April 7 coronavirus news

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12:07 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

For the first time since January, China has reported no new coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Isaac Yee and Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

A face mask-clad cyclist rides alongside a barricade separating a residential compound in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province, on April 6, after some restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic were eased in the city.
A face mask-clad cyclist rides alongside a barricade separating a residential compound in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province, on April 6, after some restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic were eased in the city. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

China reported no new novel coronavirus deaths or locally transmitted cases yesterday, according to the country's National Health Commission. 

There were 32 new cases -- all of them imported from abroad.

This is the first time China has reported no new coronavirus deaths since the NHC began releasing daily updates in late January.

China has now recorded a total of 81,740 cases and 3,331 deaths, according to the NHC.

This doesn't represent the total number of active cases, but rather the number of infections since the pandemic began. Of those total cases, 77,167 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, according to the NHC.

Much of China is returning to normal life. Hubei province -- ground zero for the pandemic -- and many other parts of the country have been under lockdown and movement restrictions for three months, but curbs designed to stop the spread of the virus are beginning to loosen as the perceived level of threat subsides.

Tomorrow, the lockdown on Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak, will be lifted -- a significant milestone in its battle against the deadly virus.

Starting tomorrow, people will be allowed to leave Wuhan and Hubei if they have a green QR code on their mobile phones, which the provincial government has distributed as an indicator of people's health status.

11:46 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Samsung says it eked out a profit rise before the worst of the pandemic hit

From CNN's Sherisse Pham

Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, predicts it eked out a rise in profit last quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to disrupt supply chains and hobble global demand.

The South Korean company said on Tuesday that it expects to make an operating profit of roughly 6.4 trillion won ($5.2 billion) for the January-to-March period. That's up nearly 3% from the same period a year ago and right in line with what analysts polled by data provider Refinitiv predicted.

Samsung said it expects sales will also rise about 5% to 55 trillion won ($45 billion).

Shares in Samsung rose about 2% in Seoul on the news, though later pared gains to 1.4%.

The company will report full first-quarter results at the end of this month.

Read the full story here:

11:30 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Ventilators don't operate on their own. Respiratory therapists are key to coronavirus treatment

From CNN's Eric Levenson

The rapid spread of coronavirus has sent states scrambling to buy ventilators to prepare for a coming apex of cases.

But ventilators do not operate on their own. And while the ventilator shortage remains a serious issue, much less attention has been paid to the health care workers needed to operate those machines: respiratory therapists.

Respiratory therapists are specially trained to treat people with breathing problems. Amid this pandemic, their role as master of the mechanical ventilator has brought them a new level of recognition for what has long been an unfamiliar job.

They are the ones who track Covid-19 patients' oxygen levels, manage their breathing and, if need be, intubate them and set up a mechanical ventilator.

There are 155,000 licensed respiratory therapists in the US, according to the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). Still, their work remains "virtually unknown," said Tom Kallstrom, the CEO and executive director of the AARC.

Read more about it here:

11:15 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

China donates 170,000 PPE coveralls to India

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi and Mitchell McCluskey in Atlanta

China has donated 170,000 coverall suits to India, the Indian Press Information Bureau confirmed in a statement.

These are head-to-toe suits that protect medical workers and frontline emergency responders from possible exposure to the coronavirus when handling infected patients.

The Indian government said it has also ordered 8 million complete personal protective equipment (PPE) kits from a Singapore-based company, with deliveries expected from April 11, and is in negotiations with a Chinese firm to place an order of 6 million complete PPE kits.

India is also racing to produce PPE domestically: 190,000 coveralls and 200,000 N95 face masks produced in India will be distributed to hospitals nationwide, according to the Press Information Bureau.

The majority of new PPE and masks are being sent to states with a comparatively higher number of cases, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan.

This comes as the country prepares for things to get worse. Last week, a 56-year-old man became the first patient to die in a Mumbai shantytown considered one of the largest slums in Asia. If the virus hits India's slums, the resulting outbreak could be disastrous, health officials and experts warn.

India now has 4,778 confirmed coronavirus cases and 136 reported deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

11:04 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Venezuelan refugees are returning home amid the coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Natalie Gallón

Venezuelans who once fled their homes for neighboring Colombia are now returning to their country.

As the coronavirus pandemic shuts down Colombia's flights, borders and economy, some Venezuelan migrants say they see little choice but to return home -- where they may face still worse economic devastation and a crumbling health infrastructure.

As of today, the virus has killed 46 and infected 1,579 people in Colombia, which is under a nationwide quarantine expected to end April 26.

"We want these days which are going to change our daily lives, which are going to alter our common and ordinary life, to serve to protect those who need it most," said Colombian President Iván Duque, when he announced the quarantine. The country's most vulnerable residents, he said, would receive the state's support.

