April 29 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton and Emma Reynolds, CNN

Updated 9:09 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
40 Posts
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4:36 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

UK needs "significant" number of farm workers to replace Europeans unable to travel

From CNN's Simon Cullen

A farmer uses a tractor as he ploughs a field in Retford, near Lincoln in eastern England on April 20, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
A farmer uses a tractor as he ploughs a field in Retford, near Lincoln in eastern England on April 20, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of British people will be needed to work on UK farms because coronavirus has prevented many European workers from traveling, the country’s Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

“Our best estimate is that typically in a normal year, around 30,000 individuals would come from mainly the European Union to do seasonal agricultural work. And of those, probably no more than about one-third were here before lockdown or have managed to travel here,” he told BBC Radio.

Eustice said that a "significant number" of people will be needed and suggested that the gap could be filled with people who have been furloughed.

4:51 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Military disinfecting Portuguese classrooms as schools prepare to open on May 18

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

A shuttered school in Cascais, Portugal, is pictured on April 14 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A shuttered school in Cascais, Portugal, is pictured on April 14 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Portuguese military has begun disinfecting schools across the country with the aim of reopening them to students in their final two years of high school, the Portuguese Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Around 400 service members from the three military branches will be involved in the operation that will involve around 800 schools.

According to state broadcaster RTP, students in 11th and 12th grade in the Portuguese system will be allowed to return to school on May 18.

School associations and teachers unions have called on the government to provide them with personal protective equipment and clear guidelines from health authorities before they resume classes, but said in an open letter on Tuesday that they have yet to receive the necessary support. 

4:26 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

A Dutch flower farm spelled out a special message for tourists missing the annual tulip blooms

From CNN's Leah Asmelash

Every year, tourists descend on the Netherlands to revel in the bright and colorful tulip fields. But with coronavirus putting many travel plans on hold, visitors have been notably absent this year.

That's why Dutch Daffodils, a Dutch family flower farm, and Tulips in Holland, a travel blog dedicated to the tulips in the Netherlands, teamed up to create a special message for those sad about missing the flowers this year.

"We headed the tulips a bit earlier to write this message. From our families to yours!" Dutch Daffodils wrote in a Facebook post, with "See You Next Year" written in the flowers, along with a heart. "We hope that this brighten your day a bit and we hope to see you next year! Much love!"

4:10 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Hong Kong airport brings in cleaning robots and disinfection booth

From CNN's Tamara Hardingham-Gill

Cleaning robots, temperature checks and antimicrobial coatings could soon become synonymous with airport trips.

Hong Kong airport has provided a glimpse into what international airport procedures might look like once we're traveling again -- and a lot of disinfection technologies are involved.

Officials at the Asian destination's international airport claim it is the first in the world to trial a live operation of CLeanTech, a full-body disinfection booth.

How it works: Those passing through undertake a temperature check before entering a booth for the 40-second disinfection and sanitizing procedures. The individual is also sprinkled with sanitizing spray for "instant disinfection" inside the booth, which is kept under negative pressure, to prevent cross-contamination.

Kills viruses on clothing: According to the airport authority, the inside of the facility contains an antimicrobial coating that can remotely kill any viruses and/or bacteria found on clothing, and the body, by using photocatalyst advances along with "nano needles."

Is it in operation? While CLeanTech is at present only being used on staff who undertake public health and quarantine duties for passenger arrivals, the fact that it's being trialed at one of the world's busiest airports suggests facilities like this may be used more widely in the near future.

Watch:

3:57 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Many German companies fear for their existence under lockdown, survey finds

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Chairs are stacked on the tables of a cafe in Berlin's Kreuzberg district on April 27, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Chairs are stacked on the tables of a cafe in Berlin's Kreuzberg district on April 27, amid the coronavirus pandemic. David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images

Almost a third of German companies say they can only survive for a maximum of three months under coronavirus lockdowns, a new survey has found.

According to the Institute for Economic Research (IFO), a Munich-based think tank, many companies see their existence threatened by the coronavirus crisis.

The survey found that if lockdown measures were to remain in place for extended periods of time, many companies would find it impossible to continue operations.

  • 29.2% of companies surveyed would survive for a maximum of 3 months 
  • 52.7% would survive for a maximum of 6 months 
"These are worrying figures which point to a wave of bankruptcies ahead," Klaus Wohlrabe, an economist at IFO, said about the results.
3:40 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Samsung warns Covid-19 will hurt smartphone sales. But the work-from-home revolution is here to stay

From CNN's Sherisse Pham

Samsung is warning that the months ahead will be painful as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts global supply chains, hurts smartphone demand and complicates the adoption of 5G technology.

But the South Korean conglomerate also says the crisis has sparked a fundamental change in how people live -- and predicted that the world's reliance on digital services is here to stay as millions of people hunker down at home. 

