U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department on March 17. Photo: Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images

The State Department is suspending "routine visa services in most countries worldwide" for immigrants and nonimmigrants in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the agency said Wednesday.

What's happening: Visa appointments — a crucial step for U.S. immigrants — will be canceled in all countries with a travel advisory level of 2, 3 or 4 as of Wednesday, a State Department spokesperson told Axios.

  • Affected countries include the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Israel, South Korea, Italy, Japan, France, Ukraine, Russia, India, Denmark, Turkey and Brazil.
  • The visa waiver program, which allows citizens to visit the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without a visa, will not be affected, the agency said on its website Wednesday.

What they're saying: "As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services. These Embassies will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time," the State Department said on its website.

Go deeper: ICE pauses most immigration enforcement amid coronavirus outbreak

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South Carolina restaurants and bars will have to close alcohol sales by 11 p.m., beginning Saturday, under an order issued Friday by Gov. Henry McMaster.

The big picture: The U.S. had another record single-day spike of 63,200 new coronavirus cases from Thursday. COVID-19 cases in South Carolina have increased, with 21,560 cases recorded in the last two weeks.

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The coronavirus pandemic's spread around the globe looks to be intensifying, bringing closer a worst-case scenario in which many of the world's developing countries are left with economic damage that is deep and long-lasting.

Why it matters: The Great Lockdown, as the IMF calls it, is pushing the world into a synchronized recession unlike any seen before.

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Houston hospitals near capacity as coronavirus cases climb statewide

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97% of intensive care beds in Houston's Texas Medical Center are occupied as of Wednesday.

Why it matters: Houston is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Texas. The state reported a record number of coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, per the state health department — which is not purely due to expanded testing.