April 9 coronavirus news

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4:01 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

It's just past 10 a.m. in Paris and 6 p.m in Sydney. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A nurse moves a plastic protection at the entrance of unit of patient infected with Covid-19 at the Floreal clinic in Bagnolet, near Paris, on April 8.
A nurse moves a plastic protection at the entrance of unit of patient infected with Covid-19 at the Floreal clinic in Bagnolet, near Paris, on April 8. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Macron supports WHO: French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his support for the World Health Organization in a phone call with director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Macron said he "refuses to see it locked in a war between China and the United States."
  • Germany deaths rise: The country's death toll has risen to 2,107 -- an increase of 246 fatalities in 24 hours. Meanwhile, confirmed cases in the country jumped by nearly 5% from Wednesday to Thursday.
  • UK lockdown exit strategy: The government’s emergency committee, Cobra, will meet today to discuss options to review lockdown restrictions. The newly-elected leader of the opposition Labour Party has called on the government to publish its strategy to end the lockdown.
  • Ruby Princess investigation: Australian police boarded the cruise ship Wednesday night to gather evidence into how thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney last month resulting in a spike in coronavirus cases.
  • India's containment strategy: Several states in India have set up hundreds of “containment zones” in areas that have seen a concentration of coronavirus cases. In Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state, officials have set up 104 zones, which will be “completely sealed” until April 15.
  • Man jailed for spitting at police: A man has been sentenced to three months in jail after spitting at police, according to New Zealand Police. "In the current environment we have identified spitting as an escalating risk to both police officers and the community and it will not be tolerated," a police statement said.
3:49 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

UK opposition leader calls on government to publish lockdown exit strategy 

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

Newly-elected UK opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on the government to publish its strategy to end the coronavirus lockdown.

“I’m not calling for precise timings, but the strategy. This is incredibly difficult on people and we need to know that plans are in place, and what they are,” he said today in a tweet.

The British government brought in coronavirus containment measures for an initial three-week period on March 23.

More than 61,000 coronavirus cases and at least 7,000 deaths have been recorded in the United Kingdom, according to Johns Hopkins University.

3:38 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

New US model predicts much higher Covid-19 death toll in UK. But British scientists are skeptical

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

British scientists have pushed back against an influential new coronavirus model that predicts the UK will be the worst-hit European country, with a death toll from Covid-19 possibly much higher than previously thought.

The grim forecast came from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington's School of Medicine in Seattle on Tuesday. It predicted 66,314 people would die of Covid-19 in the UK by early August.

The British government's plan for tackling the epidemic has been largely informed by a study from the Imperial College London, which said that a lockdown and social distancing measures would -- hopefully -- limit the number of deaths to between 20,000 and 30,000.

Models likely to change "dramatically": Several high-profile scientists in the UK have already voiced their concerns over the IHME model.

Professor Sylvia Richardson, of Cambridge University and the co-chair of the Royal Statistical Society Task Force on Covid-19, told the Science Media Centre the projections are based on "very strong assumptions about the way the epidemic will progress."

She said the model was "based mostly on using the experience in other countries to fit a smooth curve to the counts of deaths reported so far in the UK, rather than any modeling of the epidemic itself."

"Methods like this are well known for being extremely sensitive, and are likely to change dramatically as new information comes in," Richardson added.

Read more here:

3:26 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

New Zealand man jailed for three months after spitting at police

From CNN's Julia Hollingsworth in Wellington, New Zealand

A man in New Zealand has been sentenced to three months in jail after spitting at police, according to a New Zealand Police statement.

The man pleaded guilty to aggravated assault against police in a hearing on Thursday at New Plymouth District Court on the country's North Island.

Although police didn't explicitly say the incident was coronavirus-related, they eluded to the current outbreak in their statement.

"In the current environment we have identified spitting as an escalating risk to both police officers and the community and it will not be tolerated," the statement said.

In New Zealand, a person could face 14 years in jail if they spit or cough on another person and infect them with a disease.

Other cases: In a separate incident on Wednesday, police said two teenagers were being spoken to by police when one said that he had Covid-19, and spat in the face of the officer.

"As a result of this assault, the officer will no longer be able to perform his duties within the community and will be in self-isolation for 14 days from his family," police said in a statement.
"Such behaviour is extremely concerning and dangerous. Police staff should not be targeted in such a way and we need to ensure the community is safe from such behaviour.

New Zealand has 1,239 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, including one death.

3:08 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

New Zealand will quarantine all overseas arrivals. Why didn't they do it sooner?

