April 27 coronavirus news

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5:44 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

UK risks 100,000 deaths if restrictions are eased, leading scientist warns

From CNN's Simon Cullen in London

A social distancing sign is seen at the entrance of Regent's Park in London on April 26.
A social distancing sign is seen at the entrance of Regent's Park in London on April 26. Alberto Pezzali/AP

The UK could experience more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths later this year if the government eases restrictions to focus on just protecting those most at risk, according to one of the country’s leading epidemiologists.

Neil Ferguson is one of the scientists who has been advising the government in its response to the pandemic.

"The people most at risk of death are in care homes or have other health conditions," Ferguson said in an interview with the 'Unherd' website.

"I am very sceptical we can get to the level of shielding which would make that a viable strategy,” he said, referring to the idea of easing restrictions for most people and focusing government efforts on those most at risk.
"If you just achieve 80 percent shielding -- 80 percent reduction in infection risk in those groups – we still project you’d get well over 100,000 deaths later this year."

The government is coming under pressure to ease some coronavirus restrictions.

Positive signs: Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London whose modelling has influenced UK government policy, says the restrictions have been working.

He said there has been an 80 to 90 percent drop in contact between people from different households, and this is believed to have brought transmission rates down.

"We’ve brought the reproduction number down somewhere in the region of 0.6 to 0.7, which (means) the epidemic is in decline now,” he said.

No time to relax: Ferguson said the challenge is that there isn't a lot of "leeway to relax without other interventions."

"So, if we want to move away from lockdown -- reopen schools, reopen workplaces, let people go shopping again -- we have to substitute other measures."

##Travel

4:54 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

UK PM Boris Johnson warns against relaxing lockdown as he returns to work

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement at 10 Downing Street in London on Monday, April 27, his first day back at work after recovering from Covid-19.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement at 10 Downing Street in London on Monday, April 27, his first day back at work after recovering from Covid-19. Frank Augstein/AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned against relaxing the United Kingdom's coronavirus restrictions too soon in his first remarks since returning to work after contracting the disease, imploring the nation to "contain your impatience."

Speaking outside Downing Street in London, Johnson said that the UK was making progress in tackling the outbreak, with fewer ICU hospital admissions for Covid-19 patients, and "real signs now that we are passing through the peak."

The virus has killed more than 20,000 people in the UK.

"If this virus were a physical assailant, an unexpected and invisible mugger, which I can tell you from personal experience it is, then this is the moment when we are beginning to wrestle it to the floor," Johnson said.

But he warned that the UK was at a moment of "maximum risk" as people's patience might be fraying with the restrictive measures imposed to stop the spread of the virus. 

Johnson said he understood the worries of shopkeepers and entrepreneurs, and that without a functioning economy there was no way of funding the NHS.

But he warned that he "refused to throw away all the effort and sacrifice of British people" and risk a second peak of the disease and further loss of life by relaxing those restrictions too soon.

Johnson also thanked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab for deputizing for him, saying: ''I'm sorry I've been away from my desk for much longer than I would have liked."

4:41 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Germany receives 10 million masks from China

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany received a shipment of 10 million face masks from China today.

The world's largest cargo plane, the Antonov AN-225 -- chartered by the German military --landed with the consignment at Leipzig airport.

Two further flights chartered by the German military are expected to deliver another 15 million masks.

Nearly all German states now require citizens to wear face masks in varying situations across the country.

4:15 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Coronavirus cases in the US are nearing 1 million

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Medical workers tend to a coronavirus patient at Stamford Hospital on April 24, in Stamford, Connecticut.
Medical workers tend to a coronavirus patient at Stamford Hospital on April 24, in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

A new week in the coronavirus pandemic is beginning with a United States case count approaching 1 million and several cities and states preparing to loosen stay-at-home restrictions.

At least 54,883 coronavirus deaths and more than 965,000 cases have been recorded in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

As the numbers continue to climb, several state and city officials are expected to announce plans to reopen their economies this week. A University of Washington model frequently cited by the White House coronavirus task force suggests that no state should open their economies before Friday -- and many should wait much longer. 

In New York, one of the hardest hit states, rates of hospitalization, intubation and deaths are down, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Officials at all levels of government are weighing how to proceed and when to reopen their communities.

Meanwhile, several states also are grappling with an increase in calls to their poison control centers, following President Donald Trump's suggestion of injecting disinfectants as a treatment for the coronavirus during a White House briefing on Thursday. He later said he was being "sarcastic."

Read the full story here.

3:56 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Lessons in mateship as Australia lurches from one crisis to another

From CNN's Jessie Gretener

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lays a wreath during an Anzac Day Commemorative Service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia on April 25.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lays a wreath during an Anzac Day Commemorative Service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia on April 25. Bob McKendry/Australian War Memorial via AP

Mateship, an egalitarian concept, is characterized by ingenuity, honesty, humor, courage and compassion. It calls on communities to come together during hardship, adapt to challenging circumstances and provide a fair go for all.

Anzac Day: For 15-year-old Australian Patrick Stibbard, mateship means looking out for one another. On Saturday, like millions of other Australians and New Zealanders, he stood on his driveway to commemorate Anzac Day and to the lives lost during war.

Traditional dawn services were canceled this year due to the coronavirus lockdown, but the 60 seconds of silence felt all the more poignant this year. It was a tribute not only to those who served and sacrificed on battlefields abroad, but also the frontline heroes fighting Covid-19 right now at home.

Passing the baton: For 240 days over the summer, wildfires blazed across Australia, killing 33 people, over a billion animals, and destroying thousands of houses. Before flowers had time to sprout through the ashes, the nation was already grappling with a new crisis, the global coronavirus pandemic. Firefighters passed the baton to health care workers, in what will be remembered as the year of the frontline worker.

From those in uniform to ordinary Aussies, mateship is "understanding that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a huge difference," according to Erin Boutros, the co-founder of volunteer group Empty Esky.

Read more about how Australians are helping each other through mateship here:

3:39 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Singapore reports nearly 800 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Eric Cheung

Healthcare workers prepare to conduct coronavirus tests at a foreign workers' domitory in Singapore on April 27.
Healthcare workers prepare to conduct coronavirus tests at a foreign workers' domitory in Singapore on April 27. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore recorded 799 new cases of coronavirus in the 24 hours before noon local time on Monday, according to a statement by the country's Ministry of Health.

Among the new cases, 14 are Singaporeans or permanent residents, while the vast majority are work permit holders in foreign worker dormitories. 

In recent weeks, the Asian city-state has recorded a dramatic spike in coronavirus infections, with thousands of new cases linked to clusters in foreign worker dormitories. To control the spread, the government has attempted to isolate the dormitories, test workers and move symptomatic patients into quarantine facilities.

Singapore has recorded more than 13,000 coronavirus cases -- the highest in Southeast Asia -- and at least 12 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Read more on how coronavirus is affecting Singapore's migrant workers:

3:20 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

UK's testing target "quite a challenge"

From CNN's Simon Cullen

A medical worker speaks to a driver about a coronavirus test kit at a testing facility in London on April 25.
A medical worker speaks to a driver about a coronavirus test kit at a testing facility in London on April 25. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The UK government’s promise to reach 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by Thursday is “quite a challenge," said Michael Malim, the head of immunology and microbial sciences at King’s College London.

The Department of Health and Social Care said 29,058 tests were carried out on Saturday, although the government says the capacity is much higher.

“I think 100,000 by Thursday would be quite a challenge,” Malim told Sky News.
“But it’s definitely ramping up in this country and even if we don’t meet 100,000, if we get up closer to that, that would be a major advance.”

Malim added that a more reasonable time frame for the UK to be able to test 100,000 a day would be “within two or three weeks."

The UK government has faced criticism for low levels of testing, although Health Secretary Matt Hancock remains confident the 100,000 target will be reached by the end of April.

3:00 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

It's just past 8 a.m. in London and 4 p.m. in Tokyo. Here are the latest developments

People walk through a shopping area in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on April 27.
People walk through a shopping area in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on April 27. Koji Sasahara/AP

The novel coronavirus has now infected nearly 3 million people and killed at least 206,553 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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

  • Britain's PM back in action: Boris Johnson will return to work today after recovering from coronavirus. He left hospital on Easter Sunday.
  • Germany masks: People across almost all of the country are required to wear face coverings in public spaces as of Monday. Different states have different rules but most require citizens to cover their mouths and noses in stores and on public transport.
  • US health secretary's job safe: President Donald Trump has denied he is about to fire Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar after reports suggested White House officials were looking at the possibility of replacing him.
  • Food supply concerns: Tyson Foods is warning that "millions of pounds of meat" will disappear from the US supply chain as the coronavirus pandemic pushes food processing plants to close, leading to product shortages in grocery stores across the country.
  • Loosening lockdowns in Europe: Switzerland will allow some businesses like hairdressers and DIY stores to reopen today, while Italy plans to ease some measures on May 4. However, the UK is "not there yet" on lifting restrictions, according to a junior health minister.
  • New Zealand eases restrictions: The country will lift some of its strictest lockdown measures at midnight local time. Schools can open, people will be able to buy takeaway food, and take part in more recreational activities.
  • Economic impact: The Bank of Japan expects the country’s economy to contract by 3% to 5% this year -- a sharp departure from its forecast at the start of the year, which predicted slight growth.
2:49 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

UK "not there yet" on lifting coronavirus restrictions

From CNN's From Simon Cullen

Now is not the time to ease the coronavirus lockdown, British junior health minister Edward Argar said on Monday.

“We’ll be led by the science on this. And at the moment, the science isn’t saying we are ready to lift the restrictions that have been placed on people,” Argar told Sky News.

Argar said the nation has "made huge progress … but we’re not there yet." He added that the lockdown restrictions in the United Kingdom were working and that "now is not the time to let up.”

Many countries across Europe, including Switzerland and Italy, are starting to relax some of the rules that were introduced to curb the spread of the virus.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is returning to work on Monday and will chair the government’s daily coronavirus meeting in the morning.

The UK has reported at least 154,037 coronavirus cases and 20,795 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.