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Latest local & Texas updates:

Here are the latest updates from around Southeast Texas, Texas, Louisiana and some from the world (all times are local Central Daylight Time):
MORE: More Friday nation, world coronavirus updates

>>>> Read SE Texas COVID19 updates from Thusday here <<<<

Key coronavirus updates for Friday, March 27:

  • The House has passed the $2.2 trillion rescue package, rushing it to President Trump for signing.
  • U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) is the fourth member of Congress to test positive for the coronavirus.
  • The U.S. has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, with 94,238 as of 2 p.m. ET Friday.
  • NBA analyst Doris Burke has tested positive for coronavirus.
  • The Navy hospital ship Mercy has arrived in Los Angeles.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Longtime Southeast Texas band director Mike Westbrook has died after contracting COVID-19, multiple sources confirm to 12News.

March 27 5:30 p.m. – Beaumont Public Health Department confirms four positive test results for the coronavirus, bringing the current number to 12 in the city. The individuals are all residents of Beaumont. Of the reports received today, two people are in the age range of 30 and 40-years-old, one person is in the age range of 50 and 60-years-old, and one person is in the age range of 75 and 85-years-old. 

March 27 5 p.m. – Chambers County confirms a person tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The Chambers County Public Health received the positive results from a man who is between 50 and 60-years-old. He lives in East Chambers County and is in good condition. Chambers County currently has a total of three people infected with the virus.

March 27 3:40 p.m. – President Trump signs $2.2 trillion stimulus bill to provide payments to most Americans, rescue virus-hit businesses.

March 27 3:20 p.m. – The City of Port Arthur has reported that two Port Arthur residents have now tested positive for the coronavirus.

March 27 2 p.m. – Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick announced that the six counties represented by the Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center have issued a "stay-at-home order" effective Friday night at 11:59 p.m. through 11:59 p.m. April 10, 2020. Read more here.

March 27 1:30 p.m. – The City of Port Arthur has reported that a person from Groves has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Jefferson County Health Department received the positive results for the person who is between 35 and 45 years-old according to a news release from the City of Port Arthur. The person is cooperating with the health department and is quarantined at home.

March 27 12:35 p.m. – Acting with exceptional resolve in an extraordinary time, the House rushed President Donald Trump a $2.2 trillion rescue package Friday, tossing a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.

March 27 11 a.m. – Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames has issued a stay-at-home order for the city of Beaumont. Read more here.

The order calls for only "essential businesses" to remain open and operational. Local officials  will refer to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's list of "16 sectors deemed critical" to determine what is essential. 

March 27 10 a.m. – A group of 49 Southeast Texas doctors and nine nurse practitioners have released a letter calling for officials to make a stay-a-at-home order similar to the one in Harris County.

"Our hearts go out to everyone in Southeast Texas who have already been affected by this virus and to their families and loved ones. Our hope is that we can mitigate the effects on our communities by taking quick and necessary action," the letter said. Read more here.

March 27 9:50 a.m. – The City of Beaumont has been experiencing a large number of blockages due to disposable wipes according to a Thursday evening Facebook post from the Beaumont Police Department.

The city is asking residents NOT to flush them along with items such as  "baby wipes, paper towels, rags, clothing, or other items not intended to be flushed."

"This also applies to the so-called “flushable wipes” which do not break down and commonly cause blockages. Any of these items, if used, must be placed in a garbage bag and placed inside your garbage can for collection."

March 27 9 a.m. – The House kicked off debate on a $2.2 trillion package to ease the coronavirus pandemic's devastating toll on the U.S. economy and health care system on Friday, even as a maverick conservative threatened to delay passage until most lawmakers return to Washington for a vote. Read more here.

March 27 6:20 a.m. – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus. He made the announcement early Friday on Twitter. 

"Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus," he wrote. "I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."

Scroll down for more updated National & World headlines

The United States has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. passed both Italy and China Thursday and now has 94,238 cases as of 2 p.m. ET Friday. Nearly 1,300 people in the U.S. have died and 753 have recovered.

There are more than 577,000 cases around the world, with 26,000 deaths and 128,000 recovered.

Trump signs $2.2 trillion stimulus bill to provide payments to most Americans, rescue virus-hit businesses

President Donald Trump has signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress this week. The package will support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic. As he signed the bill Friday, Trump declared it “will deliver urgently needed relief.” He thanked members of both parties for putting Americans “first.” The House passed the legislation earlier Friday by voice vote. The legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks.  

Trump issues order in effort to force General Motors to produce ventilators under Defense Production Act

President Donald Trump has issued an order that the government can use to require General Motors to produce ventilators under Defense Production Act.

