April 20 coronavirus news

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1:30 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Ninth Vatican employee tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Valentina Di Donato in Rome

An empty St. Peter's Square is seen Monday, April 13.
An empty St. Peter's Square is seen Monday, April 13. Andrew Medichini/AP/FILE

Ninth Vatican employee has tested positive for coronavirus, Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement on Monday.

The person was admitted to hospital and is under observation, Bruni said.

People who came into contact with the employee have tested negative for coronavirus, Bruni added.

12:58 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Italy's coronavirus case count decreases for the first time

CNN's Barbie Nadeau and Nicola Ruotolo 

A health care worker performs a serological test at Bellaria Hospital, where coronavirus swabs and serological tests are carried out to map the contagion, on Monday, April 20, in Bologna, Italy.
A health care worker performs a serological test at Bellaria Hospital, where coronavirus swabs and serological tests are carried out to map the contagion, on Monday, April 20, in Bologna, Italy. Michele Lapini/Getty Images

The number of active Covid-19 cases in Italy has decreased for the first time since the beginning of the crisis, according to figures released by Italy's Civil Protection Agency.

On Monday there were 108,237 active cases in Italy, down from 108,257 on Sunday.

Remember: There have also been fewer tests conducted in the last few days, the Civil Protection Agency reported.

12:26 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Protection equipment "is of concern" to Public Health England

Yvonne Doyle, director for health protection and medical director of Public Health England
Yvonne Doyle, director for health protection and medical director of Public Health England Pool

 

Public Health England is concerned about the availability of personal protective equipment for medical staff in the country, its director for health protection said Monday.

“It is of concern, and obviously we want people who are working with patients on the frontline have everything they need,” Yvonne Doyle, director for health protection and medical director of Public Health England said in the government’s daily press conference.

The British government has been accused of failing to do enough to make sure health workers in the country have sufficient personal protective equipment.

12:18 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

More than 140,000 UK firms apply for government support

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak Pool

 

Over 140,000 British firms applied for government financial support on the first day the program was open, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said Monday.

The job retention “grants they will receive will help pay wages of more than a million people,” Sunak said at the government’s daily press briefing.

 

11:35 a.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Angela Merkel cautions Germany to not be careless about their next steps against coronavirus

From Nadine Schmidt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference about measures to avoid further spread of the coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, on April 20.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference about measures to avoid further spread of the coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, on April 20. Markus Schreiber/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed her concerns over Germany's next steps in confronting the coronavirus at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.

We must not become careless and lull ourselves into a false sense of security,” Merkel said. “'We must remain disciplined ... My fear is that we must not lose our focus at the inception of this pandemic."

Preventing a relapse is not only in the interest of ourselves but also for our economy and social and public life, she said.

What we don't want is another shutdown."

Merkel cautioned against the false notion that life will soon be safe, and addressed reports saying she was unhappy about discussions involving Germany reopening.

She said Germany doesn't want to see what has happened in other countries.

'The wiggle room we have here — that we have given ourselves — this room for maneuver is being implemented primarily by the federal states through the ordinances and the law governing infectious diseases."

"To ensure we interpret this latitude we have given ourselves as narrowly as possible and not as broadly as possible, otherwise I fear we run the risk of not being able to keep the loosening restrictions under control."

When asked how she spent her weekend, the German Chancellor smiled and answered, “I obeyed all rules that were submitted."

11:32 a.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Putin says Russia's coronavirus peak is still ahead

CNN’s Nathan Hodge and Mary Ilyushina

Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured during a video conference in Moscow, Russia, on April 20.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured during a video conference in Moscow, Russia, on April 20. Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/AP

The peak of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak still lies ahead as more and more cases are reported in across the country, Russia President Vladimir Putin said in a videoconference with specialists on Monday.

“The spread of the epidemic, unfortunately, continues,” Putin said in a televised conference. “The number of citizens infected with coronavirus is growing, and not only in Moscow, which was the first to face the threat."

