April 21 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 9:13 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020
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3:45 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Covid-19 virus lingers longer in sicker patients, Chinese study finds

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

The new coronavirus lingers for as long as three weeks in the bodies of patients with severe disease, Chinese researchers reported Tuesday.

The virus can be found deep in the lungs and in the stool of patients, and the sicker they are, the longer it stays, the team at a hospital in China’s Zhejiang province reported. But the virus was found in the urine of patients less than half the time, and rarely in the blood at first. 

Their report provides another piece of evidence about the pattern of disease in Covid-19 patients. It published in the BMJ. Unlike many recently released studies about the coronavirus, this one has gone through peer review, which means other experts have reviewed the findings.

The team tested 96 patients treated in their hospital for Covid-19 between January and March. They tested samples from the nose and throat, from deeper in the respiratory system, in the blood, stool and urine. They wanted to see how long people had virus in their systems and whether it was likely to spread in various ways. The findings support other studies showing that the virus could spread in stool from infected people.

In general, the sicker people were, the longer the virus could be detected. That could be important for doctors to know, so they can predict which patients will fare better, and, perhaps, how long they may remain infectious to others. 

“The median duration of virus in respiratory samples was 18 days,” they wrote. 

More on this: An earlier Chinese study showed that people without symptoms had just as much virus in their noses as people who had Covid-19 symptoms – something that indicated people who are not sick could be just as likely to spread virus as people who are.

The team in Zhejiang found that sicker people had more virus deeper in their respiratory tracts, however.

They also found differences between men and women with Covid-19. “In this study, we found that the duration of virus was significantly longer in men than in women,” they wrote.

“Our results shed light on the causes of disease severity in men in terms of the duration of the virus. In addition to differences in immune status between men and women, it has also been reported to be related to differences in hormone levels,” the team wrote.


2:19 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Air Canada will suspend flights to the US until May 22

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Cole Burston/Getty Images/FILE
Cole Burston/Getty Images/FILE

Air Canada will suspend flights to the United States until May 22. 

According to a statement on Tuesday, Air Canada made the decision “as a result of the agreement between the governments of Canada and the United States to extend border restrictions by an additional 30 days.”

The airline is waiving change fees for customers with bookings during this period, according to the statement.

Air Canada has reduced its schedule by more than 90% since March 16, the airline said.

2:16 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

ICU admissions in France continue to decline, health official says

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer and Benjamin Berteau in Paris

A patient infected with COVID-19 is transferred to intensive care from on April 17, at the Emile Muller hospital in Mulhouse,  France.
A patient infected with COVID-19 is transferred to intensive care from on April 17, at the Emile Muller hospital in Mulhouse, France. Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

The number of patients admitted to intensive care in France has declined for the 13th consecutive day, Jerome Salomon, the director of France's health agency, announced today.

Salomon, speaking at his daily press conference in Paris, gave an overview of where things stand now:

  • There have so far been at least 117,324 confirmed coronavirus cases in France, including deaths and recoveries.
  • At least 30,106 patients are currently hospitalized.
  • At least 5,433 patients are in intensive care units.
1:53 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Netherlands bans large events until September

From CNN's Mick Krever

The Netherlands will extend its lockdown for most businesses until May 20 and ban large events until September 1, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a news conference on Tuesday.

“As much as I understand that impatience is creeping in, we know that a rapid easing could lead to the virus immediately getting the chance to peak again,” Rutte said.

The uncertainty is still “too large” for businesses that require close contact, like barbers and nail salons, he said.

Primary students will begin attending school in a staggered fashion starting May 11.

“Children in primary education will, to start with, go to school half of the time,” he said. “For example, one half of the students will go one day and the other half will go the other day.”

He said that social distancing for these students is “not realistic,” but that all evidence indicates that their Covid-19 risk is much lower. 

Some other primary education institutions like nurseries and special education will be able to open to students full time.

2:06 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Amazon France shutdown extended as company awaits appeal decision

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer

The entrance of an Amazon logistics center on Tuesday, April 21, in Bretigny-sur-Orge, France.
The entrance of an Amazon logistics center on Tuesday, April 21, in Bretigny-sur-Orge, France. Chesnot/Getty Images

Amazon will extend its shutdown in France until at least April 25, the company said on Tuesday.

Amazon announced it was shutting down its distribution centers last Wednesday following a court ruling that ordered it to restrict its local delivery operations to essential goods only.

“The company will reevaluate its position once the appeal court ruling is given on Friday, April 24th," Amazon said in a statement in Tuesday.

Amazon employees will continue receiving their full salary, the statement added.

Remember: France suspended all non-essential business last month, a measure that is set to remain in place until May 11. The French court also required that the company carry out an assessment of the "occupational risks inherent in the Covid-19 epidemic" in all of its warehouses.

1:45 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Vietnam will restart domestic flights

From Andy Nguyen and Jane Lee

Vietnam will restart domestic flights on Thursday as the country sets to ease restrictions, according to the country's Civil Aviation Authority.

Vietnam has reported at least 268 cases of coronavirus and no deaths, according to the Ministry of Health. On Tuesday, the country recorded its fifth straight day of no new cases.

The government has been credited with responding swiftly with tests as well as it efforts to quarantine people.  

As of Monday, the government reported 60,163 people were isolated at home with another 15,368 quarantined at camps. 

Vietnam has conducted at least 174,489 tests, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

12:54 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

The number of active coronavirus cases in Italy falls second day in a row

From CNN's Barbie Nadeau, Nicola Ruotolo and Mia Alberti

The number of active Covid-19 cases in Italy has gone down for the second day in a row, according data released by the the Italian Civil Protection Agency on Tuesday.

The country saw the biggest daily drop in active cases, reporting 528 fewer cases than on Monday.

The number of patients in ICU has also dropped, with 102 fewer than Monday.

12:54 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Spanish children will now be allowed on errands with parents

From CNN’s Al Goodman, Isa Tejera, Ingrid Formanek and Mia Alberti 


A family wearing protective masks walk in Barcelona on March 13.
A family wearing protective masks walk in Barcelona on March 13. Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

After six weeks in lockdown, children under 14 in Spain will be allowed to accompany one adult on trips to places like supermarkets, pharmacies and banks starting Monday, according to a new decree announced by the Spanish government today.

“The government is aware that this is only a partial relief from this confinement, but we would like to stress that our priority is to avoid a hypothetical regression in the fight against the virus," said Spanish government spokesperson and finance minister María Jesús Montero. 

Montero defended the decision, saying “common sense and rationality cannot be substituted,” and activities such as bike riding — where a child's movements cannot be controlled — would not be advisable. 

Some context: Spain has the strictest coronavirus confinement measures in Europe. 

But health professionals have cautioned that extended confinement could prove harmful to children’s physical and mental health.

Montero and other officials have said these measures would not allow kids to just go out and play. Parks, playgrounds and beaches remain closed to the public.

12:44 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Last major cruise ship at sea fails to dock due to rough weather

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite and Mia Alberti

The Costa Deliziosa docked at the port of Barcelona on April 20.
The Costa Deliziosa docked at the port of Barcelona on April 20. Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

The planned docking of the world’s last major cruise ship remaining at sea was scuttled by rough seas Tuesday, the port authority of Genoa, Italy, said.

The Costa Deliziosa is now anchored just outside the port, officials said.

“The captain decided not to dock this afternoon given the sea conditions. The ship is located about 7 km from the coast and the docking was scheduled for this afternoon. It is unlikely that the ship will dock before tomorrow morning,” the port authority operations room told CNN.

Costa Deliziosa has 1,519 remaining guests and 898 crew on board. No cases of coronavirus have been reported cases on board the ship, a statement to CNN from Costa Cruises said Tuesday.

Other than that ship, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) says there are no major cruise ships with passengers at sea anywhere in the world.

Some context: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States issued a "no sail order" for cruise ships on March 14 in order to fight the spread of coronavirus. The original 30-day order was extended effective April 15. The CDC said CLIA voluntarily complied with the order.