Trump signed the order Friday in the Oval Office as health professionals around the country lamented shortages of the machines that help patients with the coronavirus breathe.

In a joint statement, GM and Ventec Life Systems said they will build critical care ventilators at GM's manufacturing plant in Kokomo, Indiana, and start shipping them as soon as next month. GM also is to produce surgical masks at its plant in Warren, Michigan, that can be used by health care workers.

In a statement, the White House accused GM of wasting time in the contracting process.

"Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," the statement said.

U.S. House passes $2.2T rescue package, rushes it to Trump for signing

The House has approved a $2.2 trillion rescue package, rushing it to President Donald Trump for his signature. The measure tosses a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.

The House approved the sweeping measure by a voice vote, as strong majorities of both parties lined up behind the most colossal economic relief bill in the nation's history. It will ship payments of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans, bolster unemployment benefits, and offer loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses large and small. It also will flush billions more to states, local governments and the nation's all but overwhelmed health care system. 

Trump said he would sign it immediately.  

Congressman Joe Cunningham tests positive for COVID-19

Congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC) has tested positive for COVID-19. Cunningham had been in self-quarantine since March 19 after coming in contact with a member of congress who had tested positive for coronavirus.  

Cunningham said he was tested for the disease after realizing he was unable to smell or taste, a potential symptom of COVID-19. 

"While my symptoms have begun to improve, I will remain at home until I know it is safe to leave self-quarantine. I will continue to tele-work from home as Congress conducts its ongoing response to this public health crisis and my office will continue its urgent work of serving the people of the Lowcountry," Cunningham said in a statement. 

Cunningham becomes the fourth member of congress to test positive. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep. Ben McAdams (R-UT) all tested positive earlier this month. 

Italy overtakes China in coronavirus infections

Italy has become the second country to overtake China in coronavirus infections, reaching 86,498 cases. That came on the same day it recorded its single biggest rise in deaths, with 969 more victims. 

Italy has recorded more virus-related deaths than any other country in the world, with 9,134. Virus deaths are also surging in Spain and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has tested positive for the disease. 

In the United States, the number of infections surged to more than anywhere else in the world amid warnings that the pandemic might be accelerating in major urban areas like New York, Chicago and Detroit.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID-19

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus. He made the announcement early Friday on Twitter. 

"Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus," he wrote. "I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."

South Korea to stop any passenger with a mild fever

South Korea says it will block any passenger with even a mild fever from entering the country starting next week to counter a rise in coronavirus cases linked to arrivals from abroad.

Health Ministry official Koh Deuk-young on Friday said all airlines flying to South Korea from Monday will be required to screen passengers for fevers and deny boarding anyone with a temperature higher than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Koh says airlines will refund tickets for those who are denied flights.

16-year-old in France dies from virus

A 16-year-old French schoolgirl from the Essonne region has become the youngest person in the country to die from COVID-19.

The girl, called Julie and whose surname has not been revealed, was hospitalized Monday and died Tuesday evening at the Necker children’s hospital in Paris.

Her older sister, Manon, spoke to the French press to warn that “we must stop believing that this only affects the elderly. No one is invincible against this mutant virus.”

Russia reaches 1,000 cases

Russia's coronavirus caseload surpassed 1,000 on Friday, reflecting growing infection rate in the country which for weeks has reported comparatively low numbers.

The Russian government registered 196 new infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total to 1,036, and the third death. Forty-five people have recovered, officials said.

Russian authorities have ramped up testing this week after wide-spread criticism of insufficient screening.

Southwest Airlines cutting flights Friday

Southwest Airlines will cancel approximately 40% of its daily flights starting Friday. It's the latest move by U.S. airlines to respond to the decreased demand in air travel as people stay home and practice social distancing.

American Airlines announced this week it will limit food and drink service in the main cabin based on the length of the flight and destination as a way to cut down on interactions. Passengers are welcome to bring their own food or drink.

South Africa reports first deaths

South Africa has announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus as the country's cases rise above 1,000.

The health minister says in a statement that the deaths occurred in Western Cape province.

South Africa has the most cases in Africa and as of midnight entered a three-week lockdown. The military is in the streets helping to enforce measures that include bans on alcohol sales. Concerns are high about water supply in crowded, low-income townships.

Appeals grow to close US national parks

National Parks are one of the places you can still go to get away from the anxiety of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Trump administration is sticking with its crowd-friendly waiver of entrance fees at national parks. That's even as managers at some parks try and fail to keep tens of thousands of hikers and tourists a safe distance apart and as communities appeal for shutdowns at some parks that are still open. 

