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
31 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:48 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

British doctors have received guidance on which patients to save if health system overwhelmed

From CNN's Simon Cullen in London

Ambulances are parked outside the Emergency Department of St Thomas' Hospital, one of the many hospitals dealing with coronavirus patients in London, on Wednesday, April 1.
Ambulances are parked outside the Emergency Department of St Thomas' Hospital, one of the many hospitals dealing with coronavirus patients in London, on Wednesday, April 1. Alberto Pezzali/AP

Older patients with a low chance of survival could have life-saving ventilators removed so the machines can be given to healthier patients under new ethics guidelines issued by the British Medical Association (BMA).

The guidance has been prepared for doctors who will need to make "grave decisions" about who should receive "scarce lifesaving resources" if the country’s health system is overwhelmed by coronavirus cases.

"As such, some of the most unwell patients may be denied access to treatment such as intensive care or artificial ventilation," the BMA’s ethics guidance note states.
"This will inevitably be indirectly discriminatory against both the elderly and those with long-term health conditions, with the latter being denied access to life-saving treatment as a result of their pre-existing health problems."

Older patients given lower priority: The guidance says imposing an age cut-off would be illegal, but adds that older patients with pre-existing respiratory problems would have a "very high chance of dying despite intensive care," and are therefore lower priority for admission.

The guidance states: "In dangerous pandemics the ethical balance of all doctors and health care workers must shift towards the utilitarian objective of equitable concern for all – while maintaining respect for all as 'ends in themselves.'"

The ethics guidance note was updated on April 1. The UK government has previously warned the country’s health system could be overwhelmed if strict social distancing measures are not followed.

3:46 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

First coronavirus death in Asia's largest slum

From journalist Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A deserted View of Mahim Dharavi Link road during restrictions on citizen's movement due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 30, near Mumbai, India.
A deserted View of Mahim Dharavi Link road during restrictions on citizen's movement due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 30, near Mumbai, India. Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

A 56-year-old man who died due to coronavirus-related illness is the first person to die from the disease in Asia's largest slum, Dharavi, in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai.

The patient, who had no travel history, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday and died the same evening while being transferred to a local hospital, Kiran Dighavkar, an official with Mumbai's Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told CNN. 

"People who had been in contact with him and are perceived to be "high risk" have been asked to (be) home quarantined," Dighavkar said, adding the swabs of his family members and neighbors have been collected and sent for testing. 

The BMC will be providing food to the residents of the densely-populated Dharavi slum as they are not allowed to leave the area until all the test results come back, Dighavkar said.

The BMC has been routinely carrying out disinfection drives in Mumbai's slums and public areas, according to the official.

This is the second coronavirus-related death overall reported in Mumbai's slums since the outbreak began, BMC officials confirmed with CNN.

Why it's a big deal: Home to around 1 million people, Dharavi slum has a population density almost 30 times greater than New York -- about 280,000 people per square kilometer.

Doctors say the situation would be unmanageable if a sustained coronavirus outbreak spread rapidly through one of India's many slums, where there is little sanitation or running water and thousands of people live cheek by jowl -- making social distancing physically and economically impossible.

“It’s a huge concern. They are packed together,” said Dr. Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of the Medanta-the Medicity hospital in Gurugram, near New Delhi. 

Trehan said it was vital that health authorities know if a slum has an outbreak.

“If we don’t know the hot spots, and we don’t know where these pockets are, the whole country is so huge, and there are so many people, it will not be possible to take care of them,” he said. 
2:55 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Australia will impose huge fines for illegally exporting PPE

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger

A health care worker holds a face mask on March 15 in Brisbane, Australia
A health care worker holds a face mask on March 15 in Brisbane, Australia Florent Rols/Sipa via AP

The Australian government will punish people convicted of illegally exporting masks, hand sanitizer or other personal protective equipment with hefty fines, officials said.

Home Minister Peter Dutton's office said in a statement yesterday that the fines were one of several new measures being adopted by the government to keep dwindling medical supplies inside the country.

