April 13 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Amy Woodyatt, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:11 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020
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1:59 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

China’s navy is controlling coronavirus and aircraft carrier’s deployment proves it, report says

From CNN's Brad Lendon in Hong Kong

In this file photo from July 7, 2017, China's Liaoning aircraft carrier arrives in Hong Kong.
In this file photo from July 7, 2017, China's Liaoning aircraft carrier arrives in Hong Kong. Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

A Chinese naval flotilla headed into the Pacific over the weekend, evidence that the People’s Liberation Army Navy has done a much better job controlling coronavirus than the US Navy, according to a story posted on the PLA’s English-language website.

The aircraft carrier Liaoning led the group, which included two guided-missile destroyers, two guided-missile frigates and an auxiliary ship, according to the report from state-run tabloid Global Times. It cited Japanese and Taiwanese reports and noted the PLA had not confirmed the operation.

The report said that the Chinese carrier was carrying out this operation while four US Navy aircraft carriers -- the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Nimitz -- have reported cases of coronavirus, crimping their operations.

The Roosevelt, now docked in Guam, has been hit the hardest by the virus, with 585 cases among its crew of more than 4,000 people. Almost all of them have been moved ashore on the island and work is going on to disinfect the ship, delaying its ability to deploy.

The PLA Navy has no such issues, Chinese military experts told the Global Times.

"Through the voyage, the Liaoning showed that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has done a great job in the epidemic prevention and control work and COVID-19 epidemic has not had an impact on its deployment and operations," the story says, citing Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
"It showed that the PLA can dispatch troops stationed anywhere at any time, with the troops always maintaining vigorous combat capabilities. The Chinese people can always count on them," Xu is quoted as saying.
1:30 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Japan reports 530 new coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka and Junko Ogura in Tokyo

People cross a street in Tokyo on April 8.
People cross a street in Tokyo on April 8. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s health ministry confirmed 530 new coronavirus cases and four deaths on Sunday. 

As of Monday, at least 7,967 cases have been reported across the country, including 712 infections from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, according to the health ministry.

The death toll of 114 includes 12 fatalities linked to the ship.

The latest spike in cases came as large parts of Japan entered a first weekend under a state of emergency and Tokyo recorded its highest single-day jump in cases on Saturday, with 197 infections. 

WHO warning: Last week, an official at the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Japan may need to take stronger measures to contain the coronavirus in areas with untraceable infections, according to Japan's public broadcaster, NHK.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Program said Japan would have to scale up testing and isolation to keep infection rates down, NHK reported.

1:07 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Japanese PM’s video at home with pet dog meets social media backlash

By CNN’s Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Japanese social media users have accused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of being tone-deaf after he posted a video of himself relaxing at home as people across the country struggle to work from home.

During the pandemic, many multinational companies have turned to messaging and video conferencing software such as Slack and Webex to keep in touch with colleagues. But in Japan, about 80% of companies do not have the ability to let their employees work remotely, according to 2019 government data.

Posted on Twitter, the video shows Abe reading a book, sipping a hot drink and relaxing with his pet dog as a musician serenades him online from another location. 

“We can’t see our friends or go out drinking. However, such (staying at home) actions are saving many lives and relieves the strain on healthcare professionals who are facing very challenging circumstances,” tweeted Abe. “Thanks to every single individual for their cooperation.”

State of emergency: Abe’s tweet urging people to stay at home comes as large parts of Japan entered a first weekend under a state of emergency.

Earlier in April, Abe faced public backlash after he said the government would distribute two reusable cloth face masks to roughly 50 million households amid growing concern over medical shortages.

Cases spike: The number of confirmed cases has spiked in recent days, after it appeared that Japan's initial response had brought the virus relatively under control. As of Monday, at least 7,967 cases have been reported across the country, including 712 cases linked to the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, according to Japan's health ministry.

12:43 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Beijing tightens grip over coronavirus research, amid US-China row on virus origin

From CNN's Nectar Gan, Caitlin Hu and Ivan Watson

China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus, according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web.

Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts.

A medical expert in Hong Kong who collaborated with mainland researchers to publish a clinical analysis of Covid-19 cases in an international medical journal said his work did not undergo such vetting in February.

Controlling the narrative: The increased scrutiny appears to be the latest effort by the Chinese government to manage the origin story of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 114,000 lives and sickened over 1.85 million people worldwide since it first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Since late January, Chinese researchers have published a series of Covid-19 studies in influential international medical journals. Some findings about early coronavirus cases -- such as when human-to-human transition first appeared -- have raised questions over the official government account of the outbreak and sparked controversy on Chinese social media.

Read more here:

1:22 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

SoftBank CEO plans to supply 300 million masks a month for Japan

From CNN's Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo and Michelle Toh in Hong Kong

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son at a news conference in Tokyo in August 2019.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son at a news conference in Tokyo in August 2019. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son says he has reached a deal to supply 300 million face masks a month for Japan, his home country.

