April 6 coronavirus news

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3:29 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are essential workers, New Zealand PM reassures children

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during her post-Cabinet media update at Parliament on April 6, in Wellington, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during her post-Cabinet media update at Parliament on April 6, in Wellington, New Zealand. Mark Mitchell/Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked a slightly more unusual question about the nationwide lockdown at a news conference today.

"We've had some correspondence from some younger viewers who are quite concerned about the Easter Bunny," asked a journalist at the conference. "Have you considered any exemptions for the Easter Bunny? Because of course he would be breaking the bubble."

The "bubble" refers to the idea that New Zealanders should stay within their own bubbles, composed of people in their household -- and not go out or enter neighbors' and friends' bubbles during the lockdown.

"You'll be pleased to know that we consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers," replied Ardern.

"But as you can imagine, at this time, of course they're going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies. So I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn't make it to your household, we have to understand that it's a bit difficult at the moment perhaps for the Bunny to get everywhere."

Ardern suggested that if the Easter Bunny can't make it to children's homes this year, they could instead draw Easter eggs and tape them to the front windows of their homes, so neighborhood children can have their own social-distancing Easter egg hunt.

New Zealand has been under lockdown since March 25. The country has reported 1,106 coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

3:19 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Japan reports almost 400 new cases in one day

From Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan's health ministry announced 378 new cases of coronavirus and three more deaths nationwide by the end of Sunday.      

The total number of cases in the country has risen to 4,366, 712 of which were from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Some 84 people have died from the disease in the country, 11 of whom were linked to the ship.

3:04 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

India has imposed a blanket export ban on a malaria drug touted by Trump as possible therapy for coronavirus

A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills.
A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

India has placed a blanket ban on all exports of hydroxychloroquine, just as President Donald Trump called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release more of the drug to the United States.

In an official notification issued Saturday, India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry amended a previous order issued last month and effectively banned all export of the drug. It is unclear whether the export ban was made before or after Trump and Modi spoke in a telephone call on Saturday.

“The export of Hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from Hydroxychloroquine, therefore, shall remain prohibited, without any exception,” stated the notification.

Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug that some institutions are researching for a possible Covid-19 treatment. Yet there is little reliable evidence that the drug is effective at treating the novel coronavirus.

President Trump, however, has doubled down on the unproven therapy, and at a briefing at the White House on Sunday said:

"They (India) make large amounts of hydroxychloroquine -- very large amounts frankly. And I said -- they had a hold because you know they have 1.5 billion people and they take a lot of it, and I said I would appreciate if they would release the amounts that we ordered and they are giving it serious consideration. But India makes a lot of it.”

In India, the eligible individuals for use of the drug are "Asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 and asymptomatic household contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no "definitive information to be able to make any comment" on whether the drug can be used to treat coronavirus.

For more on hydroxychloroquine, read here:

2:50 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Shanghai goes from ghost town to thriving metropolis on Qingming Festival

From CNN’s David Culver in Shanghai

In mid-March, when we strolled Shanghai’s usually bustling West Bund park by the river, it was nearly deserted.

The only people we saw were either the occasional local or expats walking their pets. You could sit on the grass and still keep a safe distance from your fellow visitors.

But on Saturday, during the three-day Qingming public holiday, every inch of the park was packed.

There was so little space on the grass that some groups were hovering, picnic blankets ready, to claim their space. With the lure of spring weather and a day off, crowds walked shoulder to shoulder, far closer than the recommended six feet (1.8 meters) of social distancing. Most people wore masks, but there were some who were daring enough to go barefaced.

Walking through the area, we saw local families sharing a meal, groups of kids playing basketball and dogs weaving in and out of the crowds of people, chasing each other.

On Nanjing Road, a popular shopping district which was deserted a month ago, customers flooded in and out of stores -- a happy sight for the Chinese government, which is desperate to get the country’s economy humming again.

But for me, the crowds brought mixed emotions. While it is nice to see people happy and celebrating that the worst of the outbreak may be behind them, part of me does worry just how safe it is.

Can the epidemic really be over already? Or are we witnessing the start of the next outbreak within the now-walled off country? How long can this freedom last?

