April 29 coronavirus news

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7:09 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Juventus striker tests positive for Covid-19 for fourth time in six weeks

From CNN’s Valentina di Donato in Rome and Aleks Klosok in London

Juventus' Argentine forward Paulo Dybala is pictured during the UEFA Champions League match between Lyon and Juventus at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, France, on February 26.
Juventus' Argentine forward Paulo Dybala is pictured during the UEFA Champions League match between Lyon and Juventus at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, France, on February 26. Franck Fife/AFP/GEtty Images

Juventus striker Paulo Dybala has tested positive for the coronavirus for the fourth time in six weeks, a source close to the player has told CNN.

The source said: “He is doing well now, he has no symptoms and is even training. Now he is waiting for the results of the latest two swabs.”

Dybala has to respect the healthcare system and the time it takes. He is a soccer player and doesn't get preferential treatment," the source added.

It is unclear, though, when each of Dybala’s tests took place

CNN has contacted Juventus for comment.

The Argentine striker announced on Instagram on Saturday 21 March that he and his girlfriend Oriana Sabatini had contracted Covid-19 after his first test.

On Friday, March 27, Dybala spoke to Juventus’ official YouTube account about his experience of contracting the disease: “I developed strong symptoms, but today I already feel much better.

“Now I can move better, walking and trying to train. I could hardly breathe, I couldn’t do anything after five minutes. My muscles ached. Fortunately, Oriana and I are better now.”

Dybala was one of three Juventus stars to contract the virus, along with Italian defender Daniele Rugani and French midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

The club announced earlier this month that both Rugani and Matuidi had made full recoveries after their swab tests came back with negative results.

6:58 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Airbus reports $522 million loss in first quarter due to coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Europe’s biggest planemaker, Airbus, has reported a huge loss as coronavirus hits its business. The firm reported a net loss of €481 million ($522 million) for the first three months of the year compared to a profit of €40 million ($43 million) for the same period last year, the company said in its results Wednesday.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes fell 49% and revenues declined 15% year on year, as it delivered 40 fewer aircraft than a year earlier.

We are now in the midst of the gravest crisis the aerospace industry has ever known,” said Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury.

In an internal letter to employees last week he had warned the company is “bleeding cash.” 

Rival Boeing is reporting earnings later today.

6:58 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Potential vaccine being tested in Germany will start US tests "shortly" and could "supply millions" by end of year

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin and CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A biotech company in Germany has begun its first human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
A biotech company in Germany has begun its first human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine. BioNTech

A German company working with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has begun human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine that could supply millions by the end of the year, according to the two firms.

Pfizer says it will begin testing the experimental vaccine in the United States as early as next week, and says a vaccine could be ready for emergency use in the fall, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Mainz-based BioNTech reported that the first cohort of participants had been given doses of the potential vaccine, BNT162, in a Phase 1/2 clinical study in Germany.

Twelve study participants have been vaccinated with the vaccine candidate BNT162 in Germany since the start of the study on April 23, 2020," the company said in a statement.

No information on the results is currently available. BioNTech said around 200 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years old would be given doses ranging from 1µg (microgram) to 100µg to find the optimal dose for further studies.

"In addition, the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine will be investigated," added the biotech company.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to initiate trials for BNT162 in the US upon regulatory approval, expected shortly, the statement said.

The German Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs approved the trial -- the country's first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid 19 -- on April 22.

"The two companies plan to jointly conduct clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine candidates initially in Europe and the U.S., across multiple research sites," Pfizer announced in its first quarter report, published online Tuesday.

"The companies estimate that there is potential to supply millions of vaccine doses by the end of 2020, subject to technical success of the development program and approval by regulatory authorities, and the potential to rapidly scale up the capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses in 2021."

Pfizer isn't the only group with a potential Covid-19 vaccine in the works. Last week, scientists at Oxford University's Jenner Institute in the United Kingdom began testing its vaccine on humans Thursday and, depending on the trial results, could be ready as early as September. Officials say that more than a half-dozen vaccine programs are in the clinical trial phase and more than 80 are in preliminary phases.

6:39 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Beijing to lower coronavirus emergency response from highest level

From CNN's Shawn Deng in Beijing and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Beijing will lower its coronavirus emergency response from the highest level starting on April 30, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission. The capital will move from the country’s highest designation of “level one” to “level two,” out of a three-tier system.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission said that despite the downgrading of the emergency response level, prevention and control work will not be relaxed.

Under the lowered emergency response level travellers arriving in Beijing from “low-risk areas” within China will no longer have to be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival and people staying in hotels in Beijing will no longer have to undergo nucleic acid testing. However, the Commission added that the 14-day quarantine still applies to all international travellers arriving in Beijing from overseas, according to state-run CGTN.

Beijing has not reported any new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 for 13 days.

6:21 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Newport Beach votes to keep beaches open with additional enforcement

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe and Sarah Moon

People are seen gathering on the Corona del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach, California on April 25.
People are seen gathering on the Corona del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach, California on April 25. Michael Heiman/Getty Images

The Southern California city of Newport Beach voted on Tuesday in a City Council meeting to keep its beaches open. But additional reinforcements will enforce social distancing to protect against the coronavirus pandemic.

