April 22 coronavirus news

US President Donald Trump takes questions  from reporters during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 21, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Trump: Immigration order to apply only to green cards
02:59 - Source: CNN
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Social distancing measures to remain until there's a vaccine or treatment, says English medical expert

Britain's Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty leaves from 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the Government's daily COVID-19 briefing on April 14.

The UK will have to rely on social distancing measures until there is a vaccine or a treatment for coronavirus, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said during the daily Downing Street briefing on Wednesday.

“In the long run, the exit from this is going to be one of two things, ideally. One of which is highly effective vaccine, and there are a variety of ways vaccines can be deployed. They can be deployed for dampening down epidemics, they can be deployed to protect vulnerable people. Or, and or, highly effective drugs so that people stop dying of this disease even if they catch it, which can prevent this disease in vulnerable people,” Whitty said.

Whitty cautioned that achieving that goal will take time and that the outbreak will have to be managed through social distancing measure until then.

“Until we have those, and the probability of having those anytime in the next calendar year are incredibly small, and I think we should be realistic about that, we’re going to have to rely on other social measures, which of course are very socially disruptive, as everyone is finding at the moment. But until that point, that is what we will have to do,” Whitty said.

“But it’s going to take a long time and I think we need to be aware of that,” he added.

Spain extends state of emergency through May 9

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a speech on April 22.

The Spanish parliament voted to approve the extension of its state of emergency proclamation for the third time until May 9.

The state of emergency was first decreed on March 14, which ordered severe restrictions on movement and business. 

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez argued for another extension during a speech on Wednesday morning. 

“This extension is different than the others” Sanchez said. “It’s the first time I can do this with a carefully optimistic future. It is [the extension] that will begin to de-escalate the rules of confinement”, he added. 

Sanchez warned parliament members that the next phase of de-escalation and the return to normality “needs to be slow, gradual and therefore secure.”

The prime minister also mentioned that his government is “implementing a control system” for people traveling from inside or outside of Spain “to avoid more imported contagions.” 

“Each mistake we do now, each challenge we fail, each delay caused by other interests will be a weight we will carry in the next months and years,” he added.

Spain has the world’s second highest cases of coronavirus cases, the country has enforced Europe’s strictest restrictions of movement.

Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle cancel June events over coronavirus concerns

Buckingham Palace in central London on April 11.

There will be no knightings or awarding of other honors at Buckingham Palace in June, and the annual Garter service at Windsor Castle – where Knights of the Garter process with the Queen – has also been called off, a Royal Communications statement Wednesday said.

“For practical reasons in the current circumstances all investitures due to be held at Buckingham Palace in June have been postponed. The annual Garter service at Windsor Castle has been cancelled,” the statement said.

Most nurses in Spain worked during Covid-19 crisis without protective equipment, study shows

The majority of nurses in Spain say they have been working during the Covid-19 crisis without enough protective equipment, according to a study by the Spanish College of Nursing (CGE).

Of the 11,000 nurses surveyed across Spain, 74% said there were no masks in their work unit and 55% reported a lack of protective gowns.

“Health workers didn’t have the most basic protection equipment against the virus, which could explain the extremely high number of workers infected in our country,” CGE, the professional body for the Spanish nursing profession, said in a press release on Wednesday.

However, the Spanish College of Nursing believes there are many more cases among health workers than have been reported, as the study reveals two-thirds of nurses reported having symptoms but weren’t able to get tested. The report also reveals 5% of nurses had to work with symptoms. Madrid, the hardest hit by the virus of Spain’s 17 regions, was also the region with the most number of nurses who reported having symptoms compatible with Covid-19.

In a lengthy report about Covid-19, the Ministry of Health said “the high contagion rate among health care workers could be attributed to different factors.” In the initial phase especially when there was less knowledge about how the virus was transmitted, the report said, cases “could have been generated among health care workers improperly protected.”

The College of Nursing study also reveals that many workers said they didn’t receive enough Covid-19-specific training to treat infected patients or use the special protective equipment. Some nurses also reported receiving “poor quality” supplies, such as having to reuse or wash masks and gowns, spending up to 14 hours with the same equipment, and reusing it the next day.

Pakistan's prime minister tests negative for coronavirus

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has tested negative for Covid-19, Dr. Zafar Mirza, his special adviser on health, announced in a tweet Wednesday.

“I am happy to report that his test is NEGATIVE,” Mirza tweeted.

Some background: The decision to test Khan came after Pakistan’s eminent philanthropist Faisal Edhi announced on Tuesday that he has tested positive for Covid-19. Khan and Edhi met in person six days ago.

According to Pakistan’s ministry of health, the number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in the country is now 10,076.

More than 25,000 people have died from coronavirus in Italy

At least 25,085 people have died in connection with Covid-19 in Italy, according to the Italian Civil Protection Agency.

There are now 107,699 active cases of Covid-19 in Italy.

The total number of cases, including deaths and recoveries, is now 187,327.

"People will die" of starvation if supply chain breaks down, official says

WFP Director David Beasley

If the World Food Program’s supply chain breaks down, “people will die and not just of Covid-19, but of starvation,” WFP Director David Beasley told CNN’s Hala Gorani on Wednesday.

Beasley warned that this was not a “sky-is-falling” scenario, but a reality they are currently facing.

“It’s not just food, it’s a number of things. If that supply chain breaks down, we can’t move goods and services, we can’t move supplies,” Beasley said.

“We now know 135 million people are walking towards the brink of starvation. Out of that 135, we feed 100 million, but 30 million depend totally on us.”

“So if the supply chain breaks down or if the money falls apart, then if 100 million don’t get food, then 100 million don’t live. Then it’s a very bleak situation, so we are very concerned about this.”

Beasley said the WFP needs $350 million for extra flights to Africa to help move medical professionals into the country because commercial airlines have shut down.

“We have already transported literally millions of testing kits, billions of masks, millions of PPE we have got to keep that rolling out there. That’s where that money comes into play, so we can help these countries in Africa,” Beasley said.

Beasley said the world was already facing the worst humanitarian crisis in 2020 due to wars in Yemen and Syria. Now it’s a “perfect storm of extraordinary proportions,” he said.

Read more here.e

Some recovered South Korean Covid-19 patients re-tested positive, but likely aren’t contagious

South Korean officials say analysis of samples from recovered Covid-19 patients show all had formed neutralizing antibodies, but almost half still showed viral genetic material, Korean Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) Director Dr. Jung Eun-kyeong said at a press briefing Wednesday.

She added that these patients are likely not contagious.

“One can presume that depending on the patient, the virus can stay for different lengths of periods in the body without being completely removed even after neutralizing antibodies had formed. Additional study is underway,” Jung said.

About the analysis: The KCDC conducted analysis on 25 recovered patients to determine whether the Covid-19 virus could be detected. 25 patients had formed neutralizing antibodies against the virus, and 12 patients tested positive for Covid-19. When the samples from the 12 patients were cultivated the results were negative, Jung said.

Samples were taken from 39 cases that retested positive and so far 6 samples did not cultivate the virus. Examination on 33 other samples is ongoing.

south korea coronavirus covid 19 pandemic positive tests hancocks pkg intl ldn vpx_00011113.jpg

Four possible reasons people are retesting Covid-19 positive

Coronavirus pandemic will drive carbon emissions down 6%, meteorological group says

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas shows the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin during a press conference on atmospheric concentrations of CO2, in November 2019, in Geneva, Swizterland.

Global carbon emissions are expected to fall 6% this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said it’s “short-term” good news for the environment, but won’t be enough to get the world back on track to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement targets.

“This crisis has had an impact on the emissions of greenhouse gases,” Taalas said during a virtual press briefing. “We estimate that there is going to be a 6% drop in carbon emissions this year because of the lack of emissions from transportation and industry and energy production.”

The WMO says while the coronavirus pandemic may result in a temporary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, it is not a substitute for sustained climate action.

“Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe international health and economic crisis, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries,” Taalas added. “We need to flatten both the pandemic and climate change curves.”

Last major cruise ship at sea during coronavirus pandemic docks in Italy

The Costa Deliziosa cruise ship docks in the port of Genoa, Italy, on Wednesday.

The last major cruise ship remaining at sea during the coronavirus pandemic docked in the port of Genoa, Italy today, regional council member Giacomo Giampedrone told CNN.

The planned docking of the Costa Deliziosa was delayed Tuesday due to poor weather conditions.

“The Costa Deliziosa has docked and health care personnel will go on board shortly, to transport the body of a woman who died on April 6 to the forensic office where a coronavirus test will be done, mainly as a precaution. Her death seems not be related to coronavirus,” Giampedrone told CNN.

“This afternoon the first 540 passengers will disembark, while 897 more will do on Thursday afternoon,” Giampedrone said. “The ship is clean and with no people isolated on board,”

“We will carry out a protected disembarking, just like we did in other cases of cruise ships that had coronavirus cases on board. But this time we are protecting more the people on board, who have been sailing since mid-March, than vice versa” Giampedrone said.

Some context: The port of Genoa was chosen as the final destination of Costa Deliziosa by the Italian Transport Minister and the regional governor. The cruise line company will provide transportation to all passengers and the 900 crew members, according to Giampedrone.

UK government can't promise free masks for everyone, health official says

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at number 10 Downing Street in London, on April 22.

If the UK changes its policy and begins recommending the use of face masks for the public, the government will not be able to promise everybody free masks, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament today. 

“We will follow the advice and will listen to what the SAGE [Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] says on masks. And then we will implement that,” Hancock said.

“I can’t promise that we will give everybody free masks. I mean that would be an extraordinary undertaking,” he added.

“And we do have to make sure we have supplies available especially for health and care staff where the scientific advice has been throughout that the wearing of masks is necessary in those circumstances,” Hancock explained. “We have got to make sure the provision is for them.”

