April 7 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Amy Woodyatt, Jessie Yeung, Helen Regan and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:24 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020
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3:08 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

More than 46,000 people are in self-quarantine in South Korea

From CNN's Yaejin Kang

A medical staff member in a booth administers a coronavirus test at a testing station set up at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul on April 3.
A medical staff member in a booth administers a coronavirus test at a testing station set up at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul on April 3. Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

There are 46,056 people currently self-quarantining in South Korea, according to the government.

This number is expected to double due to more people now returning to the country as the pandemic spreads globally, the government said. A health official said today that the government is capable of monitoring and managing the predicted increase.

Of the people currently self-quarantining, 75 have been reported for violating quarantine rules, the government said.

All foreign citizens arriving in South Korea are required to download a smartphone app that monitors their movements during quarantine in order to enter the country. It is not mandatory for South Korean nationals. 

About 60% of citizens self-quarantining have also downloaded the app, the government said.

2:57 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Grandmother in Guam anxiously awaits test results for grandson, a Navy sailor on the USS Theodore Roosevelt

From CNN's Ivan Watson and Mindy Aguon

Navy Sailor Brandon Francisco.
Navy Sailor Brandon Francisco. Courtesy Sabine Chargualaf

Guam resident Sabine Chargualaf had been excited for her grandson, a US Navy sailor, to arrive for a port visit this week.

Her grandson, 20-year-old Brandon John Francisco, had brought some of his ship mates to Chargualaf's home last time he was in Guam for a port call in February. This time, in preparation, Chargualaf and her husband had stocked up on meat, fish and octopus to let them try all kinds of food from the island. 

Then the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt got hit with the coronavirus. More than 170 cases of coronavirus have now been reported onboard.

Francisco has been tested, and is awaiting the results. The whole family is anxiously waiting to hear back, said Chargualaf.

“My initial thoughts were, ‘Oh my God! Brandon. I hope everybody’s okay. That was my main concern," she told CNN.

In the meantime, Francisco has been doing his best to stay in touch with his family, but it's challenging; he is still on the ship, where the internet is spotty, and can't go to the quarantine hotel set up onshore until the test results come back.

While they wait, Chargualaf had this message for her grandson and the sailors aboard the ship.

“You’re in my heart and I love you all even if I don’t know them, they’re part of my grandson’s crew and the military. It goes deep into my heart," she said.
2:47 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

India relaxes export ban on malaria drug Trump has been pushing as possible Covid-19 therapy

From CNN's Vedika Sud and Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Medical staff show a packet of Plaqeril tablets containing hydroxychloroquine on February 26 at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, France.
Medical staff show a packet of Plaqeril tablets containing hydroxychloroquine on February 26 at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, France. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

India has partially lifted export restrictions on the drug hydroxychloroquine, according to a statement from the country’s Ministry of External Affairs. 

The restrictions “have been largely lifted” after a review of national needs, ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in the statement.

New Delhi had imposed a blanket export ban on the drug on Saturday, just as President Donald Trump requested more to be released to the United States.

Trump has insisted that the drug -- usually used to treat malaria -- can prevent the coronavirus, despite there being no reliable evidence and no definitive study. The FDA has not approved hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19.

“Like any responsible government, our first obligation is to ensure that there are adequate stocks of medicines for the requirement of our own people. In order to ensure this, some temporary steps were taken to restrict exports of a number of pharmaceutical products,” said the new statement from the ministry. 

The Indian government says going forward, demand for paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine will be continuously monitored, and that the number of materials in stock could allow for companies to meet export commitments previously under contract.

Responding to questions about the turnaround in policy, Srivastava said he discouraged speculation or any attempts to politicize the matter.

The Indian government had initially restricted the sale and distribution of hydroxychloroquine in March, and made it eligible only to medical personnel working with confirmed Covid-19 patients or individuals who had come in close contact with a positive case. 

2:37 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

How did coronavirus break out? Here are some theories from researchers

From CNN's Robert Kuznia and Drew Griffin

A vacuum of knowledge about the origins of the coronavirus has provided fertile ground for all manner of theories -- from the fantastic, to the dubious to the believable.

Scientists have banded together to condemn conspiracy theories. And yet, they are divided on what was once widely thought the most likely culprit: a so-called wet market in Wuhan, where wild animals are kept in cages and sold as pets or food.

CNN spoke to more than half a dozen virus experts about the origins of the outbreak, and all of them say anyone who claims to know the source of Covid-19 is guessing.

To date, one thing seems likely: It came from bats. Researchers agree that the coronavirus jumped from an animal to a human, a phenomenon known as "zoonotic spillover."

"We're very confident that the origin of Covid-19 is in bats," said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a health nonprofit that tracks zoonotic spillover.

"We just don't know where exactly it originated -- which bat species exactly. And we don't know how many others there are out there that could emerge in the future."

Read more here about the genetic detective story:

3:16 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Switzerland reports 552 new cases in one day

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

A traffic board reading in French "Stop corona, stay home" is seen at sunset on a motorway in Switzerland's municipality of Montreux on April 4.
A traffic board reading in French "Stop corona, stay home" is seen at sunset on a motorway in Switzerland's municipality of Montreux on April 4. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Switzerland, with 552 new infections identified yesterday.

It's a drop in new cases from Sunday, when 822 were recorded.

The national total has reached at least 21,652 cases, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. The death toll stands at 584.

Switzerland has a population of around 8.5 million, meaning there are about 252 cases per every 100,000 residents, said the office.

“Switzerland has one of the highest incidences (per capita) in Europe," it said in a statement.
2:15 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

New York funeral homes are overwhelmed by coronavirus

The United States marked a grave milestone on Monday when the official death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000. The virus has spread throughout the country and since January of this year the number of people infected with Covid-19 has continued to rise.

The situation is most dire in New York, where at least 4,758 people have died, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Funeral homes have been overwhelmed because of increased demand.

Associated Press photojournalist John Minchillo recently spent time covering the work of funeral directors Tom Cheeseman and Pat Marmo in Brooklyn, New York.

Funeral director Tom Cheeseman loads a body into his van in Brooklyn, New York, after making a house call on Friday, April 3. The Associated Press spent a day on the road with Cheeseman, who is overwhelmed by demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Funeral director Tom Cheeseman loads a body into his van in Brooklyn, New York, after making a house call on Friday, April 3. The Associated Press spent a day on the road with Cheeseman, who is overwhelmed by demand due to the coronavirus outbreak. John Minchillo/AP

Bodies are wrapped in protective plastic in a holding facility at the Daniel J. Schaefer Funeral Home on Thursday, April 2. Funeral directors are seeing a surge of clients because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bodies are wrapped in protective plastic in a holding facility at the Daniel J. Schaefer Funeral Home on Thursday, April 2. Funeral directors are seeing a surge of clients because of the coronavirus pandemic. John Minchillo/AP

Cheeseman, center, and a colleague deliver a body to a funeral home on Friday, April 3. Cheeseman is picking up as many as 10 bodies per day. Most bodies come from homes and hospitals.
Cheeseman, center, and a colleague deliver a body to a funeral home on Friday, April 3. Cheeseman is picking up as many as 10 bodies per day. Most bodies come from homes and hospitals. John Minchillo/AP

Folders containing information on those who died from Covid-19 are stacked among other client files while employee Gina Hansen works at the Daniel J. Schaefer Funeral Home on Thursday, April 2.
Folders containing information on those who died from Covid-19 are stacked among other client files while employee Gina Hansen works at the Daniel J. Schaefer Funeral Home on Thursday, April 2. John Minchillo/AP

Marmo walks through a viewing room set up to respect social distancing on Thursday, April 2.
Marmo walks through a viewing room set up to respect social distancing on Thursday, April 2. John Minchillo/AP

See more photos here.

1:59 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

It's just past 2 p.m. in Beijing and 3 p.m. in Seoul. Here are the latest developments today

Security guards and park workers wear protective masks on April 5 at a park in Beijing, China.
Security guards and park workers wear protective masks on April 5 at a park in Beijing, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments since our last catch-up.

The US braces for worst: State and health officials have warned that this week may be the hardest yet, and that the coming weeks will be crucial in stemming the virus' spread. Some states are converting sports stadiums and convention centers into medical wards in preparation for a surge in cases.

Milestone in China: The country where the pandemic began recorded no new deaths yesterday for the first time since January. There were also no locally transmitted infections found yesterday; all new cases were imported from abroad. And tomorrow, the epicenter city of Wuhan will finally lift its lockdown after three months.

New Zealand controversy: The health minister was demoted and called himself "an idiot" after breaking nationwide lockdown rules by driving to the beach with his family.

Fear in Japan: The country recorded another 252 cases yesterday, and the Prime Minister is expected to declare a state of emergency today. Doctors warn that there isn't enough testing, and many say the emergency declaration may be coming too late.

Progress in Korea: South Korea has now reported fewer than 50 new cases for two days in a row. The last time the country had fewer than 50 daily new cases was February -- suggesting that infections may at last be slowing.

Honduras measures: People in Honduras will now be required to wear face masks when they go outside, the President announced.

1:46 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

World leaders send well wishes to Boris Johnson after British PM enters intensive care

With UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized in intensive care with coronavirus, world leaders are going online to wish him well.

Johnson tested positive on March 27, but his symptoms have persisted and since worsened, said his office.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tweeted his support to "my dear friend Boris Johnson."

"The people of Japan stand with the British people at this difficult time," Abe said.

President Donald Trump said he was "hopeful and sure" that Johnson would recover from the virus.

"I want to express our nation's well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus," he said.

"All Americans are praying for him, he's a friend of mine, he's a great gentleman and a great leader."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted his well wishes to Johnson.

"Hang in there, Prime Minister Boris Johnson! Hope to see you out of hospital and in perfect health very soon," he said.

1:32 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Tyson Foods suspends production in Iowa after dozens of employees test positive for Covid-19

Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest poultry, beef and pork producers, is suspending operations at an Iowa pork plant after more than two dozen employees there tested positive for coronavirus.

The plant is located in the city of Columbus Junction, the company said in a statement.

CEO Noel White said the suspension was imposed "out of an abundance of caution," and that the company was seeing "varying levels of production impact."

"In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we’re diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our other pork plants in the region,” White said in the statement.

The statement also said the company is taking the temperature of workers at all locations before they enter facilities, has increased deep cleaning, is working to secure protective face coverings for workers, and has implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings.