April 2 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:23 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020
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2:10 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Nearly 91% of Americans have been ordered to stay at home

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Nearly 91% of the US population is under a stay at home or shelter in place order that is in effect or scheduled to go into effect, according to a CNN count. That percentage translates to at least 298,589,452 people in the US.

The new count adds US territories; Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

The 12 states that do not have statewide stay at home orders include: 

Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. 

The count of nearly 91% includes, states, local city and county orders as well. The numbers were tallied using US census data.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect that nearly 91% of Americans are under stay-at-home orders as of 12:37 p.m. ET.

9:43 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Markets edge higher even after record unemployment claims

From CNN’s Matt Egan

US markets edged higher Thursday morning in choppy trading even after a new report showed initial unemployment claims spiked to record highs.

  • The Dow rose 65 points, or 0.3%.
  • The S&P 500 gained 0.6%.
  • And the Nasdaq advanced 0.6%.

Stocks were on track for a larger rally earlier in the day, with major markets up around 2% at session highs.  

Futures fell sharply after the Labor Department said 6.6 million people filed claims for initial unemployment benefits in the week ended March 28. That doubled the previous all-time high that was set just a week earlier. 

10:18 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Saudi Arabia puts 24-hour curfew on two cities

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi

A photograph taken in Saudi Arabia on March 5, 2020, shows the white-tiled area surrounding the Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque.
A photograph taken in Saudi Arabia on March 5, 2020, shows the white-tiled area surrounding the Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque. Abdel Ghani Bashir/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia imposed an indefinite 24-hour curfew on the cities of Mecca and Medina to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Saudi Ministry of Interior said in a statement.  

Last month the Saudi government started imposing curfews on cities, but gradually applied tougher restrictions after an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. 

On Tuesday, Mecca and Medina collectively recorded 133 new cases — more than any other city in the kingdom, according to the Saudi Health Ministry.

The number of cases in Saudi Arabia now stand at 1,720 with 16 deaths and 264 recoveries, the Health Ministry said.

What this means: The measures mean that residents are not allowed to leave their homes throughout the 24-hour curfew, except in emergencies or to buy supplies from their neighborhoods.

Travel in and out of the cities has also been stopped while shops are to close, except for pharmacies, banks and supply stores.

The two cities, considered the holiest sites of Islam, attract millions of Muslim visitors for pilgrimage every year.

9:39 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Thailand Prime Minister announces nationwide curfew

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

Thailand's Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, speaks to members of the press in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 26, 2019.
Thailand's Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, speaks to members of the press in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 26, 2019. Jes Aznar/Getty Images

Thailand has announced an indefinite, nationwide curfew starting on Friday as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise, the country's Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a televised broadcast.

Starting Friday, residents in Thailand will not be allowed to leave their premises between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. local time.

Prayut added some exemptions for those providing essential services. “There are exceptions for those with emergency reasons and those who are working in medical service, financial service, transporting essential goods, medicines, medical supplies," he said. 

"I would request the public not to panic and not hoard goods since you still can buy goods during daytime as usual but 'social distancing' shall be practiced strictly" Prayut added.

As of today, Thailand has 1,875 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, of which 15 have died.

9:20 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

UK government promises more testing as criticism increases

From CNN's Luke McGee

As criticism of the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus increases, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters today that a total of 10,412 tests were carried out across the country on Tuesday.

Downing Street added that a total of 2,800 National Health Service workers have now been tested at drive-in testing facilities.

“We acknowledge that more needs to be done in relation to testing. We need to be testing more people and we need to be making progress very quickly,” the spokesperson said.

Health Minister Matt Hancock, now back at work after a week in isolation battling Covid-19, will set out plans later Thursday on increased testing, Downing Street added. 

The spokesperson added that the government is “confident” that enough protective equipment is now reaching the medical front lines.

The spokesperson added that Johnson continues to have mild Covid-19 systems and plans to stick to the guidance that he self-isolates for seven days. 

9:29 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

New England Patriots' team plane is flying N95 mask from China to Massachusetts

From CNN’s Kristen Holmes, Kevin Dotson, and Carma Hassan

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 13, 2017.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 13, 2017. Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

One of the New England Patriots’ team planes is flying back to Boston carrying N95 masks Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker ordered from China.

According to a source, Baker is extremely frustrated that the federal government outbid him on stuff that was en route to Massachusetts. He worked with New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and the Patriots to get these supplies brought over from China. 

The governor posted a photo of the plane being loaded up with medical supplies, tweeting this:

“No days off. Thanks to some serious teamwork, Massachusetts is set to receive over 1 million N95 masks for our front-line workers. Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen.”

In a longer statement provided to CNN, Baker said, “As I said before, ordering vital equipment like this is only one part of the challenge and I am incredibly grateful that the Krafts worked this issue relentlessly alongside our Command Center staff to get these critical supplies to Massachusetts. The Krafts, our partners Ambassador Huang Ping, Dr. Jason Li, Gene Hartigan and our Covid-19 Command Center personnel teamed up to get this job done and we eagerly await the plane landing at Logan Airport soon. Our administration will keep pursuing the PPE necessary to support our brave front-line workers who are working tirelessly to save lives during this pandemic.” 

CNN Sports has reached out to the Patriots for comment but we have not heard back yet.

9:17 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Texas stay-at-home order goes into effect

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attends a news briefing at the White House on March 24, 2017.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attends a news briefing at the White House on March 24, 2017. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered all Texans to stay home for the next month.

Abbott's executive order went into effect at midnight and "requires all Texans to stay home unless you’re performing an essential service or activity," Abbott said.

Residents must stay home unless providing essential services or doing "essential things like going to the grocery store," Abbott said in a video posted to his verified Twitter.

"We must respond to this challenge with strength and resolve," Abbott said. The governor signed the executive order earlier in the week but there was confusion surrounding the order because Abbott was reluctant to use the term "shelter in place" or "stay at home" because it was correlated with an eminent disaster such as a tornado, Abbott said at a briefing Tuesday. 

Many of the state's counties were already under stay-at-home orders including Dallas, Harris and Bexas counties. Texas has 28.7 million residents, according to the US Census Bureau. 

9:03 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Germany mobilizes 15,000 soldiers to support coronavirus effort

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

The German military will mobilize 15,000 soldiers starting Friday to support regional authorities in the fight against coronavirus.

The soldiers will be used to protect critical infrastructure, distribute medical equipment and set up makeshift hospitals.

Germany's defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told state broadcaster ARD that this is the first time such a contingent of soldiers has been deployed in this way. However, she conceded that the military – like many agencies – is experiencing a shortage of protective equipment for the long-term nature of the work.

“The fight against coronavirus will be a long one — this is a marathon,” she said. “It's going to depend on all of us holding out in the end. When the civilian forces are at their end, then it is important the German military steps in to help with its many heads and hands.”

Some context: Deploying the military in Germany is a sensitive issue, and strictly reserved for extreme situations under the country’s post-war democratic constitution.

8:43 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

US jobless claims surge for a second week

from CNN’s Anneken Tappe

At least 6.6 million people filed claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 28.

It was the highest number of initial claims filed in history, surpassing last week’s 3.3 million claims.