April 22 coronavirus news

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6:49 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

Spain will allow children out for walks after protests from families stuck in lockdown

From CNN's Al Goodman, Isa Tejera and Ingrid Formanek in Spain

Two children share breakfast before starting their lessons at home in Seville, Spain, on April 14, amid a lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Two children share breakfast before starting their lessons at home in Seville, Spain, on April 14, amid a lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

The Spanish government has made a U-turn on its updated restrictions for children and will now allow them out for walks after six weeks of confinement, starting this Sunday.

Speaking in Parliament Wednesday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the change in the relaxation of restrictions for children. Sanchez made the statement less than a day after his government insisted that kids would only be allowed limited outings to places like supermarkets, pharmacies and banks, accompanied by an adult.

The negative response to the initial decision was immediate and loud, with people across Spain showing disapproval by banging pots and pans from windows and balconies on Tuesday evening. 

Many politicians and health professionals also swiftly criticized the rules set out on Tuesday, forcing a response from the government within hours, with Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa saying those rules would be adjusted to allow “walks under specific conditions.”

In an apparent effort to control the damage, Spain’s Prime Minister said “this is a government that listens” and recognizes the “tremendous effort that the confinement has been for the young ones, as well as mothers and fathers, and families.” But he added that the “exception to this small relief, which allows the young ones to go out, does not change the most important thing – the rule of general confinement that continues in place.”

Spain has the strictest confinement measures in Europe, and the world’s second-highest number of coronavirus cases, after the United States.

The Socialist Party Prime Minister was accused of mishandling the coronavirus crisis in a fiery speech in Parliament by the conservative opposition leader, Pablo Casado, head of the Popular Party.

"You are sinning from incompetence," Casado said. “You do not mess with our children. And you do not mess with the health of Spaniards."

Sanchez made his announcement ahead of a vote in Parliament to extend Spain’s state of alarm for the third time, until May 9. Parliament is expected to approve the extension, which would make the lockdown order a total of eight weeks.

The Spanish Prime Minister said “this extension is different than the others. It is one that will begin to de-escalate the rules of confinement.”

As Spain looks ahead to a return to normality with the number of coronavirus cases decreasing, Sanchez warned “the return to normality will be slow and gradual, because it has to be secure.” The country has been hard hit economically by the pandemic.

Sanchez also emphasized the so-called new normality demands that “we must talk about the health system, revitalize the pulse of our economy, and take social protection measures. It is essential to prioritize being in line with Europe. The pacts in Spain will be the pacts in Europe. This is the new politics.”

6:15 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

Germany says it has approved the first clinical vaccine trial

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The first clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine has been approved in Germany, the country's Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs has said.

The potential vaccine is being developed by biotech company BioNTech in Mainz, Germany.

An exterior view of biopharmaceutical company BioNTech in Mainz, Germany, pictured on March 18.
An exterior view of biopharmaceutical company BioNTech in Mainz, Germany, pictured on March 18. Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Paul Ehrlich Institute, the Federal Agency, says it was able to complete the approval process in four days.

Another human vaccine trial is set to get underway at Oxford University in the UK on Thursday, the British health secretary confirmed this week.

And a separate trial at London's Imperial College is also in the pipeline for June, with researchers asking for volunteers.

5:58 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

More than 825,000 coronavirus cases have now been reported in the US

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Paramedics and firefighters load a patient with coronavirus symptoms into an ambulance on April 21, in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
Paramedics and firefighters load a patient with coronavirus symptoms into an ambulance on April 21, in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

At least 825,306 people in the United States have been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. The total includes 45,075 deaths.

As states begin to include “probable deaths” in their counts, so will John Hopkins. In the upcoming days, these reporting changes may look like surges of deaths in the United States.

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here: https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-us-maps-and-cases/

5:28 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

World is facing "multiple famines of biblical proportions" because of coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Rob Picheta

A villager who had volunteered to fetch bags containing food rations from the site of an air drop takes a break at a village in Ayod county in South Sudan on February 6.
A villager who had volunteered to fetch bags containing food rations from the site of an air drop takes a break at a village in Ayod county in South Sudan on February 6. Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

The world is facing multiple famines of "biblical proportions" in just a matter of months, the UN has said, warning that the coronavirus pandemic will push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation.

Famines could take hold in "about three dozen countries" in a worst-case scenario, the executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a stark address on Tuesday. Ten of those countries already have more than 1 million people on the verge of starvation, he said.

He cited conflict, an economic recession, a decline in aid and a collapse in oil prices as factors likely to lead to vast food shortages, and urged swift action to avert disaster.

"While dealing with a Covid-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic," David Beasley told the UN's security council. "There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of Covid-19 than from the virus itself."

“We are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe,” Beasley said. “Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the specter of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.”
“There are no famines yet. But I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now -- to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade -- we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months,” he said.

The WFP had already warned that 2020 would be a devastating year for numerous countries ravaged by poverty or war, with 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. Their updated projections nearly double that number.

Read more here.

5:34 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

This California town is testing every resident for coronavirus and antibodies

From CNN's Augie Martin

A medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive thru testing location in Bolinas, California, on April 20.
A medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive thru testing location in Bolinas, California, on April 20. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A remote Northern California hamlet became one of the first places in the world Monday to attempt to comprehensively test all of its residents for Covid-19 and the antibodies believed to make one immune from infection.

The community-wide free testing effort in Bolinas, California, is voluntary. The town is one of two communities taking part in the new study launched by the University of California, San Francisco with the aim of gaining a more complete understanding of how the virus invisibly spread during the initial shortfall of comprehensive nationwide testing.

Bolinas, with a population of fewer than 2,000 people, sits idyllically on the Pacific Ocean in rural Marin County, just north of San Francisco. Starting this past Monday, residents of this picturesque town have four days to visit a pop-up testing site to receive nasal swabs for Covid-19 infection, as well as submit for a finger prick to test for antibodies.

Five days later, beginning on April 25, and in an entirely different location, nearly 6,000 residents of a section of the densely inhabited Mission District in San Francisco will have four days of their own in which to take advantage of the testing.

Read more here.

5:21 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

Turkey says it wasn't to blame for delay in PPE shipment to UK

From CNN's Simon Cullen

A British Royal Air Force plane is seen at Istanbul Airport, Turkey, to transport personal protective equipment to the UK.
A British Royal Air Force plane is seen at Istanbul Airport, Turkey, to transport personal protective equipment to the UK. Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Turkish Ambassador to the UK has said his government did everything it could to organize the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the UK.

An RAF plane carrying some of the PPE landed in England on Wednesday – several days after it was due to arrive.

Ümit Yalçın said the Turkish government was only approached by the UK on Sunday to help facilitate the export of PPE, which was acquired through a commercial contract.

“When we were approached, we immediately reacted positively,” Yalçın told BBC radio.
“I can assure you that the reason for the delay is not because of the Turkish government or Turkish authorities – we have done what is necessary and we have done what we have been requested.”

4:39 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

Bangladeshi garment workers face ruin as global brands ditch clothing contracts amid coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Rebecca Wright in Hong Kong and journalist Salman Saeed in Dhaka, Bangladesh

A laborer works in a garment factory during a government-imposed coronavirus lockdown on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 7.
A laborer works in a garment factory during a government-imposed coronavirus lockdown on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 7. Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

When Fatema Akther arrived for work at the Alif Casual Wear garment factory in Dhaka in late March, she had no idea it would be her last day.

"My line chief came and told me that I didn't have to work anymore," said Akther, 25, who had been employed there for five years. She said the company, which could not be reached for comment, decided to close the factory, leaving her without a source of income past March.

The coronavirus pandemic has led factories to furlough or lay off more than half of the country's nearly 4.1 million garment workers, according to estimates from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Like Akther, most of them are women, and the roughly $110 they earn every month is often their families' only source of money.

"My family runs on my single income," said Akther, who said she provides for her husband and child. "I don't know how my family will survive."

Global lockdowns and unprecedented job losses have caused demand for just about anything that isn't food to evaporate, including clothing. That's led the international apparel brands and retailers who rely on the cheap labor that Bangladesh provides to cancel or suspend an estimated $3.17 billion worth of orders in the country, according to BGMEA.

Read more:

4:44 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

British scientists call for volunteers for human trials of coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Imperial College London is seen on March 27 as lockdown remains in place across the UK to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Imperial College London is seen on March 27 as lockdown remains in place across the UK to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

Coronavirus vaccine researchers in London are asking for volunteers to take part in human trials in June.

A team at Imperial College London has been carrying out tests on animals since February and has secured government funding to fast-track its work.

“We are looking for volunteers to take part in our trial in June -- they will be the first volunteers to get the vaccine,” Professor Robin Shattock told BBC radio. “And we’ll be studying what doses give us the best type of immune response and are free from showing any sort of tolerability issues.”
“There’s always an element of risk in any clinical trial, but we try to remove those elements and minimize them as much as possible.”

The college said early findings show that in animals, the vaccine does have a positive effect.

Shattock said the coronavirus is not as difficult a target compared with other diseases.

“It’s very different from influenza, which changes every year,” he said. “Scientifically there’s a very high chance of success of getting a vaccine.”

4:22 a.m. ET, April 22, 2020

Singapore surpasses 10,000 total confirmed coronavirus cases

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

People wearing face masks keep their distance in a queue to enter a wet market in Singapore on April 22.
People wearing face masks keep their distance in a queue to enter a wet market in Singapore on April 22. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

More than 10,000 people in Singapore have contracted the novel coronavirus, authorities in the city-state said Wednesday.

Singapore confirmed another 1,016 new cases as of 12 p.m. today local time, pushing the the total number of infections to 10,141, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The vast majority of those newly diagnosed are work permit holders who reside in dormitories for foreign workers, which are cramped. Fifteen of those diagnosed are Singaporean nationals or permanent residents.

Read more about why cases have been spiking in Singapore here: