John Ruwitch

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When the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona was in his 60s, a story came out that described a time when he was "physically mistreated by bad men who, for a while, kept [him] in prison." It was a reference to the five-and-a-half years he had spent in harsh captivity in Hanoi after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War.

China has joined a global effort aimed at fair and equitable distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once one becomes available — an effort the Trump administration has shunned.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, known as COVAX, is jointly led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, an alliance promoting access to vaccines.

In recent weeks, U.S.-China relations have unraveled with alarming speed, and some analysts say they are now at their worst since the two countries normalized diplomatic ties in 1979.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration ordered China's consulate in Houston to close, a step that significantly amps up the tension in already fraught relations between the world's top two economies.

Before Justinian Huang left Shanghai for some beach time in Malaysia last winter, he took his dog Swagger to stay with a friend.

"I dropped him off. I kissed him goodbye. I was like, 'I'm going to see you in six days,' " Huang recounts. "That was Jan. 23 of this year."

That week the coronavirus spread with alarming speed in China. So Huang decided to wait it out in Malaysia a few extra days. Then he flew to Taiwan, where he has family, and finally home to the United States.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared this week that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous from China "to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997." The decision followed Beijing's announcement that it would draft sweeping national security legislation for the former British colony, sidestepping the city's own legislature to outlaw secession, subversion and terrorism.

The race for a coronavirus vaccine is on.

This week, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. reported promising preliminary results for the vaccine it is developing. It's one of eight vaccines under development that have been approved for clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

Updated at 9:41 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday blasted the head of the World Health Organization for bowing to Chinese pressure and not inviting Taiwan to attend the body's annual meeting, damaging its credibility at a crucial time.

The World Health Assembly started on Monday amid the worst pandemic in modern history.

Taiwan's handling of COVID-19 has won plaudits around the world, creating a historic public relations opportunity for the diplomatically isolated island.

Whether that leads to a higher profile on the international stage or a flare-up in tensions with Beijing — which regards Taiwan as Chinese territory — will depend on how the two sides play their cards at this pivotal moment, experts say.

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With health officials now urging all Americans to cover their faces in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and a growing list of places requiring it, millions of people are getting creative to try and do their part - pulling out sewing kits, ripping up T-shirts and repurposing everything from vacuum filters to old bras. Seriously.

China's ruling Communist Party is investigating outspoken former real estate executive Ren Zhiqiang, who criticized Chinese leader Xi Jinping last month for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

In an announcement posted online, the Beijing branch of the party's internal corruption watchdog said Ren, a party member, was suspected of "serious violations of discipline and the law."

China on Tuesday reported no deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since it began publishing data about the outbreak more than two months ago.

The milestone comes a day before the government is set to lift outbound travel restrictions on people in Wuhan, the country's hardest-hit city.

With a population of more than 10 million people, Wuhan has been under lockdown since Jan. 23 in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. The first cases of infection with the coronavirus were detected in Wuhan in December.

The traffic jams of Los Angeles are legendary, with cars often inching along for miles, bumper to bumper.

But you can add LA gridlock to the long list of things that the coronavirus pandemic has changed.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

China will close its borders to foreigners starting on Saturday, March 28, in a dramatic step to try to stop the coronavirus coming in from abroad.

The move is the latest in a string of tough steps by the Chinese government to combat the virus, which first appeared in the city of Wuhan late last year and has spread widely since.

Now that China appears to have snuffed out local transmission of the coronavirus, it is trying hard to keep the disease from rebounding back in from abroad. China has reported just a handful of new domestic COVID-19 cases in recent days, but has seen a spike in cases coming in from elsewhere.

As thousands of travelers have begun entering China in anticipation of the eventual return to normalcy, the government has put in place a strict regime of health checks, monitoring and quarantine in the hope that it can catch any new inbound cases before infections can spread.