May 4 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:19 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020
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11:24 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Norwegian Air shareholders back plan to avoid bankruptcy

From CNN’s Hanna Ziady and Chris Liakos

Workers wearing high-visibility jackets stand near a passenger aircraft, operated by Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, grounded at Stavanger Airport in Stavanger, Norway, on April 30.
Workers wearing high-visibility jackets stand near a passenger aircraft, operated by Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, grounded at Stavanger Airport in Stavanger, Norway, on April 30. Carina Johansen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Norwegian Air shareholders voted in favor of a proposed rescue plan, helping the budget carrier unlock government aid and avoid bankruptcy.

During the global coronavirus outbreak, the airline has canceled almost all flights and said it would temporarily lay off 90% of its workforce.

How the plan works: It will proceed with a large debt for equity swap, which is when creditors swap their company debt loans for shares. It will also raise up to $38 million equity by issuing more shares. 

Norwegian Air said in statement it expects to convert more than 10 billion Norwegian Krone of debt into equity. That is about $960 million USD. The measures will enable the airline to qualify for state aid of 3 billion Norwegian Krone, around $288.7 million USD. 

10:45 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Iran reports slight daily increase in coronavirus-related deaths and infections

From CNN's Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Ruba Al Henawi

People wearing protective clothing take part in the funeral of a victim who died from coronavirus at a cemetery in Ghaemshahr, Iran, on May 1.
People wearing protective clothing take part in the funeral of a victim who died from coronavirus at a cemetery in Ghaemshahr, Iran, on May 1. Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Iran has reported 74 additional coronavirus-related deaths and 1,223 new cases over the past 24 hours – a slight jump from Sunday’s numbers.

Iran’s Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said the country’s total number of cases is 98,647. Of those, 6,203 people have died. Another 2,676 patients remain in intensive care in a critical condition. 

"So far, 508,288 PCR tests have been carried in more than 130 labs across the country," Jahanpour added.

What this is about: Polymerase chain reaction tests, known as PCR, are the most common and most accurate tests for determining whether someone is currently infected with the novel coronavirus.

Mosques in Iran reopened today in 132 cities part of the plan to ease restrictions. Friday prayers, which the government banned in early March in provinces across the country, will also resume in low-risk areas.

10:32 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

How people across Europe are reacting to eased restrictions

From CNN's Emma Reynolds, Valentina Di Donato and Stephanie Halasz

Cafe clerks prepare coffee and cappuccinos for customers waiting to take out in Rome, Italy, on May 4.
Cafe clerks prepare coffee and cappuccinos for customers waiting to take out in Rome, Italy, on May 4. Simona Granati/Corbis/Getty Images

Millions across Europe are returning to some semblance of their former lives today as more countries across the continent begin to reopen after weeks — or months — of coronavirus-related lockdowns. But not everyone is happy with how the "new normal" looks.

Italian businesses are wondering how they'll survive as restrictions are eased but not fully lifted. More more than four million people are expected to return to work today with many businesses set to reopen.

But the owner of the Il Bello Cafe bar in Rome, said the partial easing of restrictions would not be enough to keep many establishments afloat. Franco, who declined to give his last name, told CNN he's only making 30% of what he was making before the lockdown.

I just reopened today, but it's not even worth it. There is so little work for us, few people are coming in, but also the bar isn't about just buying a coffee, or cappuccino, it's about a conversation. It's social," he said.

Students are heading back to socially-distanced schools in Germany, where newly reopened barber shops are facing huge demand to right the wrongs of weeks of home haircuts. One salon in Hamburg said it was "overrun" by customers, while Udo Walz, a hairdresser to the stars in Berlin, told CNN his salons were booked out for the next three weeks.

Other European countries are gradually relaxing restrictions. Spain allowed people outside for solo exercise this weekend for the first time in seven weeks. Portugal opens small stores Monday, and people in Belgium may travel on public transport but must wear masks. 

Traffic increased in Greece today as small stores including hair salons, flower shops and bookstores reopened and lines formed outside electrical appliance retailers. The country is planning to welcome tourists again this summer. 

As Europe reopens, the big question is how the once vibrant continent will look as we move into a different future to the one we all expected. It has certainly changed forever.

Read the full story here.

10:14 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

European Commission pledges 1 billion euros for coronavirus global response

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, on April 23.  
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, on April 23.   Olivier Hoslet/EPA/AP

The European Union started an international conference on the search for vaccines and coronavirus treatment by pledging one billion euros to the cause. That is about $1.09 billion USD. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the virtual Coronavirus Global Response conference the initial aim is to raise 7.5 billion euros, or $8 billion USD, to ramp up immediate work, but more will be needed. She described it as the start of a global "pledging marathon".

The reality is we will have to live with the virus until and unless we develop a vaccine and this is why we have to join forces and pool our money and our minds to kick-start work on vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against coronavirus," the EU Commission President said.
9:32 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Japan extends state of emergency until end of May

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe adjusts his face mask as he leaves a press conference in Tokyo on May 4.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe adjusts his face mask as he leaves a press conference in Tokyo on May 4. Eugene Hoshiko/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Japan will extend its state of emergency until May 31, but the country must prepare for a “life with coronavirus," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a task force meeting today.

Some prefectures with a high infection rate, including Tokyo and Osaka, will keep working to reduce social contact by 80% to stem the spread of the virus. The rest of the nation may begin easing restrictions for small businesses, such as restaurants and cultural facilities, with appropriate prevention measures.

If the current strict measures continues, we would not be able to sustain our living and economy. We must make a step toward a life with coronavirus," Abe said. 