The company on Wednesday reported operating profit of 6.45 trillion won ($5.3 billion) for the three-month period ending in March, up 3.5% compared to the same period a year earlier and in line with analysts' expectations. Revenue rose 5.6% to 55.3 trillion won ($45.4 billion). Net profit slid 3.2% to 4.88 trillion won ($4 billion).

Last quarter's uptick might be short lived, though, and the company warned that the pandemic is already causing uncertainties for large parts of its business. Because of the volatility, Samsung is not giving a full-year forecast.

Read the full story:

3:27 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

China to hold major meeting after 2-month delay in signal that coronavirus is under control

From CNN's Nectar Gan

China announced today that it will hold the country's biggest annual political meeting in May following a two-month delay, the strongest signal yet from the Chinese government that it considers the novel coronavirus outbreak to be under control.

The annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislative body, is usually held in early March. This year, it was postponed for the first time due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement is a symbolic display of confidence by Beijing that it has successfully contained the coronavirus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

The highly choreographed meeting of the rubber-stamp parliament will see nearly 3,000 delegates from around the country gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, unveiling the country's key economic targets, approving budgets, and passing legislation in sessions that last for about 10 days.

Allowing thousands of people to travel to the Chinese capital and sit side by side for days in an indoor setting would have been unthinkable two months ago, when much of the country was under varying types of restrictive lockdown measures intended to stop the fast-spreading virus.

Beneath the surface, however, fears about a potential second wave of infections remain high. 

Read the full story:

3:13 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Greece plans to welcome tourists this summer

From CNN's Simon Cullen

A woman wearing a mask takes a picture with her phone in the Alimos suburb of Athens, Greece, on Tuesday, April 28.
A woman wearing a mask takes a picture with her phone in the Alimos suburb of Athens, Greece, on Tuesday, April 28. Petros Giannakouris/AP

Travelers will be welcome to visit Greece this summer but social distancing rules will remain in place to keep people safe from coronavirus, Greek tourism minister Harry Theocharis said.

“We do want people to come to Greece,” he told BBC Radio. “Of course we will take precautions in terms of the requirements before travelling but also in terms of the way that we travel, the way that we stay. Social distancing rules will apply.”

Theocharis said that Greece has welcomed tourists for "more than 50 years" and "we want to continue showing the hospitality that we’re very much known for."

He added that tourists should feel safe in Greece as the country would take strict precautions.

“Greece is a safe country and in many cases much safer -- I’m sorry to say it -- than your own country,” he told the BBC, Britain's public broadcaster.

Theocharis said he hopes “health technology” will be more advanced by the time the summer season starts to allow a safer travel experience.

“It is very likely that we will have some requirements before travelling,” he said, referring to the suggestion that travelers might need to undergo a coronavirus test before being allowed in to Greece.
2:59 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

It's just after 9 a.m. in Paris and 4 p.m. in Tokyo. Here's the latest developments

A woman wearing a mask walks in front of "Le Moretti" by French artist Ryamond Moretti in La Défense district near Paris, France, on April 27.
A woman wearing a mask walks in front of "Le Moretti" by French artist Ryamond Moretti in La Défense district near Paris, France, on April 27. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 3.1 million people and killed over 217,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the pandemic:

PPE and testing shortages: US health officials from FEMA and HHS told lawmakers that states continue to face shortages of personal protective equipment and coronavirus testing supplies -- contradicting President Donald Trump.

Major political event back on: China will hold its annual meeting of the National People’s Congress on May 22, after the unprecedented decision to postpone it amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia secures 10 million tests: A mining magnate secured a deal on behalf of the Australian government for 10 million coronavirus tests and pathology equipment. It will mark a 20-fold increase in the country's testing capability.

Rare disease found in US child: US doctors say they may have seen a possible complication of coronavirus in a young child: a rare inflammatory condition called Kawasaki disease. Britain’s National Health Service sent an alert to doctors Sunday saying they had seen similar cases.

Chest radiation study: In a small pilot study, researchers are exploring whether low-dose chest radiation therapy may improve lung function in certain critically ill Covid-19 patients, according to the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta. 

Men could be more affected: A small study in China may support the idea that men get sicker and are more likely to die from coronavirus than women. But it does not necessarily reflect what has happened elsewhere in the world.

Faulty masks: 30,000 reusable masks sent to pregnant women in Japan may be defective, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, with complaints that they are stained and dirty.

USS Theodore Roosevelt: Sailors from the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier will begin returning to the ship in the next 24 to 48 hours for the first time since they were moved ashore because of Covid-19, according to a defense official. 

Masks in the sky: United Airlines and American Airlines will begin to provide masks to passengers beginning in early May. It follows an announcement from Jet Blue on Monday saying all passengers will be required to wear a face covering during travel from May 4.