Son announced the deal on Twitter over the weekend, saying that he had partnered with Chinese automaker BYD to dedicate a factory line exclusively for SoftBank.

Some 100 million of the masks produced each month will be N95s, while the remaining 200 million will be general surgical masks, he added.

Son said he would distribute the masks in consultation with the government starting in May, working first to supply medical institutions before handing them out to the general public.

Japan's government has dramatically stepped up mask production after a shortage in the country led to widespread criticism.

Last week, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency over the pandemic, he also said that the government would start targeting domestic production of 700 million disposable masks per month.

Authorities are now working to distribute two masks to each household in a new initiative slated to kick off this week.

Son has criticized the government over its response to the outbreak, asking why a politician is leading the country's efforts instead of doctors.

"In the United States, Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, is heading the fight against corona," Son said on Twitter last week. "Why is Japan letting its Minister for Economic Revival take the lead?"
12:35 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

China reports more than 100 new cases of coronavirus for first time in a month

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong and Steven Jiang in Beijing

China's National Health Commission announced 108 new cases of the novel coronavirus this morning, the highest number in at least a month.

The vast majority of the new infections were imported, with 98 of those diagnosed bringing the virus with them from overseas.

But there were also 10 locally transmitted cases -- seven in the northeastern Heilongjiang province, and three in Guangdong province in the south of the country.

Despite being the original epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, China has seen a dramatic reduction in cases over the past month and has recently begun to remove strict lockdown provisions across the country.

But officials are now concerned about a second wave of infections brought into China from overseas.

The total number of cases reported officially in the country is now 82,160, with 3,341 deaths.

1:22 a.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Cuba sends second round of medical workers to Italy amid coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Claudia Dominguez and Hira Humayun

Doctors and nurses of Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade are bid farewell before they travel to hard-hit Italy to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, at the Central Unit of Medical Cooperation in Havana, on March 21.
Doctors and nurses of Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade are bid farewell before they travel to hard-hit Italy to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, at the Central Unit of Medical Cooperation in Havana, on March 21. Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

Cuba is sending a second medical brigade to Italy to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, according to a tweet from the Cuban foreign ministry on Sunday.

The team of 38 is leaving Cuba on Monday, according to the ministry’s statement, and includes 21 doctors, 16 nurses and one logistics coordinator, according to the statement.

The team is being sent at the request of Italian authorities, backed by Italy's health ministry and other organizations including the Italian Red Cross, the statement said.

The first group of medical workers from Cuba has been in Italy since March 22, the statement added.

11:20 p.m. ET, April 12, 2020

US judge blocks Alabama emergency order requiring delay of most abortions during pandemic

A federal judge is blocking the full enforcement of an Alabama emergency order which would put off some abortion procedures during the coronavirus emergency. 

In a rare injunction issued on a Sunday, Judge Myron Thompson said Alabama’s rule could effectively keep some pregnant women from being able to obtain an abortion at all. 

“For at least some women, a mandatory postponement until April 30 would operate as a prohibition of abortion,” Judge Thompson wrote, “entirely nullifying their right to terminate their pregnancies, or would impose a substantial burden on their ability to access an abortion.”

The judge says the state’s delay can be enforced only on a case-by-case basis, and only after considering several factors, including whether delay would keep a pregnant woman from being able to obtain an abortion at all after the state emergency is due to expire on April 30. 

Under Alabama law, most abortions are illegal starting in the 20th week of pregnancy.

11:01 p.m. ET, April 12, 2020

It's 11 p.m. in New York and 11 a.m in Beijing. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic

  • Global cases top 1.8 million: At least 1,848,503 cases of the novel coronavirus and more than 114,000 deaths have now been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. This doesn't represent the total number of active cases, but rather the number of infections since the pandemic began. 
  • US worst-affected country by far: The United States has confirmed more than 556,000 cases, with New York City alone reporting over 104,000 infections. More than 22,000 people have died countrywide. Speaking on Sunday, the country's top medical expert on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN that lives would have been saved if mitigation efforts had started earlier.
  • 2020 US Presidential vote could be affected: Speaking to CNN, Fauci said that he "can't guarantee" US voters will be able to cast their ballot for president in person in November, saying that there could be a rebound in coronavirus cases in autumn or winter.
  • Spain to begin loosening restrictions: Despite still reporting thousands of new infections every day, the Spanish government has announced it will begin rolling back some of its tough lockdown restrictions from Monday. The move is aimed at sectors like construction and manufacturing -- but non-essential retail outlets, bars and places of entertainment must remain closed. 
  • More than 100 new infections in China: For the first time in at least a week, the Chinese government has announced a three-figure rise in new infections, recording 108 new confirmed cases on Sunday. All but 10 of the new cases were imported.
  • Beijing tightens grip on research: All academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting by the Chinese government before being submitted for publication, according to a new policy. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials.