April 8 coronavirus news

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4:48 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

UK is "nowhere near lifting lockdown," says London mayor

From CNN's Simon Cullen in London

Police officers patrol outside St Thomas' Hospital  in London on April 7.
Police officers patrol outside St Thomas' Hospital in London on April 7. Peter Summers/Getty Images

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says the United Kingdom is still some way off being able to ease the restrictions introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"We’re nowhere near lifting the lockdown," Khan told BBC Radio on Wednesday.
"I speak to experts regularly. We think the peak -- which is the worst part of the virus -- is still probably a week-and-a-half away."

Khan said there is still spare capacity in the city’s intensive care units, but added that "too many people are losing their lives."

Junior health minister agrees: Edward Argar told BBC Radio that the restrictions will be reviewed "when the scientific advice is such that we appear to have gone over the peak and when it is safe to do so."

"Now is the time to hold firm to what we’ve been telling people to do -- to stick to the guidance, stick to the regulations -- and not put at risk all the progress we have made."

He also urged people to stay home over the Easter weekend.

The lockdown restrictions were introduced by the UK government nearly three weeks ago. They were initially due to be reviewed on Monday.

There are at least 55,949 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, including 6,171 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:03 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Chaos rocks Trump White House on virus' most tragic day

Analysis by CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 7, in Washington, as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, listens.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 7, in Washington, as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, listens. Alex Brandon/AP

The chaos and confusion rocking President Donald Trump's administration on the most tragic day yet of the coronavirus pandemic was exceptional even by his own standards.

Trump set out Tuesday to cement his image of a wartime leader facing down an "invisible enemy" at a dark moment as the country waits for the virus to peak and with the economy languishing in suspended animation.

"What we have is a plague, and we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel," the President said, on a day when a record number of Americans succumbed to the wicked respiratory disease.

But instead of putting minds at rest, Trump's wild performance put on display many of the personal and political habits that have defined his tumultuous presidency. It was a troubling spectacle coming at such a wrenching chapter of national life, the kind of moment when presidents are called to provide consistent, level leadership.

What went down: To begin with, Trump sparked concern that he will prevent oversight of the disbursement of economic rescue funds by removing a watchdog official responsible for overseeing the $2 trillion package. The move, coming after Trump ousted an intelligence community inspector general last week, was yet another sign that an already impeached President is using the cover of the worst domestic crisis since World War II to further erode constraints on his power.

Then Trump insisted he hadn't seen January memos by a top White House official warning about the pandemic at the same time the President was dismissing it as a threat.

He also announced he was placing a "very powerful hold" on funding for the World Health Organization, even though it correctly identified the scale of the virus and he didn't. Then moments later, he insisted he did no such thing.

Read the full analysis here:

4:36 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

North Korea says it has developed nano-antibiotic masks 

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

A North Korean research institute has developed nano-antibiotic face masks, according to a report by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday.

"Amid a nationwide emergency anti-epidemic campaign to prevent Covid-19, the Medical Instrument Institute under the DPRK Ministry of Public Health recently developed a nano-antibiotic mask with domestic materials," KCNA reported. 

Unlike all of its East Asian neighbors, North Korea has not reported any coronavirus cases.

In the KCNA report, vice director of the institute Ri Jae Dok said that "the newly-developed mask fully confirms (sic) with the technological specifications of masks recognized by the World Health Organization.”

The masks are reportedly treated with a nano-antibiotic solution that helps sterilize and remove germs and viruses, and filters fine dust, according to the report. The masks are being produced at the Pyongyang Medical Appliances Factory, according to KCNA.

5:04 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

People in this German state have been asked to stay at home over Easter

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Cyclists pass Lake Riegsee in Bavaria, Germany, on April 5.
Cyclists pass Lake Riegsee in Bavaria, Germany, on April 5. Andreas Gebert/Getty Images

Residents of the southern state of Bavaria in Germany are being asked to stay at home over Easter to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“Please stay at home over the Easter holidays as well,” Bavaria’s State Minister of Transport Kerstin Schreyer said in a statement.

The statement also asked people not to go to lakes, into the mountains or visit relatives -- even though good weather is forecast over the holiday weekend.

4:11 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

A city in France has forbidden sitting on benches for more than two minutes

From CNN's Fanny Bobille and Pierre Bairin in Paris

Empty benches are seen at the seafront of Biarritz, France on April 7.
Empty benches are seen at the seafront of Biarritz, France on April 7. Gaizka Iroz/AFP/Getty Images

France is bringing in new, stricter measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The new rules came into place as the country's death toll passed 10,000.

National confinement measures haven't changed, but there are tighter measures in some places. These include:

  • Paris: Individual sporting activity is prohibited outdoors between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time, as of Wednesday.
  • Biarritz: The coastal city has forbidden sitting on benches for more than two minutes.
  • Sceaux: Philippe Laurent, mayor of the town in the southern Paris suburbs, announced that he had taken a decree obliging residents over the age of 10 to cover their noses and faces before leaving the house.

Those who fail to comply could face a fine of €135 ($145) with a possible increase to €375 and €1,500 in the event of a repeat offense.

"It is important that everyone understands that we absolutely need strict compliance with confinement," French health authority director Jerome Salomon said on Tuesday night. "A slackening would be extremely dangerous for the patients, for the caregivers.”
4:01 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

It's just past 9 a.m. in London and 10 a.m. in Paris. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic

A woman shows a sign on her bicycle as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care fighting the coronavirus in London, Tuesday, April 7.
A woman shows a sign on her bicycle as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care fighting the coronavirus in London, Tuesday, April 7. Alberto Pezzali/AP

If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments.

  • UK Prime Minister still in intensive care: British leader Boris Johnson is in a "stable" condition in intensive care at the hospital where he is being treated for coronavirus, junior health minister Edward Argar said today. "He’s comfortable and in good spirits. He has -- in the past -- had some oxygen but he’s not on ventilation," Argar said.
  • UK sourcing ventilators from the US: Speaking to Sky News, Argar also said the UK was trying to source 18,000 ventilator machines, almost double the number it currently has. Some will be coming from the US, he added, despite criticism from many US states that they don't have enough ventilators.
  • More than 10,000 deaths in France: The death toll continues to climb in the country, with over 10,300 fatalities in total, as of Wednesday morning. France has now reported more than 110,000 cases of the virus.
  • French economy shrinks by 6%: The coronavirus outbreak has severely affected France's economy, which contracted by 6% in the first quarter, according to the central bank. A study by the bank estimated the economy shrinks 1.5% for each fortnight of confinement.
  • Singapore bans public gatherings: The ban applies to both public and private gatherings in the Southeast Asian city state and is scheduled to run until May 4.
  • Passengers to be evacuated from cruise ships: Australian and New Zealand passengers aboard the Greg Mortimer cruise ship will be evacuated, after more than 60% of people onboard the vessel were confirmed to have coronavirus. Uruguay is helping to facilitate the evacuation.
  • Trump says WHO is "China-centric": In a tweet Tuesday, President Donald Trump said that the World Health Organization "really blew it" on the coronavirus and threatened to withdraw its US funding. Speaking later at a news conference, Trump said his administration was "going to look into it."
  • Japan officially enters a state of emergency: Japan entered a state of emergency on Tuesday in seven virus-hit prefectures including Tokyo. The government today reversed its decision to exclude the adult entertainment industry from its virus economic relief package.
3:52 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

China reports 62 new cases of coronavirus

Some 62 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in mainland China on Tuesday, with all but three of them imported, according to the country's National Health Commission.

The country also recorded two new deaths on Tuesday -- one in Shanghai, and one in Hubei, the province where the pandemic began.

This brings China's totals to:

  • 81,802 confirmed cases
  • 1,190 active cases
  • 3,333 deaths
  • 77,279 recovered and discharged from the hospital

Additionally, 137 new asymptomatic infections were reported, including 102 imported cases. Eleven of the new asymptomatic cases became confirmed cases later in the day.

There are currently 1,095 asymptomatic cases under medical observation.

4:34 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

French economy shrunk by 6% in the first quarter, central bank says

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The French economy shrunk by 6% in the first quarter, according to the Banque de France, the central bank, amid the economic hit from the coronavirus.

“The contraction of GDP in the 1st quarter of 2020 is estimated around -6%; each fortnight of confinement results in a loss of annual GDP close to -1.5%," a study by the bank on the French economy sent to CNN, says.

There are currently more than 110,000 coronavirus cases in France, with over 10,300 deaths.

3:33 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

A Texas woman was arrested for threatening to spread coronavirus, police say

From CNN's Jaide Timm-Garcia and Christina Maxouris

An 18-year-old in Texas claimed she had the coronavirus and threatened to spread it to others in a post on Snapchat.
An 18-year-old in Texas claimed she had the coronavirus and threatened to spread it to others in a post on Snapchat. Carrollton Police

An 18-year-old Texas woman was arrested Tuesday after she claimed to be "willfully spreading" coronavirus in a series of Snapchat videos, Carrollton police said. 

Lorraine Maradiaga later told police she had tested negative for the virusaccording to a Carrollton Police news release. Carrollton is about 20 miles north of Dallas. 

More than 399,900 people have tested positive for the virus in the US and at least 12,900 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally. 

Maradiaga was charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, and transferred to Denton County Jail, police said.

Her bond has been set at $20,000. It's unclear if Maradiaga has an attorney.

"As a condition of her bond, Maradiaga is ordered to quarantine for 21 days upon date of release from custody as a precaution," police said in a news release.