But many of the 1.6 million Venezuelans in the country cannot access help. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, nearly 60% of Venezuelans in Colombia have not registered with the government and therefore cannot access vital services. Those who work irregular jobs are finding their only income dried up, and some are so desperate that they're picking up their few belongings and beginning the long, arduous trek home by foot.

Venezuela may be an even more dangerous destination. With the country's health care system in a state of collapse and an economy on a constant downward spiral, local doctors fear Venezuela will be hard-hit by the virus. 

Read the full story here:

10:54 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Uruguay confirms "high number" of cases on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship

From CNN's Dario Klein and Jackie Castillo

View of Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer and a ship of the Uruguayan Navy off the port of Montevideo on April 6.
View of Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer and a ship of the Uruguayan Navy off the port of Montevideo on April 6. Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images

Uruguay's foreign ministry said there is a "high number of positive (coronavirus) results" aboard the Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer, currently docked off the coast of the South American country.

The ship's operator announced earlier today that at least 81 passengers and crew on the ship have tested positive.

Six passengers on the ship required specialized care and were transferred to medical centers in the capital city Montevideo for treatment, said a statement from the ministry.

"The remainder of the passengers and crew have been classified as asymptomatic or with mild symptoms," the statement said.

The ministry also said that passengers will not be able to disembark the ship unless a humanitarian effort can be organized. 

The cruise ship originally had 128 passengers and 83 crew members onboard. More than 120 passengers and staff onboard were tested for Covid-19. Some 45 have tested negative, and another 90 test results are expected to be processed over the next 12 to 24 hours.

 

10:44 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

New Zealand's health minister has been demoted after breaking lockdown rules to go to the beach

New Zealand Health minister David Clark speaks to media during a news conference on March 19 in Wellington, New Zealand.
New Zealand Health minister David Clark speaks to media during a news conference on March 19 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand Health Minister David Clark has been demoted after going on a beach trip and breaking the rules of the nationwide lockdown.

“Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a statement today. 

“Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses. But right now, my priority is our collective fight against Covid-19. We cannot afford massive disruption in the health sector or to our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr. Clark will maintain his role," the statement said.

Instead of being fired, he will be stripped of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings.

“I expect better, and so does New Zealand,” said Ardern.

The beach trip: In a separate statement, Clark said he had driven his family to a beach for a walk, on the first weekend of the lockdown.

"This trip was a clear breach of the lockdown principles of staying local and not driving long distances to reach recreation spots," he said.

"At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I’ve let the team down. I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me."
10:55 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

China releases its official timeline of coronavirus pandemic through state news agency

From CNN's Ben Westcott in Hong Kong

In this photo released by the state-run Xinhua news agency, firefighters conduct disinfection on the platform at Yichang East Railway Station in Yichang, in central China's Hubei Province on March 24.
In this photo released by the state-run Xinhua news agency, firefighters conduct disinfection on the platform at Yichang East Railway Station in Yichang, in central China's Hubei Province on March 24. Wang Shen/Xinhua via AP

China's state-run Xinhua news agency has released its official timeline of the coronavirus pandemic, from the original outbreak in mainland China to its global spread by March 31.

Full of praise for the government's efforts to control the outbreak, the lengthy timeline makes no mention of international criticism of the country's secrecy around the first cases of the virus nor their official response.

"Upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity, China has been timely releasing information on Covid-19 since the onset of the epidemic in an open, transparent and responsible manner," the timeline said.

According to Xinhua, the outbreak was first detected in late December 2019, contradicting reports from the Wuhan health authorities who said cases were found as early as December 12.

There is no early mention of doctor Li Wenliang's attempts to raise awareness of the virus on December 30 or how he was summoned to a police station on January 3, where he had to sign a statement promising not to commit further "unlawful acts."

The timeline only reports that Wuhan announced a pneumonia outbreak in the city on December 31.

Li, who died of the coronavirus in February, is mentioned once in the official timeline on March 19, when the Wuhan Public Security Bureau officially apologized and revoked his reprimand letter. Why he was reprimanded is not mentioned.

The timeline explicitly says that China began to inform the United States about the outbreak on January 3.

10:24 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Two Native American reservations are imposing curfews due to the coronavirus

Two of Nevada’s Native American nations are enforcing mandatory curfews for their members in an attempt to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony near the California border is requiring all members to stay in their homes from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., except for people who have an essential task to do or need emergency medical treatment. 

Even a first-time offense can result in a $500 fine. The third violation could result in jail time. The curfew is set to expire on April 30, but may be extended.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, located 35 miles northeast of Reno, established its own curfew effective today, which begins each night at 10 p.m. Violations of that law will result in a $100 fine. The curfew does not have an expiration date.

The two jurisdictions have a total of approximately 2,500 tribal members.