An ordinance was proposed to close the city's beaches for the next three weekends to avoid the overcrowding seen this past weekend, but council members did not end up voting directly on the agenda items during the meeting. Instead, Councilman Kevin Muldoon made an alternate motion to deny the item, which passed on a 5-2 vote, according to the city's public information manager.

Increased police and lifeguard presence will actively enforce social distancing.

The majority of the city's council members expressed a strong desire to keep most public beaches, parks and open spaces accessible for the mental health and physical well-being of residents, according to a statement. 

The vote comes as many states prepare to begin loosening restrictions and phase out stay-at-home orders. California has begun allowing scheduled surgeries, but does not have an end date for its orders.

Read the full story here.

6:14 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Volkswagen takes $3 billion coronavirus hit but still expects to make profit this year

By CNN Business's Hanna Ziady

An employee works on a production line after Volkswagen's Wolfsburg Plant reopened on April 27, in Wolfsburg, Germany.
An employee works on a production line after Volkswagen's Wolfsburg Plant reopened on April 27, in Wolfsburg, Germany. Swen Pförtner/Pool/Getty Images

Volkswagen still expects to post an operating profit this year despite the "unprecedented crisis" triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, which slammed sales and earnings in the first quarter. 

The world's largest carmaker said Wednesday that first-quarter operating profit plummeted to €904 million ($978 million) from €3.9 billion ($3.3 billion) a year ago, as vehicle sales fell. It warned that profit for the full year would be considerably below 2019, but still positive.

Volkswagen, which also owns the Audi, Porsche and Seat brands, said group vehicle sales fell 25% to 1.9 million. Deliveries to customers were down 23% at 2 million.

"The global Covid-19 pandemic substantially impacted our business in the first quarter. We've taken numerous countermeasures to cut costs and ensure liquidity and we continue to be robustly positioned financially," Volkswagen's chief financial officer Frank Witter said in a statement. "The Volkswagen Group is steering through this unprecedented crisis with focus and determination," he added.

Carmakers have had to contend with a slump in demand for vehicles and huge disruption to their operations, as measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic shut down factories and keep customers at home. Ford on Tuesday posted a $1.9 billion loss for the first quarter, warning that this would balloon to $5 billion in the current quarter.

Read the full story here.

5:58 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Life after lockdown as countries start to ease their coronavirus restrictions

Surfers wait for officials to open Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on April 28, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions are eased.
Surfers wait for officials to open Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on April 28, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions are eased. Rick Rycroft/AP

Around the world, some governments are beginning to slowly relax their social distancing restrictions.

Most countries have taken measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19 — enforcing stay-at-home orders, closing nonessential businesses and advising people to wear protective gear and keep a safe distance from one another.

Many of those guidelines still apply. But beaches are beginning to reopen. Some students are returning to classrooms. Stores are opening their doors for the first time in several weeks.

It remains to be seen whether these relaxations might lead to an increase in cases. But life is far from returning to normal.

See a selection of the best pictures here.

5:45 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Pence flouts Mayo Clinic policy on masks -- which is to wear one

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Vice President Mike Pence, center, visits Dennis Nelson, a patient who survived the coronavirus and was going to donate blood, during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, on Tuesday, April 28.
Vice President Mike Pence, center, visits Dennis Nelson, a patient who survived the coronavirus and was going to donate blood, during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, on Tuesday, April 28. Jim Mone/AP

When Vice President Mike Pence walked into the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, he wasn't wearing a face mask.

Everyone else in the building was, according to reporters who were traveling with him. After all, it has been the policy at the renowned Rochester, Minnesota, facility since April 13. They even say they'll provide one.

Pence was told of the new rules before he visited, the clinic said on Twitter, a post that was subsequently deleted. "Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today," it had written.

But as he visited a blood and plasma donation center inside the building, Pence was bare-faced.

Others in the room -- including Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration head -- wore coverings.

Pence did avoid shaking hands; he elbow-bumped instead with doctors and officials.

Read the full story here.

5:45 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

France will be divided into red or green zones as coronavirus lockdown is eased

From CNN's Eva Tapiero in Paris 

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe speaks during a debate on the French government's plan to exit from the lockdown situation at the French National Assembly in Paris on April 28.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe speaks during a debate on the French government's plan to exit from the lockdown situation at the French National Assembly in Paris on April 28. David Niviere/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

France is to be divided into red or green zones as the nation's lockdown is eased, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Wednesday as he presented plans for the next phase of coronavirus measures. 

All departments -- which are administrative regions in France -- will be given designations of red or green, depending on three criteria:

  • Number of new cases over a period of seven days
  • Regional intensive care units capacity 
  • Efficiency in local testing and tracing 

A red department means “lockdown relaxation will take a more strict form,” Philippe said at France's National Assembly.

“The Director General of Health will present the map every evening with the results, department by department,” said Philippe.

France has recorded more than 169,000 cases and almost 24,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.