April 7 coronavirus news

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12:36 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Egypt will keep mosques closed during Ramadan because of coronavirus

El Sayeda Zainab Mosque is seen closed at the time of Friday Congregational prayers in Cairo, on April 3.
El Sayeda Zainab Mosque is seen closed at the time of Friday Congregational prayers in Cairo, on April 3. Gehad Hamdy/DPA via ZUMA Press

Egypt will keep its mosques closed even during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as a precautionary measure due to the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s Ministry of Religious Endowments said today in a statement.

The ministry said it will also suspend all Ramadan activities and group iftars, which are congregational breakfast tables that offer food to the poor and passers by at sundown in Ramadan. 

Ramadan is set to start on April 23.

"Mosques are to remain closed until no new coronavirus cases are registered across the nation and until the Ministry of Health certifies that gatherings would no longer pose a threat to public health," the ministry said. 
12:25 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

UK official on Boris Johnson's health: "He is a fighter"

Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign secretary
Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign secretary Pool

Dominic Raab — the UK's foreign secretary, who Prime Minister Boris Johnson deputized as he was hospitalized for coronavirus — said the prime minister is stable and called him a fighter.

“The Prime Minister is receiving the very best care from excellent medical team at St Thomas Hospital. He remained stable overnight. He is received standard oxygen treatment. He is breathing without assistance. He has not required any mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support. He remains in good spirits” Raab said at the daily Downing Street news briefing.

Raab added that Johnson, “is not just the Prime Minister, for all of us in cabinet he is not just our boss – he is also a colleague and also our friend.”

Raab ended his update on Johnson's health saying, “if I know one thing about this Prime Minister, he is a fighter.”

12:18 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Lufthansa further reduces its fleet size and grounds Germanwings operations

Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images
Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Lufthansa is further reducing its fleet size and will discontinue the services of its low cost airline Germanwings as part of a broad overhaul amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The German airline is cutting its Lufthansa and Eurowings fleet and will reduce capacity at Frankfurt and Munich airports.

This is the first permanent capacity reduction — roughly 10% of its fleet according to a Lufthansa spokesperson — the airline has made in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Lufthansa said in a news release that the restructuring programs already initiated at Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be further intensified and both companies are working on reducing their fleets. 

“The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly. According to its assessment, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels," the statement read.

Lufthansa said talks with unions and workers will be arranged to discuss new employment models in order to keep as many jobs as possible. 

12:10 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

1,310 FDNY employees have returned to work

More than 1,300 New York City fire department personnel who either tested positive or were suspected of being exposed to Covid-19 have returned to work, the FDNY said on Twitter today.

“FDNY members are responding to a record number of medical calls, and they continue to meet this unprecedented challenge head on,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro in a tweet posted by the department.

12:03 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

How to help medical efforts during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is overwhelming, and one of the most excruciating parts for many people is the feeling of utter helplessness in the face of widespread suffering and hardship.

Here's how to help medical efforts in your community during the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN’s Impact Your World has compiled a list of donation opportunities and tips to help those affected by the crisis. You can read the full list here.

11:58 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Major League Baseball considers starting season in one location

Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play, could be used in this plan.
Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play, could be used in this plan. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/FILE

Major League Baseball (MLB) is trying to work through plans to get back to playing, including having games at a central location once the coronavirus pandemic has improved. 

"MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so," the league said in a statement Tuesday.

"While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan," the league added.

According to ESPN, MLB is considering playing games as early as next month. The league is also looking at getting all 30 teams in Arizona, according to multiple reports. 

Why Arizona? Half of MLB holds their spring training in the Phoenix area and the stadiums are all within about 50 miles from each other. This would allow teams to quarantine in a hotel and not have to travel far for their games.

With this plan, they would also use Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. But all of this would happen without fans in the stands. 

ESPN also is reporting that the league is discussing using an electronic strike zone so the plate umpire would not have to be right on the catcher and hitter. 

"While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association," MLB continued.

"The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.”

MLB Players Association had no comment to this story.

11:38 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 786

The UK's coronavirus death toll has risen by 786, according to new figures released by the Department of Health and Social Care.

More than 55,000 people have tested positive.

11:39 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

New York officials expect to have racial breakdown of coronavirus patients this week

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team were asked today about the race breakdown of coronavirus victims in the state. The officials said that the hospitals don't report the race of patients to them so there has been a lag in getting that information.

The officials said that the state wants that information and is planning on getting it this week.

Some context: States and municipalities around the country have been reporting numbers that show that coronavirus is inflicting minority communities to a greater degree in some places.

For example, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said yesterday that 72% of all Chicago deaths related to Covid-19 have been black Chicagoans.  

11:25 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

New York governor says state needs more federal assistance to get the economy going

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference today that the state needs federal assistance to restart the economy.

He said, "that is going to be a federal stimulus bill," adding, "there's no other way to do this."

Cuomo repeated his criticism of the stimulus bill that was recently passed by Congress, calling it "woefully inadequate" for New York.

He said that he will be sending the state's congressional delegation a letter today telling them "the past legislation did good for the nation...but it was not fair to New York." He added "that has to be remedied" in any legislation going forward.