Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.
April 21 coronavirus news
By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Rob Picheta, CNN
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined a five-point plan for managing the coronavirus epidemic on Tuesday.
Addressing Italy's House of representatives, Conte said that the plan will focus on:
- Continued social distancing with use of masks and gloves until a vaccine or a therapy is available.
- Reinforcing the health care system, and paying special attention to care homes to "avoid another out-of-control explosion of contagion."
- Creating special Covid-19 hospitals designated to cater exclusively to coronavirus patients.
- Conducting antibody testing in a large study to determine the spread of the virus among the population. Conte said 300,000 serological tests have been requested.
- Contact tracing. Last week the government officially chose a contract tracing app, called Immuni, which is in the testing phase, but the choice to download it will be voluntary, Conte said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.