Abe said he will review the infection status around May 14 to see if the order can be lifted earlier.

He said the country’s “unique” approach of cluster tracing during lockdown has helped it avoid what he called an explosive outburst of infection seen in other countries.

Japan's state of emergency gives the authority to local governors to request residents stay indoors and suspend businesses, although it cannot force lockdown measures with penalties.

9:16 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

German border checks will continue through next week

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

German Federal police officers control vehicles at the border to France in Saarbruecken, Germany, on March 26.
German Federal police officers control vehicles at the border to France in Saarbruecken, Germany, on March 26. Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Germany's border checks will continue until at least next Friday, May 15, the Interior ministry said.

Germany is part of the European open-border Schengen area, which imposed emergency border checks to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The group of 26 European countries — including Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Poland — do not have internal borders and usually allow people to move between them freely.

The ministry said the extension of the border checks is in line with the EU commission.

"Of course, we are guided by the European spirit not to act unilaterally or in an uncoordinated way," the spokesman added.
9:09 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Ukraine extends lockdown until May 22

From CNN's Denis Lapin in Kiev

A medical worker waits for patients inside a clinic in the Ukrainian town of Irpin on April 15.
A medical worker waits for patients inside a clinic in the Ukrainian town of Irpin on April 15. Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine has extended its nationwide lockdown until May 22 but has agreed to loosen some restrictions starting on May 11, the government announced in a televised cabinet meeting today.

The partial lifting of some restrictions on May 11 will include the reopening of parks, some specialist shops and cafes for take out services.

Ukraine has reported at least 12,331 Covid-19 cases and 303 deaths as of May 4, according to the Health Ministry.

The country’s lockdown began on March 12.

8:52 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

German hair salons can reopen today. Here's what it's like to get a hair cut now.

From Stephanie Halasz in London

Hairdresser Andrea Macha cuts a customer's hair in her salon in Puchheim near Munich, Germany, during the first day of reopening amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on May 4.
Hairdresser Andrea Macha cuts a customer's hair in her salon in Puchheim near Munich, Germany, during the first day of reopening amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on May 4. Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

German hairdressers are allowed to open today after being closed for many weeks over the threat of coronavirus.

Customers must have a pre-booked appointment, and in Berlin, they will have to fill out a personal questionnaire.

Berlin hairdresser to the stars Udo Walz, told CNN he is booked out for three weeks in advance. His Berlin salons have been closed for six weeks.

"I was in the shop this morning, everyone is wearing masks, the customers, the hairdressers, it is a bit funny," Walz said.

To adhere to social distancing, Walz said every other chair remains empty, which works for him as he has big salons.

"Most of the customers have two centimeters of roots showing. Some of them tried to cut their hair themselves or cover up the color, but that usually went wrong, although I gave tips on the telephone," he said.

Walz — who has styled hair for Marlene Dietrich, Nancy Reagan and Gwyneth Paltrow — said he has not yet had to lay off any of his 86 employees, but his hairdressers are still hurting financially. “They did not get tips and that is important as we have a good clientele. Their salary was reduced a bit, but we have a great team," he said.

Meanwhile, Anne Bruemmer, the owner of Salon Heidi in Hamburg, told CNN they are booked two weeks in advance.

In addition to wearing masks, Bruemmer said she must keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters — or about 5 feet — between customers. Her salon is disinfecting seats, door handles and anything else that may have been touched.

If she's caught violating the health and safety measures, Bruemmer said she may be fined upwards of 500 Euros, or about $547 USD.

"Customers are generally very safe here,” Bruemmer said. 

8:49 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Spain reports record low coronavirus cases as country begins to reopen

From Al Goodman and Ingrid Formanek in Spain and Vasco Cotovio in London

Commuters wear face masks to protect against coronavirus on a platform at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, May 4.
Commuters wear face masks to protect against coronavirus on a platform at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, May 4. Manu Fernandez/AP

Spain has begun its transition into a new phase of de-escalation toward a "new normal" Monday as the country’s health authorities report a second day of record low Covid-19 new infections and deaths.

The country is seeing “the lowest number of cases in two months” by percentage, said Dr. Fernando Simón, Spain’s Director for Health Emergencies, speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus technical briefing.

Spain's Ministry of Health has reported a record low 0.16% rise of new coronavirus infection cases confirmed by PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, since Sunday. 

The number of deaths rose by 164 in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of deaths to 25,428 since the start of the pandemic in Spain.

The number of daily recoveries outnumber new infections, but Simón cautioned that even though the data is good, it doesn't "eliminate risk," and noted that the positive coronavirus cases figures could be adjusted in the coming days due to delayed weekend holiday reporting.

When asked whether relaxation of the country’s restrictions will mean a new wave of infections, Simón said health authorities are working on early detection to know the number of possible cases much more quickly.  

Instead of the [current] periods that can be of up to 10, in some cases 15 days, we want this to be reduced, if possible” Simon said, adding “the objective is a maximum of 48 hours”.

The faster detection and tracking will “guarantee that from the moment you move from one phase to the other, the regions are prepared to respond correctly in case of a [new] outbreak”, Simón explained.

When asked about the possibility of Spain using apps to track the contagion, Simón said: “What we need to know is what added value these apps bring to the systems that we already have in place, or that we are putting place to do contact tracing.” 

He also noted that Spain has restrictive data protection laws, so those would need to be taken into consideration “to be sure that they [the apps] don’t infringe on other rights in an irreversible way.”

Restrictions eased: Spain started a transition out of eight weeks of strict restrictions on Monday, under the country’s state of emergency, which has been in place since March 14.