German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo by John MacDougall/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The German government is banning public gatherings of more than two people to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, stopping just short of confining people to their homes Bloomberg reports.

Driving the news: Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after coming in contact with a doctor who tested positive for the virus.

Why it matters: Countries across Europe, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic, have imposed stringent social distancing measures in an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading as it has in Italy, where more than 4,800 people have died. Merkel has thus far opposed a full lockdown.

  • Families and people who live together will be exempt from the rule, which will be enforced by German police. The agreement was struck after a meeting between Merkel, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the leaders of the 16 German states. 
  • The virus has infected almost 24,000 people in Germany and has claimed at least 92 lives, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The big picture: Like other countries around the world, Germany is adopting policies to abate the economic damage caused by the outbreak.

  • The government is on track to adopt fiscal measures worth up to €500 billion ($538 billion) to support its economy, which is Europe's largest, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Strict measures on public gatherings could exacerbate the economic damage caused by the virus but are necessary to prevent new infections.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
34 mins ago - Economy & Business

Investors have nowhere to hide

Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The massive losses in oil prices and U.S. and European equities were not countered by gains in traditional safe-haven assets on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The unusual movement in typical hedging tools like bonds, precious metals and currencies means they are not providing investors an asset that will appreciate in the event of a major equity selloff.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
38 mins ago - Sports

A look inside sports owners' political donations

Data: ESPN/FiveThirtyEight; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sports team owners in the four largest North American leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) have donated over $46 million in federal elections since 2015, according to research conducted by ESPN and FiveThirtyEight.

By the numbers: Over the past three elections, $35.7 million of that money (77.4%) has gone to Republican campaigns and super PACs, compared to $10.4 million (22.6%) to Democrats.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  4. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.