April 24 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 0137 GMT (0937 HKT) April 25, 2020
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12:41 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

London police arrest more than 4,000 people for domestic abuse during Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

Police officers patrol the near-deserted streets in London on April 16.
Police officers patrol the near-deserted streets in London on April 16. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty

London's Metropolitan Police arrested more than 4,000 people for domestic abuse since the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus were introduced, the force said in a statement on Friday.

"The COVID-19 restrictions and 'stay at home' instruction is vital to managing this public health crisis, but unfortunately it has also left current and potential victims of domestic abuse even more vulnerable and isolated," said Commander Sue Williams, the Met's lead for safeguarding.

She added: "Victims should be assured that they can leave their homes to escape harm or seek help, and they will not be penalized in any way for not maintaining social distancing, or otherwise breaching COVID-19 restrictions. Our prime concern is protecting victims and others who are affected, and bringing offenders to justice."

12:42 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

UK government to start trials of drones delivering medical supplies

Britain's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps leaves number 10, Downing Street in central London on March 17.
Britain's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps leaves number 10, Downing Street in central London on March 17. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

The UK government has green-lit trials for drone delivery of medicines and medical equipment, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said at the daily coronavirus briefing on Friday.

Plans were already in motion to use drones to make deliveries in the UK, but due to the coronavirus crisis, "now we have an urgent need" to fast-track them, he said.

The trials will begin next week and will carry medical equipment to St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight, off UK's southern coast, Shapps said.

10:48 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Here's who is joining the World Health Organization's new vaccine efforts

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Melinda Gates speaks at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City.
Melinda Gates speaks at Hunter College on February 13, 2018 in New York City. John Lamparski/Getty Images

Leaders from around the world joined the World Health Organization, after it announced the launch of a new effort to accelerate the development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's what they're saying: 

  • Melinda Gates, speaking for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a co-host of the effort, said, “the moment we are living through right now is a reminder, that we’re all part of the same global community. As new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines become available, we have a responsibility to get them out equitably, with the understanding that all lives have equal value.” 
  • António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations said “the world needs development, production and equitable delivery of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.” 
  • Giuseppe Conte, prime minister of Italy said, “There is one thing we understand well, finding and distributing the vaccine is the only way to win this battle,” adding, "You can count on Italy, together we will make it.”
  • Dominic Raab, Britain’s Foreign secretary who has stepped in for Boris Johnson, said “by working together, we can develop an affordable vaccine which is accessible to everyone who needs it, as quickly as possible, to end this pandemic once and for all.” 
  • Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa said, “As now more than ever, the world needs solidarity and cooperation to mobilize and guide all efforts and drive delivery towards equitable access to new Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.” Ramaphosa added, “Africa is extremely vulnerable to the ravages of this virus, and is in need of every possible support and assistance.” 
  • Erna Solberg, Norway prime minister said, “We must commit to a system of fair global access, because as long as the virus is active somewhere, we are at risk everywhere.” 
  • Muhyiddin Yassin, prime minister of Malaysia said, “the only way we can destroy this common invisible enemy of ours is through solidarity and cooperation. The world needs to come together to coordinate our efforts and expedite the development of effective tools to stop the spread of this disease.”
10:35 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

The US will send ventilators to Ecuador, El Salvador and Indonesia, Trump says  

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House in Washington, DC on April 23.
President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House in Washington, DC on April 23. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The United States will send ventilators to Ecuador, El Salvador and Indonesia, President Trump tweeted Friday, announcing he spoke with the countries' presidents.

"Just spoke to my friend, President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia. Asking for Ventilators, which we will provide," the President wrote. "Great cooperation between us!"

Trump said he had a "great conversation with President Lenin Moreno" of Ecuador. He added that the US "will be sending them desperately needed Ventilators, of which we have recently manufactured many, and helping them in other ways. They are fighting hard against CoronaVirus!"

Trump also praised El Salvador for helping the US on immigration. 

"Will be helping them with Ventilators, which are desperately needed," Trump wrote. "They have worked well with us on immigration at the Southern Border!"

9:58 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Germany's largest state will allow some religious services next month

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A woman pushing a stroller walks at the empty Marienplatz in Munich on April 21.
A woman pushing a stroller walks at the empty Marienplatz in Munich on April 21. Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Bavaria, Germany's largest federal state, will allow church and other religious services to go ahead under certain conditions beginning on May 4, local authorities said on Friday.

Visitors must maintain a distance of about 2 meters, or about six feet, from each other and wear face coverings. There will also be a 60-minute time limit,  Bavaria's head of the state chancellery Florian Herrmann told CNN in a statement.

He warned that there needs to be an abundance of caution in conducting the services, adding: ''No infections should follow from encounters of faith! Faith and community strengthens us, especially in challenging times.''

Bavaria is the German state with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

9:39 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

European Union aims to raise $8 billion for coronavirus response

From CNN's From Simon Cullen

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen gives a press conference in Brussels, on April 23.
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen gives a press conference in Brussels, on April 23. Oliver Hoslet/EPA/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union plans to raise 7.5 billion Euro — or about $8.1 billion USD — from a global pledging effort to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. 

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the campaign will begin on May 4. 

She said the money will be used to ramp up efforts to prevent the virus from spreading, as well as treatment options for those who fall ill.

“This is a first step only, but more will be needed in the future,” she said.

“The European Union will spare no effort to help the world come together against coronavirus.”

