Elsewhere, President Donald Trump invoked a federal provision, known as the Defense Production Act, allows the government to marshal the private sector in response to the pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 1,600 points Wednesday and fell below the 20,000 mark, effectively erasing all the gains made since Trump took office.
The Trump administration is also pressing Congress to swiftly pass a potentially $1 trillion rescue package to prop up the economy and speed relief checks to Americans in a matter of weeks.
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With a growing number of Americans thrown out of work by the near-shutdown of much of the U.S. economy, Trump said the Housing and Urban Development Department will suspend foreclosures and evictions from public housing through April.
The administration was said to be considering a plan to turn back all people who cross into the United States illegally from Mexico.
Trump, also on Wednesday, closed the nation's northern border with Canada. On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Thoreau did the same.