Some context: The British government has faced intense criticism over its handling of the crisis, including a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and a slow roll-out of coronavirus testing.

Indian government issues urgent executive order to protect healthcare workers

India’s government has introduced an urgent executive order to discourage violence against health workers, according to a government announcement following a cabinet meeting today.

What this is about: Reports of attacks and discrimination against healthcare workers have surfaced in India over the past two months. In March, medical staff in the nation’s capital New Delhi were being evicted and facing threats that their electricity would be cut off. 

Earlier this month, CNN reported a mob pelted frontline health care workers with stones as they tried to treat a patient who was suspected of contracting the novel coronavirus in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

“Health workers who are trying to save the country from this epidemic are unfortunately facing attacks. No incident of violence or harassment against them will be tolerated. An ordinance has been brought in, it’ll be implemented after President’s sanction,” Union Minister P Javadekar said.

‘”We have zero tolerance and will not allow this in a civilized society,” the minister added. “Such crimes will now be cognizable and non-bailable. Investigation will be done in 30 days.”

It's just gone 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's what you need to know.

Emergency response vehicles sit parked outside London's ExCel conference center, which has been converted into an NHS Nightingale hospital to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, in this aerial view on Wednesday.

The coronavirus blame game has reached a new level after Missouri announced it was suing China over the crisis. The US state is seeking damages for what it described as a campaign of “deception” and insufficient action to halt a “preventable” pandemic — allegations Beijing strongly denies.

The conflagration over China is becoming a key flashpoint in the 2020 race, with President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden sparring over the country’s role in the spread of the virus. The battle could turn into a critical showdown in November’s election, Stephen Collinson writes.  

Beijing has faced intense scrutiny and criticism over its handling of the coronavirus, and not only from Washington. But the pandemic still presents an opportunity for China to solidify its status as a superpower and global leader – especially as Trump alienates some allies with his “America First” approach, James Griffiths writes.  

One outspoken critic of China’s government knows what it means to be socially isolated. The dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained for three months by authorities back in 2011, told CNN that the coronavirus had only strengthened the “police state” in China.  

With the Wuhan epidemic now contained, David Culver has returned to see how people there are navigating a new normal, after nearly three months living in lockdown. 

Here are Wednesday’s other developments…

Trump backs off full immigration ban: Trump has announced a 60-day ban on immigrants seeking green cards to live in America permanently, but backed away from plans to stop workers entering the country on a temporary basis. 

Famine of “biblical proportions”: The developing world is facing “multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months” unless urgent action is taken, the UN’s food relief agency said. It warned that the pandemic would push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation, on top of another 135 million who were already facing crisis levels of hunger.  

Homeschooling widens inequality gap: A staggering 90% of the world’s students are in lockdown. But it’s going to hit poor kids much harder than rich ones. The inequality gap, present in education systems at the best of times, is being exacerbated by school closures worldwide, experts say.  

Bangladeshi garment workers face ruin: When Fatema Akther arrived for work at the Alif Casual Wear garment factory in Dhaka in late March, she had no idea it would be her last day. She’s one of millions of garment workers — most of them women — estimated to have been furloughed or laid off in Bangladeshi factories, as global demand for fast fashion dries up.  

Warning of second wave next winter: The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that another wave of coronavirus next winter could be “even more difficult” than the current outbreak because it would coincide with flu season. 

A version of this story first appeared in CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact Vs. Fiction newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it in your inbox every day.

Boris Johnson's stand-in grilled over shortage of testing, during UK's first virtual Parliament session

Dominic Raab speaks in the House of Commons in London, on April 22.

Britain’s first virtual sitting of Parliament began with the First Secretary of State coming under intense scrutiny over the UK’s jarring shortage of coronavirus testing.

Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Boris Johnson while the Prime Minister recovers from Covid-19, said the government is making “good progress” and would meet its target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.

But opposition leader Keir Starmer, making his first appearance in the House of Commons since winning the Labour leadership election earlier this month, criticized the government’s pace and pointed out the UK is “way behind” other European nations on testing.

He noted that a mere 18,206 tests were carried out on Monday, with just over a week until the end of April – to which Raab responded that the UK’s capacity for tests is at 40,000 a day.

“I think it’s really important that we fully understand what the First Secretary just said,” Starmer said. “That means that the day before yesterday, 40,000 could have been carried out, but only 18,000 tests were actually carried out.”

“All week I’ve heard from the frontline, from care workers, who are frankly desperate for tests for their residents and for themselves,” Starmer said. “They would expect every test to be used every day … so there’s clearly a problem. Why isn’t the government using all the tests available?”

Criticism over the number of tests carried out, and over shortfalls in protective equipment for health care workers, has been leveled at the government throughout its coronavirus response.

Raab and Starmer, along with a handful of other MPs, were present in the chamber and sat a safe distance from each other. Most lawmakers joined the session remotely, via a video-conference service.