More than 5,000 people in Australia, including Dutton himself, have contracted the virus.

Authorities have amended customs regulations to "stop exploitative exports of essential goods," and the country's Biosecurity Act to require the Australian Border Force to surrender medical supplies in their custody to the national stockpile.

Violating the customs law is punishable by a fine of up to 210,000 Australian dollars ($128,275), while those found guilty of violating the Biosecurity Act could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 63,000 Australian dollars, Dutton's office said ($38,480).

"These measures have become necessary because we have seen a small number of individuals engaging in the bulk purchasing of essential goods from retail outlets in Australia, with the intent of profiteering from exploitative exporting and price gouging," the statement read.

Like many countries around the world, Australia is currently dealing with a shortage of equipment needed to protect medical workers treating patients who have contracted the novel coronavirus.

"We've taken the steps to protect Australia's interest, to stop unauthorized, inappropriate exporting of those things that we rely upon for our health care and so on at present," trade minister Simon Birmingham said in an interview with Australia's ABC News yesterday.

Other countries like the United States and South Korea have enacted similar measures or are considering them.

3:14 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

In Panama, coronavirus lockdown means separating men and women

From CNN's Patrick Oppmann

Police officers are pictured during the curfew as the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Panama City, Panama on March 31.
Police officers are pictured during the curfew as the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Panama City, Panama on March 31. Erick Marciscano/Reuters

Panama is taking a new -- if somewhat unorthodox -- measure to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus: separation of the sexes.

Starting on Wednesday, only women will be able to leave their homes to buy necessities on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Men in Panama will be allowed to venture outside to run errands on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Everyone will have to stay home on Sundays. The restrictions will last for at least 15 days, according to government officials.

Why are they separating men and women? The additional measures to the already-announced national quarantine in theory will make it easier for police in the Central American nation to limit the number of people going out in public.

"The great quantity of people circulating outside their homes, despite the obligatory national quarantine, has led the national government to take more severe measures," said a statement by Panamanian President Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo on Twitter.

Earlier, Panamanian officials had ordered all citizens to stay inside except for emergencies and to buy food. But alarmed by the number of people still going out, officials decided to divide the week by sex to further limit how much of the public is outside their homes at one time.

Read more here.

2:27 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Philippine President warns "unruly" coronavirus quarantine violators could be shot

From CNN’s Karen Smith in Atlanta

In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he addresses the nation during a live broadcast in Malacanang, Manila, Philippines on March 30.
In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he addresses the nation during a live broadcast in Malacanang, Manila, Philippines on March 30. King Rodriguez, Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP

Outspoken Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that people who break quarantine and are "unruly" could be shot by law enforcement officers.

During a televised address on Wednesday, CNN Philippines reported the Philippine leader urged people to cooperate with quarantine measures.

But Duterte emphasized he would not tolerate those who threaten the lives of people working in law enforcement.

During the address, Duterte said, “My orders to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead!”

Hours before Duterte made the address, there were protests about government food aid in the capital city, Manila, CNN Philippines reported.

2:15 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Sailors from aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus outbreak to quarantine in Guam hotels

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne

The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier sits on the outskirts of Apra Harbor, Guam, on April 1.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier sits on the outskirts of Apra Harbor, Guam, on April 1. CNN

As the number of coronavirus cases aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier approaches 100, some sailors will be quarantined in hotel rooms in Guam.

The ship's commanding officer has issued a stark warning to top Navy leadership about the need to get sailors off the ship as soon as possible.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Wednesday that 93 sailors from the ship have tested positive for the virus to date, representing more than 10% of all cases across the entire US military.

Cases expected to rise: A senior Defense official told CNN that the Navy expected the number of cases to rise as more test results come in.

Modly said 1,273 of the ship's roughly 4,800 crew members have been tested for the virus so far and the Navy was still awaiting the results of some of those tests.

He said about 1,000 sailors have been evacuated form the ship and moved ashore to Guam where the ship is currently in port.

"We already have nearly 1,000 personnel off the ship right now. And in the next couple of days we expect to have 2,700 of them off the ship," Modly told reporters at the Pentagon.

Read more here:

2:00 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Frontline nurses are going under-protected in the Philippines. Now some medics are dying

From Xyza Cruz Bacani

Every day, Filipina nurse April Abrias walks six miles to monitor 30 patients who are suspected to have the novel coronavirus in a rural province north of the Philippine capital, Manila.

The 29-year-old midwife doesn't have a surgical mask to cover her face -- instead, she wears a cloth mask that provides insufficient protection from the virus, which has killed more than 47,000 people worldwide, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

"I'm ready but not well-equipped (but) it's my duty to help in this time of pandemic," Abrias said.

At least 17 frontline coronavirus medics have already died in the Philippines, and more than 600 have been in quarantine, according to CNN Philippines.

As Abrias makes her daily calls, there is little to stop her from spreading the virus.

One of her patients lives in a fruit and vegetable market, which as an essential service isn't subject to the same lockdown rules that have silenced busy streets across the island of Luzon since March 17.

Abrias said the patient had a fever and body aches, so she told him to self-quarantine in his shop and avoid interacting with others. He hasn't been tested for the coronavirus, she said, because there are no testing kits.

Abrias has to assume that he has the infectious disease, and that's what makes it so scary.

Read the full story here:

1:40 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

The world's largest coronavirus lockdown is having a dramatic impact on pollution in India

From CNN's Rebecca Wright

When India imposed a nationwide lockdown a week ago, it was designed to stop the imminent spread of the novel coronavirus.

But grinding this country of 1.3 billion people to a near halt has also provided a temporary remedy to another pressing health issue: suffocating pollution levels.

The world's largest lockdown means all factories, markets, shops, and places of worship are now closed, most public transport suspended and construction work halted, as India asks its citizens to stay home and practice social distancing.

India has recorded more than 1,998 cases of Covid-19, including 58 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Already, data shows that the main cities are recording much lower levels of harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5, and of nitrogen dioxide, which is released by vehicles and power plants.

"I have not seen such blue skies in Delhi for the past 10 years," said Jyoti Pande Lavakare, the co-founder of Indian environmental organization Care for Air, and author of upcoming book "Breathing Here is Injurious To Your Health."
"It is a silver lining in terms of this awful crisis that we can step outside and breathe."

Read the full story here:

1:21 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

The rest of the world is coming around to Asia's point of view on face masks

Analysis by CNN's James Griffiths

In the coming weeks, if they have not already, your government is likely to begin advising you to wear a face mask to protect against coronavirus.

For those living in Asia, such announcements will be a vindication of a tactic that has been adopted across much of the region since the beginning of the crisis and appears to have been borne out by lower rates of infection and faster containment of outbreaks.

In other parts of the world, this message may be confusing, coming after weeks of public health authorities, politicians and media figures confidently claiming masks do not help and urging people instead to focus on washing their hands and maintaining social distancing.

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), appeared before lawmakers in late February. Asked if people should wear masks, he had a straightforward answer: "No."

Now he's not so sure. On Monday, Redfield told NPR that the CDC was reviewing its guidelines and may recommend general mask use to guard against community infection. It's likely only a matter of time before other mask holdouts, most prominently the World Health Organization, follow suit.

Writing last month, Adrien Burch, an expert in microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley, noted that "despite hearing that face masks 'don't work,' you probably haven't seen any strong evidence to support that claim. That's because it doesn't exist."

In fact, there is evidence of the exact opposite: that masks help prevent viral infections like the current pandemic.

Many countries and territories across Asia have been wearing masks for the entire length of the pandemic, and this strategy has been borne out by lower infection rates and more easily contained outbreaks. Now the rest of the world is finally coming around to this strategy.

Read the full analysis here: