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World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

By NICOLE WINFIELD, COLLEEN BARRY and JOHN LEICESTER Associated Press

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. .

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