Communities around Grand Canyon National Park are among those asking for a shutdown, saying they fear more local spread of the coronavirus. The Interior Department says there's been no decision on that request.

MLB may increase doubleheaders; hold playoffs at neutral sites

An agreement expected to be passed Friday between Major League Baseball and its players includes a "good faith effort" to schedule as many games as possible this year, subject to government rules, travel, player health and economic feasibility, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

They also agreed to consider playing past the usual end of the postseason in late October and early November, even if it involves using neutral sites and domes. They would consider a large increase in doubleheaders to get as many games in as they can, to play without fans and to revise the postseason format.

Seven-inning games for doubleheaders have not been given much discussion but also have not been ruled out.

R. Kelly asks for release from jail

Singer R. Kelly has cited the novel coronavirus in asking a federal judge to free him from a federal jail in Chicago as he awaits trial on child pornography and other charges.

A Thursday court filing by his lawyers saying scant precautions to stem the spread of the virus behind bars put Kelly's life at risk. The filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago says sanitizer and even soap is hard to come by in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, with most of its 700 inmates held in small, two-man cells that make the kind of social distancing called for to thwart the transmission of COVID-19 impossible.

House to vote on $2.2 trillion rescue bill

The House is set to pass the sprawling, $2.2 trillion measure Friday morning after an extraordinary 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday. President Donald Trump marveled at the unanimity Thursday and is eager to sign the package into law.

The legislation will pour $1,200 direct payments to individuals and a flood of subsidized loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses facing extinction in an economic shutdown caused as Americans self-isolate by the tens of millions. It dwarfs prior Washington efforts to take on economic crises and natural disasters, such as the 2008 Wall Street bailout and President Barack Obama’s first-year economic recovery act.

But key elements are untested, such as grants to small businesses to keep workers on payroll and complex lending programs to larger businesses. Millions of rebate payments will go to people who have retained their jobs.

Policymakers worry that bureaucracies like the Small Business Administration may become overwhelmed, and conservatives fear that a new, generous unemployment benefit will dissuade jobless people from returning to the workforce. A new $500 billion subsidized lending program for larger businesses is unproven as well.

Navy hospital ship Mercy to arrive in Los Angeles

The U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy is set to arrive in Los Angeles Friday. Doctors will be able to perform surgery in nine operating rooms and the ship will be able to treat intensive care patients.

The ship will have 1,128 active-duty medical personnel on board, 58 reservists and nine of its 12 operating rooms will be ready to perform surgeries.

Trump questions if New York needs 40,000 ventilators

During an interview Thursday with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump dismissed desperate calls from governors, including New York's Andrew Cuomo, who have pleaded for additional ventilators to help treat patients with COVID-19.

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," Trump said, referencing New York's request of the federal government.

New York City alone has more than 23,000 cases and 365 deaths, accounting for more than one-quarter of the U.S. total.

On a conference call with governors Thursday, Trump stressed the need to reopen businesses and to recognize regional differences in the virus’ impact.

“We all have to get smart,” Trump said on the call, audio of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “We have to open up our country, I'm sorry.”

Trump says that federal officials are developing guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread, as he aims to begin to ease nationwide guidelines meant to spread the curb the virus spread.

Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction, the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system, as it has in parts of Italy, leading to many more deaths.

RELATED: Trump says feds developing new guidelines to rate counties for coronavirus risk

EPA has stopped enforcing environmental laws

The Trump administration says it will forgo a sweeping range of public health and environmental enforcement during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the move Thursday, saying the pandemic could make it difficult for companies to comply with public health and environment laws.

The EPA says it won't fine businesses for failing to monitor or report hazardous pollutants if they can show the coronavirus played a role.

EPA chief Andrew Wheeler calls it a temporary measure for “extraordinary conditions."

Environmental groups and former EPA officials call it unprecedented and a license to pollute.

RELATED: Citing virus, EPA has stopped enforcing environmental laws

Evangeline Lilly apologizes

"Ant-Man and The Wasp" star Evangeline Lilly is apologizing for refusing to self-quarantine.

"I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology for the insensitivity I showed in my previous post to the very real suffering and fear that has gripped the world through COVID19. Grandparents, parents, children, sisters and brothers are dying, the world is rallying to find a way to stop this very real threat, and my ensuing silence has sent a dismissive, arrogant and cryptic message," Lilly wrote on Instagram Thursday.

In a March 16 post, Lilly reportedly downplayed the threat as a "respiratory flu" and that she felt the country was moving too close to martial law.