9:21 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

France won't consider a date to reopen restaurants before end of May

From Pierre Bairin and Fanny Bobille in Paris

A woman walks past the entrance of the closed restaurant "Cafe des 2 Moulins" in Paris on April 21.
A woman walks past the entrance of the closed restaurant "Cafe des 2 Moulins" in Paris on April 21. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

France says it will not make a decision on when to lift Covid-19 restrictions on restaurants and cafés until the end of May.

“Nothing would be worse than a hasted reopening that would entail new closure later. We prefer to take the time to plan a reopening in the best sanitary conditions possible," French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Le Maire added “solidarity” must be shown by landlords toward restaurant owners who are unable to pay their rent, otherwise restaurants will have to declare bankruptcy and they “won’t be any money anyway” he added.

8:00 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

It's just gone 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York City. Here are Friday's developments

From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh

Undeterred by a barrage of criticism, the US state of Georgia is moving ahead with its plan to help restart its economy, reopening some nonessential businesses today. Gov. Brian Kemp is one of America's first governors to ease restrictions, allowing gyms, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and bowling alleys to resume work, so long as they comply with social distancing guidelines.

But maintaining a safe distance in many of those businesses is next to impossible, leaving owners feeling conflicted, Faith Karimi writes. "Get your hair done for what? There's a pandemic, people are dying," one hair stylist said.  

The House of Representatives approved a $480 billion package yesterday to help refresh a dwindling small-businesses loan program, as another 4.4 million people filed for unemployment. The coronavirus has put a staggering 26 million Americans out of work since mid-March.  

But the aid did not include money for state governments to help keep workers on their payrolls — assistance that a bipartisan group of governors and mayors have been begging for from Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew the ire of governors for suggesting that "blue states" hit hard by the outbreak seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the remark from the Kentucky Republican was reckless and that the pandemic was no time for divisive politics: "It’s not red and blue. It’s red, white and blue."  

Here's what else you need to know today.

Can sunlight and bleach cure the coronavirus? The short answer is: No. US health experts are rushing to warn against President Donald Trump’s suggestion that zapping patients with UV light or even injecting disinfectant into the lungs could help treat the virus. The claims, touted by Trump during yesterday’s press briefing, have been slammed for endangering public health. Too much UV light damage can lead to skin cancer. And chlorine bleach is toxic: it can and does kill people who drink it.  

A silent, deadly spread: US health officials said months ago that the risk to the public was low. But new research and two February deaths confirmed as virus-related, prove that Covid-19 was already spreading much earlier than previously thought.

Drug hopes fade: Global stocks slumped today after a study into a potential coronavirus treatment was halted following inconclusive results. Drug maker Gilead said it had terminated a trial of Remdesivir early, and thus had no conclusive findings about its effectiveness. 

24 hours in a UK intensive care unit: CNN spent a day inside a hospital in the Midlands, the worst-hit area of Britain outside of London. Nurses and doctors there offered these two warnings: 1. They fear a second wave as soon as lockdowns lift. 2. Just because the country’s capital city is seeing the virus ebb, doesn’t mean it isn’t ravaging other regions.

India's Muslims attacked, blamed for spread: Hafiz Mohammed Naseerudin, a 44-year-old Imam, says that after a police officer assaulted him for being a Muslim and blamed him for spreading the coronavirus, he was left lying on the road for almost an hour. He’s not alone. As fears of a widespread outbreak mount in India, some of the country's Muslims, who make up roughly 200 million of the country's 1.3 billion population, have been targeted in Islamophobic attacks on the streets and online, and accused of spreading the virus. 

Travel bans amid Ramadan: Indonesia has temporarily banned domestic road, air and sea travel, as the world's most populous Muslim nation marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Tens of millions of people normally make their way home to celebrate the end of Ramadan each year, an annual tradition called mudik. But, as the country grapples with rapidly rising numbers of infections, there are concerns mass migration could spark further outbreaks.

A version of this story first appeared in CNN's Coronavirus: Fact Vs. Fiction newsletter. You can sign up here.

8:04 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Europe is preparing a trillion-euro fund to rebuild its economy

From CNN Business' Mark Thompson in London

A delivery man wearing a protective mask pushes a cart across a deserted shopping street in Rome, Italy, on March 12.
A delivery man wearing a protective mask pushes a cart across a deserted shopping street in Rome, Italy, on March 12. Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

EU leaders have agreed to create a fund that could raise at least 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) to rebuild regional economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

"This fund shall be of a sufficient magnitude, targeted towards the sectors and geographical parts of Europe most affected, and be dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis," leaders of the 27 EU countries said in a statement after they met via video conference on Thursday.

The heads of the EU governments asked officials at the European Commission to come up with detailed proposals "urgently" that will include how the recovery fund will relate to the bloc's budget for 2021-2027, they added.

The EU is planning to expand its budget from about 1.2% of GDP to 2% of GDP and then use those additional funds as a guarantee to borrow at low rates from financial markets.

Asked by reporters how much could be raised, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: "This has to be looked at thoroughly ... but we are not talking about billion[s], we are talking about trillion[s]."

The EU leaders also signed off on an immediate package of rescue measures worth at least €500 billion ($538 billion) drawn up earlier this month by finance ministers. That package includes up to €100 billion ($110 billion) in wage subsidies aimed at preventing mass layoffs, as well as hundreds of billions in loans to businesses and credit for EU governments.

"There are reasons for some optimism that, even if we don't get as joined-up a response as we'd like overall, the European fiscal response to this crisis may yet end up being sizeable," commented Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes in a research note on Friday.

Read more here.