Big Three automakers closing factories to protect workers from coronavirus

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America’s economic fallout from the coronavirus continued at a dizzying rate on Wednesday with news that Detroit's Big Three automakers are shutting down all their factories to protect workers.

Two people briefed on the matter said Wednesday that Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler agreed to close all their factories. The two spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press because the closings had not been announced.


The move would idle about 150,000 workers, who are likely to receive supplemental pay in addition to unemployment benefits.

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.