Putin initially said that early action had contained the spread of coronavirus. But the Russian government’s official assessments have since been more pessimistic. 

Moscow and its region still account for the majority of coronavirus cases, but the country's regions are lagging two to three weeks behind, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said at the meeting.

 “According to experts — that is, you and your colleagues — the peak of the incidence rate is yet to come,” Putin said. “And now we need to do everything to smooth out this peak, to shorten the transit time through the so-called plateau, when the largest number of new infections is recorded.”

10:57 a.m. ET, April 20, 2020

UK prime minister fears easing restrictions could cause second wave of coronavirus

Luke McGee

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pictured on April 12 in London, England.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pictured on April 12 in London, England. Pippa Fowles/Handout/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his ministers and advisers his main concern in easing restrictions would be a potential second wave of coronavirus, a government source told CNN.

Johnson expressed his concern during a two-hour Zoom video call with his team on Friday from the UK Prime Minister’s country residence, Chequers, where he is recovering from the virus.

On Monday, Johnson's spokesperson said a potential second peak “is ultimately what will do the most damage to health and economy. If you move too fast you risk a second peak. The public will expect us to protect life. If you have a second peak, it’s not just damaging for people’s health but would end up in a second lockdown which would be damaging on the economy.”

He said the government will be “guided by the science” in terms of when to lift social distancing measures.

The UK government could however potentially relax some coronavirus restriction measures and strengthen others, when it comes to a second review of the current lockdown, the spokesperson said.

10:01 a.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Spanish official says decreasing deaths "give us hope"

From Al Goodman, Isa Tejera and Ingrid Formanek

People on their balconies applaud to pay tribute to healthcare workers struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, April 18, in Madrid.
People on their balconies applaud to pay tribute to healthcare workers struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, April 18, in Madrid. Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

A rise of 399 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours brings Spain's total death figure to 20,852, according to figures released by the Spanish Ministry of Health Monday.

The death toll is a 2% increase — a slower rise than last week’s average.

These are “figures that give us hope,” Fernando Simón, Spain’s Director of Health Emergencies, said.

At the government’s daily technical committee briefing Simón reported 0.8% increase in hospital admissions, and 0.7% increase in ICU admissions over the last 24 hours — a lower trend than reported Sunday.

Meanwhile, Spain’s cabinet is due to discuss the rules for loosening measures for children and seniors on Tuesday. The new measures are planned to start on April 27th.

Simón warned that the expected relaxation of confinement measures for children means personal responsibility on the part of parents. 

“If people think kids are going to be going out to freely play with all their neighbors, that won’t be the case," he said.

Simón cautioned the outdoor movement of seniors saying “this virus can infect anyone, but doesn’t affect everybody equally. The risks for older people are much bigger “not because they’re more easily infected, but because the risk is much bigger if they do become infected."

8:45 a.m. ET, April 20, 2020

One of the last cruise ships at sea during the coronavirus outbreak has docked in a French port

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen docked during a refueling stopover in Fremantle, Australia, on March 24.
The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen docked during a refueling stopover in Fremantle, Australia, on March 24. Richard Wainwright/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

One of the last cruise ships still at sea after the coronavirus outbreak began has docked in Marseille, France, a Marseille Tourism spokesperson tells CNN.

The MSC Magnifica docked Monday morning with 1,769 mostly European passengers on board. All of them are healthy, the spokesperson told CNN, but before disembarking they are being checked by firefighters for temperature and symptoms.

The spokesperson said she knew of another cruise liner, the Costa Deliziosa, still out at sea. That cruise liner is currently off the coast of Barcelona, and is expected to dock in Genoa, Italy, tomorrow, she said.

Some context: The MSC Magnifica left port in Genoa, Italy on January 5th and since has been to several ports, the last one on the 10th of March in Wellington, New Zealand, Anne Kaufmann, spokesperson for MSC Croisieres told CNN.

MSC Cruises has halted all of its cruise departures until May 29.