David Culver is CNN's international correspondent, based in Beijing. He discusses concerns over Beijing's transparency about the virus here:

2:33 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

The CDC has released instructions for making cloth face masks

From CNN’s Nick Valencia and Wes Bruer

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released instructions and visual tutorials on how to make cloth face coverings from common household materials.

The CDC recently released guidance recommending the use of cloth face coverings "in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community based transmission."

Cloth face coverings, according to the CDC, can be homemade out of pieces of fabric, T-shirts, bandannas and coffee filters to slow down the spread of the virus, especially those that may be asymptomatic and capable of transmitting it to others despite experiencing no symptoms. 

The CDC recommended any homemade cloth face coverings include multiple layers of fabric, be secured to the ears, and allow for breathing without restriction. The guidance recommends routinely cleaning coverings in a washing machine and that no child under the age of 2 should wear them.

2:20 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

US commander in Japan declares public health emergency for military bases as Tokyo cases rise

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu and Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

The commander of the United States Forces Japan (USFJ) has announced a public health emergency for the Kanto Plains region due to rising coronavirus cases in nearby Tokyo, the army unit said in a statement Monday.

The order, which will remain in effect through May 5, allows commanders the authority to enforce compliance of health protection measures on those who live and work on US installations.

"Protecting the health and safety of everyone associated with US Forces Japan is my number one priority," USFJ commander Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider said, adding that the order will cover all Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine installations and facilities in the area.
"I cannot underscore enough the importance of personal responsibility at a time like this. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 requires the entire team -- service members, civilians, families, and our Japanese partners," he added.

An active duty member of the USFJ tested positive for the coronavirus a few weeks ago.

The move comes as the daily count of new coronavirus cases in Tokyo doubled in the past week, and there are concerns that the country isn't doing enough to halt the spread of the virus.

Read more on that here:

2:29 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

It's just past 4 p.m in Sydney and 7 a.m. in London. These are the latest developments

Workers prepare train coaches to be used as temporary isolation wards for coronavirus patients in Chennai, India on March 30.
Workers prepare train coaches to be used as temporary isolation wards for coronavirus patients in Chennai, India on March 30. Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

If you're just joining us now, here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

Worry in India: India now has more than 4,000 cases, with health experts bracing for a potential "onslaught" of infections. Indian Railways, the oldest rail network in Asia, is converting as many as 20,000 old train carriages into isolation wards for patients.

Spike in Singapore: Singapore saw 120 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours this weekend -- its biggest daily jump so far.

Slowdowns in Thailand and Korea: Thailand reported 51 new cases today -- a sharp drop from the 102 reported yesterday. And South Korea reported 47 new cases today -- the lowest number of new daily cases since mid-February.

Australia takes action: Sydney is closing more beaches due to crowds defying social distancing rules. And police in New South Wales state have launched an investigation into the docking and disembarking of the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which created a major cluster of cases.

In the UK: On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests. He tested positive for the coronavirus on March 27. Meanwhile, the Queen gave a rare televised address to the nation, offering reassurance and urging unity.

1:50 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Musician Christopher Cross calls coronavirus "possibly the worst illness I've ever had"

Christopher Cross performs on the German TV game show "Wetten Dass...?" in Offenburg, Germany on April 30, 2011. 
Christopher Cross performs on the German TV game show "Wetten Dass...?" in Offenburg, Germany on April 30, 2011.  Ralph Orlowski/AFP/Getty Images

Singer-songwriter Christopher Cross revealed on social media that he tested positive for coronavirus.

Cross, known for his Grammy Award-winning hits "Sailing" and "Arthur's Theme," said that he felt it was important to make people aware of how dangerous the virus is.

Cross implored his followers to self-quarantine, wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their faces to help stop the virus' spread.

"For those of you who still do not believe the COVID-19 virus is real, or think it is a 'hoax' or part of some conspiracy, my advice to you is to understand right now that this is a deadly illness spreading like wildfire throughout the world," Cross said on Instagram.

Read more here.

1:34 a.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Thailand has recorded more than 2,200 cases

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

Thailand reported 51 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the national total to 2,220, according to the country's Ministry of Public Health.

Three more deaths were reported, taking the national toll to 26.

The number of new cases reported on Monday is a sharp drop from the 102 infections reported on Sunday.

Bangkok and its neighboring areas are reporting the highest number of infections, while the popular tourist destination Phuket has the second highest.