From CNN's Julia Hollingsworth in Wellington, New Zealand

A quiet area of Christchurch Airport is pictured during the coronavirus lockdown in Christchurch on April 8.
A quiet area of Christchurch Airport is pictured during the coronavirus lockdown in Christchurch on April 8. Sanka Vidanagama/AFP/Getty Images

Starting Friday, people who arrive in New Zealand will need to be quarantined in an approved facility for at least two weeks.

The change means they can no longer self-isolate at home, or anywhere else they choose.

It's a rule that will only affect New Zealanders -- foreigners have not been allowed to enter the country for weeks.

The country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the restriction on Thursday, even as new coronavirus cases fell for the fourth consecutive day.

But many people will welcome the stricter rules -- and some will be asking why she didn't do it sooner.

Statistics show that 41% of New Zealand's 1,239 confirmed and probable cases are connected with overseas travel. That's prompted some to question why the country hasn't done more at the border to stop the virus in its tracks.

The country's main opposition New Zealand National Party launched a petition to introduce mandatory quarantining at the border.

Television journalist Patrick Gower called on the government to "please, please, please fully quarantine the New Zealand border."

So why didn't the government act sooner? In her speech Thursday, Ardern said there had always been urgency around the issue, "but simply put, we could not have done it from the beginning."

The reason was simple: space. Ardern said nearly 40,000 New Zealanders have returned home since March 20, when the border was closed to foreign nationals. According to Ardern, that's more than all of the hotel rooms across the country that the government could have properly housed people in.

The government is now able to do it because arrivals have slowed to a trickle.

2:59 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Germany's coronavirus death toll passes 2,000 

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A total of 2,107 people have been killed by the novel coronavirus in Germany, after 246 new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, according to the country’s disease and control agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

Confirmed cases jumped by nearly 5% from Wednesday to Thursday, as the total reached 108,202. This represents an increase of 4,974 cases since Wednesday.

2:46 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

South Korea reports fewer than 60 new cases for fourth day in a row

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

A total of 39 new coronavirus cases were reported in South Korea today, the fourth consecutive day that the country has seen fewer than 60 new infections, Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said at a daily briefing.

Among the new cases, 13 were from local transmission and 10 came from the airport screening process.

Kim said South Korea should not to let its guard down and it was “time to continue efforts to cut off any links for sporadic cluster transmissions.”

Kim urged people to refrain from large gatherings for religious events ahead of the Easter weekend.

South Korea's total number of confirmed cases stands at 10,423, including at least 204 deaths. A total of 6,973 former patients have recovered.

3:22 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Australian police recover black box in Ruby Princess investigation

From Hilary Whiteman in Brisbane

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

Australian police boarded the Ruby Princess cruise ship Wednesday night to gather evidence in its investigation into how thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney last month resulting in a spike of Covid-19 cases, according to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.

Fuller said today that the ship’s captain was “extremely helpful” and that the black box was recovered along with other evidence. 

On March 19, more than 2,600 passengers from the cruise ship disembarked in Sydney. More than 600 cases and 15 deaths are linked to the ship, according to public broadcaster ABC.

Officers went on the ship under the powers of the NSW coroner who has started a preliminary investigation.

“We’re collecting all of the information so the coroner can have an informed opinion. There’s still a dual criminal investigation running into how we collect the information at the highest level,” Fuller said.

Fuller said police were waiting for a human health report before deciding next steps and that report would be central to the investigation. He could not give a time frame for the investigation.

More than 1,000 crew members remain on the ship and Fuller says 75% have said they’d like to remain onboard.

Read more here.

2:25 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Hundreds of containment zones set up across India to slow the spread of coronavirus

From Swati Gupta and Manveena Suri in New Delhi

Security personnel near Hawa Mahal, Badi Chopad area during the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on April 7.
Security personnel near Hawa Mahal, Badi Chopad area during the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on April 7. Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Several states in India have set up hundreds of “containment zones” in areas that have seen a concentration of novel coronavirus cases. 

The model, first used in the northern state of Rajasthan, increases containment measures by varying degrees inside the designated locations.

In the capital region of Delhi, 20 zones have been set up and the areas sealed off. 

“Inside that neighborhood, or on the streets, people are not allowed to go in or get out. In those areas, people cannot even roam on the streets,” said Manish Sisodia, Delhi's deputy chief minister.

In India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, state officials have set up 104 containment zones across 15 of its 75 districts, which will be “completely sealed” until April 15.

"A 100% lockdown will be enforced but only in the hot spots of the 15 districts. Other areas in the districts will continue to follow the guidelines of the current lockdown. There is no need to panic," Awanish Awasthi, a senior official from the state’s Home Department, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

He added that earlier media reports that entire districts would be shut were inaccurate. Uttar Pradesh has a total of 361 confirmed cases, including four deaths.

Countrywide, there have been a total of 5,916 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 178 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.