April 6 coronavirus news

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1:00 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Australia launches criminal investigation into docking of Ruby Princess cruise ship

From CNN's Eric Cheung and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Cruise liner Ruby Princess sits in the harbour in Port Kembla, 80km south of Sydney after coming in to refuel and restock on April 6.
Cruise liner Ruby Princess sits in the harbour in Port Kembla, 80km south of Sydney after coming in to refuel and restock on April 6. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's New South Wales police have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the docking and disembarking of the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which created a major cluster of coronavirus cases, police said in a statement Sunday.

The investigation will "fully examine" the communications and actions that allowed passengers to disembark from the cruise ship in Sydney on March 19, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said in a statement. 

It is expected that the investigation will involve interviewing thousands of witnesses, including the ship's captain, doctors, crew members, and passengers, and officials from the federal and state government.

“After reviewing the information at hand, the only way I can determine whether our national biosecurity laws or our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation," Fuller said.

Here's what the NSW Department of Health said last Friday:

  • "No cases of Covid-19 were identified" at the time when the ship docked.
  • The vast majority of passengers did not report symptoms until after leaving the ship.
  • As of last Friday, at least 342 people are confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 from the ship, it added.

Up to 200 of the 1,040 crew members onboard the ship have displayed coronavirus-like symptoms, while 16 have returned positive results for Covid-19, NSW Police said.

Meanwhile, the Ruby Princess will continue to berth at Port Kembla for up to 10 days to allow for safer access for medical assessments, NSW police said Monday.

Health authorities will carry out "medical assessments, treatment, or emergency extractions of her crew," according to a police statement.

"The berthing will be conducted under strict health and biosecurity guidelines and will not pose a risk to employees at the port or the broader community," the statement adds. "She will also be refueling and restocking provisions, as required for her home journey."

Crew members will not be allowed to disembark unless in an emergency and approved by the police commissioner.

12:50 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Coronavirus cases in India pass 4,000

From Swati Gupta in New Delhi

A municipal worker fumigates a residential area in Prayagraj, India, on April 4.
A municipal worker fumigates a residential area in Prayagraj, India, on April 4. Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced on Monday that 4,067 people in total have tested positive for novel coronavirus.

A total of 109 people have died as a result of contracting the virus, according to the ministry. 

Last week, one of Asia's biggest slums, located in Mumbai, confirmed its first coronavirus death and top Indian doctors warned that the country must prepare to face an "onslaught" of cases.

Read more on that here:

12:35 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

South Korea's new cases drop to lowest in more than six weeks

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

City officials wearing protective clothing arrive at a coronavirus testing station set up at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul on April 3.
City officials wearing protective clothing arrive at a coronavirus testing station set up at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul on April 3. Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea is extending its social distancing campaign for two more weeks until April 19, as the number of new coronavirus cases in the country fell to the lowest in over six weeks.

On Monday, the country reported 47 new cases, the first time since February 18 that the number has dropped below 50, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). 

However, Kim Ganlip, the country's Vice Health Minister, said it would be “too soon to tell if the infection is on a declining trend from this number alone,” noting that there was also a decreased amount of testing over the weekend. 

All religious facilities, indoor gyms, and recreational facilities like bars and karaoke rooms will be closed for two more weeks, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun announced Saturday.

The number of daily new infection cases would need to remain below 50 for the government to consider an end to the social distancing campaign, he said.

As of Monday, South Korea has reported 10,284 confirmed cases and 186 deaths from the coronavirus.

12:27 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

US reports 25,544 new cases and at least 1,147 new deaths on Sunday

At least 337,620 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed at least 9,643 people in the US.

On Sunday, at least 25,544 new cases and at least 1,147 new deaths were reported in the US.

Sunday’s total number of cases and deaths were lower than the numbers reported on Saturday, which were the country's highest to date at 34,123 new cases reported and 1,344 deaths.

Over the weekend:

  • Friday: 1,169 new deaths were reported in the US.
  • Saturday: 1,344
  • Sunday: 1,147

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

Wyoming is the only state not reporting a death from coronavirus.

CNN is keeping track of coronavirus cases across the US and an interactive map can be found here:

 

12:14 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Sydney closes more beaches after crowds gathered over the weekend

Surfers walk along Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia on April 5.
Surfers walk along Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia on April 5. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Sydney is closing more of its beaches until after Easter as crowds defied social distancing rules and gathered to take in the sun and sea over the weekend.

From Tuesday, five beaches will be closed until after the Easter long weekend, according to the Northern Beaches Council.

They include:

  • Dee Why Beach
  • Manly
  • Shelly Beach
  • North Steyne
  • Queenscliff

The closures will be reviewed on April 14 ahead of any decision to reopen.

New South Wales health authorities said Manly and Dee Why beaches have become hotspots for community transmissions of Covid-19.

“If people continue to hang out and loiter, we will have no choice but to keep closing the beaches like we have been over the past few weeks," said Mayor Michael Regan.

It comes about two weeks after authorities closed the city's iconic Bondi Beach after massive crowds gathered there.

On March 27, the Sydney district of Waverley Council reported more coronavirus cases than any district in Australia, Mayor Paula Masselos said in a statement.

Waverley includes some of Sydney's famous beaches, including Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte.

Surfers ride waves at Freshwater Beach in Sydney on on April 5.
Surfers ride waves at Freshwater Beach in Sydney on on April 5. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
12:01 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

It's midnight in New York and midday in Beijing. Here's a global breakdown of the coronavirus pandemic

Bodies are moved to a refrigerator truck serving as a temporary morgue outside of Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn, New York on April 4.
Bodies are moved to a refrigerator truck serving as a temporary morgue outside of Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn, New York on April 4. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to batter much of the world, with total global cases past 1.27 million.

The US now has more than four times China's total cases, and is the worst-hit country.

This is how the pandemic looks around the world:

  • Chaos in the US: The US has more than 337,000 cases, with New York at the epicenter. Most of the country is under movement restrictions, with people ordered to stay at home except for essential reasons. Emergency personnel and medical staff have spoken of insufficient resources, war-like conditions, exhaustion and fear. In one New York hospital, six patients went into cardiac arrest and four died within 40 minutes.
  • China returns to normal life: The past few weeks have seen the rate of new daily cases drop dramatically in mainland China, according to government figures. Yesterday, China reported 39 new cases nationwide and just one death -- a striking contrast to the thousands of new cases reported each day during the peak in February. Restrictions are now lifting and people are returning to normal life; photos this weekend show hikers crammed onto a famous mountain.
  • Controversy in Japan: The daily count of new coronavirus cases in Japan has doubled in the past week. Many have criticized the government's handling of the crisis: the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to declare a state of emergency or lock down Tokyo, and patients have had difficulty getting tested. To make things worse, people are reluctant to work from home, continue to gather outside, and are commuting during rush hours.
  • Slowdown in parts of Europe: Spain, Italy, Germany, and France are the four countries with the highest number of cases after the US. But evidence suggests the worst may have passed for some of these places; yesterday Spain saw the lowest rise in deaths since early March. Meanwhile, the mood in the UK is grim, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted to hospital and the Queen giving a rare national address.
  • Cases spike in Iran: Iran, which became the epicenter of the Middle East outbreak in March, is still seeing high numbers -- 2,483 new cases in 24 hours were reported yesterday. Despite this, the President said yesterday that foreign media "exaggerate the issue," and that some restrictions will be lifted this week, allowing "low-risk businesses" to return to work.
11:43 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Britain's Queen called for unity in a rare address to the nation

A woman watches Queen Elizabeth II's televised address to the nation on April 5, in Glasgow, Scotland.
A woman watches Queen Elizabeth II's televised address to the nation on April 5, in Glasgow, Scotland. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II offered reassurance to the British public and called for unity on Sunday in a rare televised speech.

"Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it," the Queen said. " I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge."

The address comes as UK authorities warn people to stay at home, and as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital for tests, after days of coronavirus symptoms. Johnson tested positive for the virus on March 27.

It's extremely rare for the Queen to address the nation like this: She typically only speaks to the country during an annual televised Christmas message and when a new parliament is installed.

She's only held these types of emergency national addresses a handful of times in history -- one time during World War Two, which she alluded to during her speech on Sunday.

"It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety," the Queen said, adding "today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones." 

The Queen, 93, concluded by again calling for unity saying, "we will succeed."

11:26 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Singapore reports its biggest daily jump in cases, locks down two worker dormitories

From Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Ambulances are seen at the National Center for Infectious Diseases, where coronavirus patients are being treated, in Singapore on April 3.
Ambulances are seen at the National Center for Infectious Diseases, where coronavirus patients are being treated, in Singapore on April 3. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore has reported 120 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours -- its biggest daily jump of reported infections since the coronavirus outbreak began -- the country's Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The cases were reported from 12 p.m. Saturday to 12 p.m. Sunday, Singapore time.

Of the new infections, 116 were identified as local cases with no recent travel history.

Fifty cases were linked to existing clusters, while contact tracing is ongoing for the remaining 66, the statement said.

Dormitories locked down: On Sunday, Singapore said that it has locked down two foreign worker dormitories as the number of reported cases continued to rise, according to another notice posted by the Ministry of Health. 

The dormitories, the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol and Westlite Toh Guan dormitory, have been declared isolation areas. Foreign workers are banned from moving between blocks or reporting to work for 14 days, but will continue to receive their salary during this period.

The S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, has 13,000 resident workers, while Westlite Toh Guan has 6,800.

11:10 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

India has closed its railways for the first time in 167 years. Now trains are being turned into hospitals

From Hema Ramaprasad for CNN

Laborers work on train coaches that will be used as temporary isolation wards in preparation for coronavirus-infected patients at a workshop in Allahabad on April 4, 2020.
Laborers work on train coaches that will be used as temporary isolation wards in preparation for coronavirus-infected patients at a workshop in Allahabad on April 4, 2020. Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25, Indian Railways took the unprecedented move of suspending passenger trains across the country until April 14.

It was the first time in 167 years that Asia's oldest rail network had been suspended.

Now the railway network has decided to convert as many as 20,000 old train carriages into isolation wards for patients as the virus spreads.

The network, which is the world's fourth-largest rail operator and India's biggest employer, already operates 125 hospitals across the nation, so has the expertise to expand into mobile beds.

While India's hospital system isn't overwhelmed yet, the repurposed trains could ease some of the pressure if the number of coronavirus patients begin to rise.

For more on how India is turning train carriages into turn into hospitals, read here: