April 8 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Fernando Alfonso III, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:35 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
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7:12 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Covid-19 cases surpass 10,000 in Africa, WHO says

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Laboratory technicians test patient samples for coronavirus at the Pathologists Lancet Kenya laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya on April 5.
Laboratory technicians test patient samples for coronavirus at the Pathologists Lancet Kenya laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya on April 5. Brian Inganga/AP

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the continent of Africa has climbed to more than 10,000 and caused more than 500 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday.

Africa's first Covid-19 case was reported in Egypt in February and the novel coronavirus has spread since then. However the number of cases has grown "exponentially" in recent weeks, according to WHO officials.

"COVID-19 has the potential not only to cause thousands of deaths, but to also unleash economic and social devastation. Its spread beyond major cities means the opening of a new front in our fight against this virus," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, in a written statement Wednesday.  

"This requires a decentralised response, which is tailored to the local context," Moeti said. "Communities need to be empowered, and provincial and district levels of government need to ensure they have the resources and expertise to respond to outbreaks locally."

The statement noted that WHO has been working with governments across Africa to "scale up" their response capacities when it comes to coordination, surveillance, testing, isolation, case management, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement during the coronavirus pandemic.

7:16 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Tesla furloughs staff and slashes salaries until June

From CNN’s Sherisse Pham and Peter Valdes-Dapena

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla is telling staff to brace for pay cuts and furloughs as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts operations and cripples demand. 

Starting next Monday, US employees at the electric car company who hold director and vice president-level roles and above will see pay reductions of 20% to 30%, and "everyone else" will receive a pay cut of 10%, according to an internal email obtained by CNN Business. 

The reductions are expected to be in place until the end of June. Pay rises and equity grants will also be put on hold. 

Non-US employees will also face similar reductions, according to the email.

Tesla is running "minimum critical operations" at the moment, and expects to resume full operations at US plants in early May "barring any significant changes," the email said. 

But until then, the company needs to manage costs, and implement what it calls "a shared sacrifice ... during these challenging times." 

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment outside of working hours.

Employees who can't work from home and haven't been assigned to critical work on site will be furloughed, and the majority of furloughed staff will receive unemployment benefits "roughly equivalent to take home pay," the email said. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted major automakers' operations around the world. Volkswagen, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and others have had to close plants or suspend operations across Europe and Asia. 

Tesla recently opened a factory in Shanghai, where production of its Model 3 car was delayed earlier this year because of the outbreak. 

In the United States, the current epicenter of the pandemic, car sales have plummeted as millions across the country have been told to stay at home except for essentials such as shopping for food, drugs or seeking medical care.

Other major corporations, including automakers like Ford, have also announced executive pay cuts to mitigate the consequences of the outbreak.

6:29 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

US stock futures retreat on coronavirus caution

From CNN Business

US futures lost ground Wednesday as economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic continues to mount.

Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite futures were all down by just under 0.2%, and US stocks were slightly lower after declines Tuesday on Wall Street.

Caution has once again taken hold as investors weigh the effects of the pandemic, said Jingyi Pan, a strategist for IG Group.

US crude settled sharply lower at $23.63 a barrel Tuesday, down 9.4% from the previous day. Futures rebounded 2.8% on Wednesday to trade at $24.29 a barrel.

The moves come ahead of an OPEC meeting with Russia on Thursday to discuss oil production cuts in response to plummeting demand and to deescalate a price war.

7:19 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Pet cats in coronavirus-infected or self-isolating households should be kept inside if possible, says UK vet association

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac in London

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Cats from coronavirus-infected households, or those with owners self-isolating, should be kept indoors as a precaution, said the British veterinary association.

But cats should not be forced to stay inside if it causes them stress, it added.

There have been a “tiny” number of Covid-19 cases in animals but it appears the transmission was human to animal, said the association in a statement.

“There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners,” it added.

So far, dogs have not shown any symptoms but cats have displayed “clinical signs of the disease.” 

The association warns that the virus can sit on pet fur in the same way as on other surfaces. Handwashing is the best line of defense, it advises. 

“As a precaution, for pet owners who have Covid-19,or who are self-isolating, we are recommending that you keep your cat inside during that time, if possible,” it said.

7:09 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Spain coronavirus deaths rise for second day in a row

From CNN’s Al Goodman and Ingrid Formanek in Madrid

Undertakers lower a coffin at La Almudena cemetery in Madrid, Spain on April 7.
Undertakers lower a coffin at La Almudena cemetery in Madrid, Spain on April 7. Alejandro Martinez Velez/Sputnik via AP

Spain has recorded its second consecutive daily increase in the number of deaths from coronavirus following a week-long decline, according to data from the Health Ministry released Wednesday. 

Figures show 757 people died in the past 24 hours, an increase from 743 deaths recorded the previous day. However it was only a 5.5% in relation to the total number of deaths, a slight slowdown compared to Tuesday’s 5.7% rise on the total.

According to the Health Ministry 14,555 people have now died from the novel coronavirus in Spain.

The number of active cases has also gone up from 83,504 to 84,111, an increase of 610, which is the lowest in nearly a month. Percentage-wise, there was a growth of 0.7% on Tuesday’s numbers, the lowest since the outbreak began.

The Health Ministry also reported 48,021 people have now recovered from the virus, 4,813 more than the number reported Tuesday.

Spanish officials did not report the number of patients in intensive care (ICU), the first time this has been left out since reporting began. This is because the Health Ministry wants all of Spain's 17 regions to report the accumulated cases of such patients, but it says that five regions have been reporting only the current number of patients in ICU rather than the accumulated number.

The Ministry said it would report the ICU figures again once all regions are reporting them the same way.

5:46 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron to address the nation Thursday

From Pierre Bairin in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech during a visit to the Kolmi-Hopen protective face masks factory in Saint-Barthelemy-d'Anjou, France, on March 31.
French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech during a visit to the Kolmi-Hopen protective face masks factory in Saint-Barthelemy-d'Anjou, France, on March 31. Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation Thursday regarding the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The country has now seen more than 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths and has moved to tighten local confinement measures.

The city of Paris has prohibited any individual sporting activity outdoors between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. local as of Wednesday, while authorities in the city of Biarritz have prohibited sitting on benches for more than two minutes.

"It is important that everyone understands that we absolutely need strict compliance with confinement," said French health authority director Jerome Salomon Tuesday.

"A slackening would be extremely dangerous for the patients, for the caregivers.”

5:59 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

At least 399,929 coronavirus cases in the US, with 12,911 deaths

From CNN's Joe Sutton

There are at least 399,929 cases of coronavirus in the US, with 12,911 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

This includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

Wyoming is the only state not to report a death from coronavirus.

The US hit another record for most deaths from coronavirus in a single day Tuesday, but President Donald Trump said he would love to start the economy back up “with a big bang,” opening the entire country back to business all at once.

"We’re way under any of the polls or any of the models as they call them,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Tuesday night.

“We are way under, and we hope to keep it that way, in terms of death.”

5:44 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

China reports 62 new cases of coronavirus and two deaths

From Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong and Sophie Jeong in Seoul

China reported 62 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, with all but three of them imported, according to the country’s National Health Commission (NHC).

There were also two new coronavirus-related deaths. The 62 newly confirmed cases raises the national case total to 81,802, with 3,333 dead. Doctors have successfully treated 77,279 patients who have now recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

This Monday was the first time China saw no daily increase in coronavirus-related deaths since the NHC began releasing daily updates in late January.

5:41 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Pope says Covid-19 pandemic could be nature's "response" to climate change

From CNN's Delia Gallagher in Rome

Pope Francis delivers a homily during Palm Sunday mass behind closed doors at St. Peter's Basilica on April 5, in The Vatican.
Pope Francis delivers a homily during Palm Sunday mass behind closed doors at St. Peter's Basilica on April 5, in The Vatican. Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak is one of “nature’s responses” to human beings ignoring the ecological crisis, said Pope Francis Wednesday.

“We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?" the Pope told British Catholic journalist Austen Ivereigh in an email interview published Wednesday in The Tablet and Commonwealth magazines.

“I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”

Pope Francis also said he is recovering from his bronchitis and praying even more from his residence in the Vatican during this "time of great uncertainty."

Francis revealed he goes to confession every Tuesday to ask forgiveness for his own selfishness. “I take care of things there,” he said.

Francis said the homeless should be quarantined in hotels and not in parking lots.

“A photo appeared the other day of a parking lot in Las Vegas where they [the homeless] had been put in quarantine. And the hotels were empty. But the homeless cannot go to a hotel,” the Pope said.

“This is the moment to see the poor,” he said, whom society often treats as "rescued animals."

The Pope warned against the rise of populist politicians, who he said are giving speeches reminiscent of Hitler in 1933, and others who are focusing solely on the economy.

“I am worried by the hypocrisy of certain political personalities who speak of facing up to the crisis, of the problem of hunger in the world, but who in the meantime manufacture weapons,” he said.

“Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world."

The Pope encouraged people at home on lockdown to find creative ways of being at home.

“Take care of yourselves for a future that will come,” Francis said.