April 5 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta, Peter Wilkinson, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:30 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020
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6:09 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Spain records lowest rise in coronavirus deaths since early March

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Madrid

Patients at a temporary hospital, built in an exhibition center in Madrid.
Patients at a temporary hospital, built in an exhibition center in Madrid.

Another 674 people have died of coronavirus in Spain in the past day, the lowest daily rise in percentage terms since early March.

The country has now seen 12,418 deaths from its devastating outbreak, the most anywhere in the world apart from Italy.

But the evidence strongly suggests that the nation is through the worst of the pandemic, with the pace of new cases and deaths decelerating.

The Health Ministry’s data shows there are now 80,261 active cases of Covid-19 in Spain, an increase of 1,488 from Saturday – but also the smallest daily rise since March 17. The rise in the number of new cases has been declining in percentage terms since March 24.

However, there was an uptick of 329 in the number of people admitted to intensive care units since the pandemic began – compared to Saturday’s number of 116.

The ministry also reported that 38,080 have now recovered from the virus – nearly 4,000 more than the number reported Saturday. For the first time since statistics were made available the daily increase in active cases was under 2%. 

5:54 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Spanish PM issues coronavirus challenge to the EU

From Tim Lister in Madrid

Pedro Sanchez in Spain's parliament this week.
Pedro Sanchez in Spain's parliament this week.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has taken to newspapers across Europe to throw down a gauntlet to the European Union: “Either we rise to this challenge or we will fail as a union.”

Writing in 10 major newspapers, including the Guardian, El País, Le Monde, La Repubblica and Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, Sanchez says: “We have reached a critical juncture at which even the most fervently pro-European countries and governments, as is Spain’s case, need real proof of commitment.”

Sanchez’ remarks come amid a bitter stand-off between several EU states – including Spain, Italy, France and Portugal on the one hand and the Netherlands and Germany on the other – over the financing of the European recovery once the coronavirus pandemic recedes.

Sanchez describes the virus as “an invisible enemy that is putting the future of the European project to the test.”

“Without solidarity there can be no cohesion, without cohesion there will be disaffection and the credibility of the European project will be severely damaged,” he writes.

Sanchez says that current plans, such as the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program are not enough. Europe, he says, “must build a wartime economy and promote European resistance, reconstruction and recovery,” essentially a “new Marshall plan and which will require the backing of all of the EU’s common institutions.”

Two weeks ago, a long video conference among EU leaders ended acrimoniously, with Spain and Italy decrying the refusal of other governments to contemplate a Europe-wide "coronabond."

France, Italy and Spain and six other euro area governments had called for the issuance of joint European debt to finance the fight against coronavirus, telling European Council president Charles Michel that the EU needed “to work on a common debt instrument issued by a European institution to raise funds on the market on the same basis and to the benefits of all member states."

Sanchez returned to the theme Sunday – saying European solidarity “has to ensure that there are no gaps between north and south, that we leave no one behind.”

5:53 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

It's not easy to get a coronavirus test in the UK, so Britons are turning to mail-order kits

From Nick Paton Walsh, Mick Krever and Jo Shelley, CNN

The company that makes the Samba II says it can test someone in 90 minutes for $38.
The company that makes the Samba II says it can test someone in 90 minutes for $38.

People in the UK are turning to mail-order coronavirus tests as the government scrambles to offer mass public testing and get a hold on the virus' spread across the country.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, recently returning to public life after testing positive for coronavirus, announced Thursday the UK would aim to test 100,000 Britons a day by the end of April.

Critics of the government's stark U-turn on testing suggest it may have been spurred by about 8% of National Health Service (NHS) staff being off work because of Covid-19-related issues.

But at the moment, these government-funded tests by hospitals are unavailable to most people and are still reserved for those with severe symptoms and some health care workers.

In a tiny, airless office in Old Street in east London, the business Rightangled is offering a solution -- at a price. The DNA testing firm is here hurriedly repurposing its DNA health testing kits to be mailed to customers for about £200 ($250) each. The coronavirus testing service sounds like a dream solution.

The kits arrive in the mail, you follow the video to take a swab from your throat, and send the sample back in a biohazard bag. The results come back around three days later.

But the price tag, unaffordable to many, is just one drawback.

Read more here.

5:22 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

China "won't limit" its export of medical supplies to other countries

From CNN’s Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong

China won't limit the amount of medical supplies it sends to countries battling outbreaks of the coronavirus, its Inspector of the Department of Foreign Trade Jiang Fan said at a press conference on Sunday.

“We will not forget that many countries have lent their hands at the early stage of the outbreak," she said. "As the domestic epidemic situation eases, but continues to spread globally, we are willing to provide help and support to relevant countries and regions."

Since March 1, China has exported major medical supplies worth 10.2 billion yuan ($1.4 billion), including 3.86 billion masks, 37 million protective clothes, 16,000 ventilators, 2.8 million testing kits, 8.4 million goggles and 2.4 million infrared thermometers, according to Jin Hai, the director of the Department of General Operation at the General Administration of Customs.

4:53 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

UK still seven to 10 days from coronavirus peak, says expert advising Boris Johnson's government

The UK is likely around seven to 10 days from seeing its coronavirus outbreak start to flatten, a leading epidemiologist has predicted.

Neil Ferguson, whose model influenced the UK government's coronavirus response, told the BBC on Sunday: "We think this epidemic in the UK will plateau in the next week to 10 days."

He said the manner the curve of cases takes is vital, adding it is not clear whether the UK will "see a long flat peak, or, as we hope, see a much faster decline."

"We have some signs that it is slowing the epidemic at the moment," Ferguson added, noting the UK has seen its first day where new hospital admittances declined over the previous day.

The UK has seen more than 4,000 deaths from Covid-19 and is roughly following the trajectory of countries including Spain and Italy, which have each suffered more than 10,000 fatalities.

4:38 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

German death toll rises to 1,342

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany's coronavirus death toll has risen to 1,342, the country’s disease and control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said Sunday.

That figure is an increase of 184 deaths on Saturday.

The total number of confirmed cases has risen by nearly 7‪% from Saturday to Sunday. Germany now has 91,714 coronavirus cases, an increase of 5,936 in 24 hours.

6:32 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

UK could ban exercise outside if people keep ignoring rules, says Health Secretary

A police officer moves a sunbather off a beach in Brighton, southern England.
A police officer moves a sunbather off a beach in Brighton, southern England.

The British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said it is "quite unbelievable" that some people are still breaking the UK's lockdown laws by going outside unnecessarily, threatening to ban exercising outdoors if people keep flouting the rules.

"If you don't want us to have to take the step to ban exercise of all forms outside of your own home, then you've got to follow the rules," Hancock told the BBC on Sunday.

Britain has banned people from going outside apart from for four essential reasons, which include one form of exercise a day.

But pictures showed some Britons stretching that directive by lying in the sun in parks around the country, as a spell of good weather begins in the UK.

Hancock said sunbathing was "against the rules" in an earlier interview on Sky News on Sunday morning.

He said social distancing restrictions are necessary to slow the spread of the virus, and the decision to relax them “does depend very directly on how people behave."

Hancock also welcomed Queen Elizabeth II's rare televised speech to the nation, due to air later on Sunday evening.

"I hope that Her Majesty will lift our spirits and thank everybody who is doing the right thing," he said.

4:06 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Thailand reports three more deaths from Covid-19

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

Royal Thai Army soldiers disinfect a road in Thailand's southern province of Pattani on April 4.
Royal Thai Army soldiers disinfect a road in Thailand's southern province of Pattani on April 4. Tuwaedaniya Meringing/AFP/Getty Images

Thailand has confirmed a spike of 102 cases of coronavirus and three new deaths in the past day, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said on Sunday.

The total number of reported cases in the country is now 2,169 with a death toll of 23.

Bangkok and its vicinity have the highest number of patients, while Phuket has the second highest.

3:58 a.m. ET, April 5, 2020

India reports four coronavirus cases in Asia's largest slum

From Rishabh Madhavendra Pratap in New Delhi

Two more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Dharavi slum in Mumbai, the largest slum in Asia, bringing the total to four.

Among the new cases are a 30-year-old woman who lives in the same building as a patient who died on Wednesday, and a 35-year-old doctor, according to Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Commissioner of Mumbai’s civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). 

A 56-year-old man died due to coronavirus on Wednesday, according to a local official.

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.

India’s Health Ministry announced Thursday that the government is sending 4,000 health workers to test people living in the slum.