Most of Vietnam's 22 million students returned to school today, state media says
Most of Vietnam's 22 million students returned to class today after a three-month closure to tackle Covid-19, the state-run Vietnam News Agency reported.
Eighteen of the country's 63 provinces and centrally-run cities will open all schools starting today, while 30 others are reopening primary schools and kindergartens as secondary students went back in late April.
Ten other localities including the main cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will resume primary schools and kindergartens later.
VNA reports many schools have "rearranged desks while others had to consider dividing classes into smaller ones" but that many schools are facing "difficulties in keeping the minimum distance of one metre among students due to the shortage of teachers and classrooms."
In addition, some schools changed class schedules and will continue to teach through the internet and televised classes.
4:40 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
Spain begins "phase 1" lockdown de-escalation measures on 4 islands
From CNN’s Laura Perez Maestro in Formentera, Vasco Cotovio in London and Ingrid Formanek in Spain
Spanish authorities in the Balearics are testing travelers to one of the islands, Formentera, which is advancing to "phase one" of the lockdown de-escalation measures laid out by the government last week.
Spain has implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe but now with some restrictions beginning to ease, four of the country’s islands, three in the Canaries -- La Gomera, La Graciosa and El Hierro -- and Formentera in the Balearics are jumping to the more advanced "phase 1."
That will allow:
Further relaxation of restrictions on movement
Fewer restrictions on businesses
Up to 10 people allowed to gather at a recommended distance
Up to 15 people at open area funeral wakes, or 10 indoors
These four islands will see an earlier easing of restrictions because they “have not had any new cases in many days, and very few, or no new infections” Fernando Simón, the country’s director for health emergencies said on Sunday.
Travelers taking the ferry from the island of Ibiza to Formentera were subjected to a “rapid antibody test,” to determine if it had been in contact with the virus. A CNN team making the trip on the ferry this morning were administered the mandatory test, along with all other passengers.
Spain is testing everyone travelling to the "phase 1" islands and only residents and essential workers are allowed to make the trip.
The tests are one of the measures implemented by the central government in Madrid to prevent new infections and are expected to be carried out every day, a spokesman for the Ibiza health department said.
Travelers who test positive will be stopped and required to get a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to check if they currently have the virus or if they had it in the past.
Following seven weeks of strict confinement since a countrywide state of emergency was declared on March 14, the process of transition in Spain will be gradual and asymmetrical, and decided by the government in conjunction with the country’s 17 regions.
Most of Spain enters "Phase 0" today, with only limited openings of some small businesses. Across Spain, masks will be mandatory on public transport as of today.
4:36 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
Japan to extend its state of emergency until May 31
From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a task force meeting today that the country will extend its state of emergency until May 31.
Abe said he will review the infection status around May 14 to see if the order can be lifted beforehand.
The Japanese leader said the high vigilance and stay-at-home policy remain unchanged in 13 high-infection prefectures, while the rest of the nation will see gradual resumption of economic and social activities.
4:12 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
Boris Johnson: Quest to find a vaccine "most urgent shared endeavor of our lifetimes"
From CNN’s Hilary McGann in London
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will say the discovery of a coronavirus vaccine is the “most urgent shared endeavor of our lifetimes” at an international pledging conference on Monday.
The UK is currently the biggest global donor in the efforts to find a vaccine, pledging £388 million ($483 million) for research, according to a Downing Street statement.
"To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people, and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine," Johnson will also say while co-hosting Monday’s event. "It’s humanity against the virus -- we are in this together, and together we will prevail."
The virtual conference is aiming to raise $8 billion, and is being co-hosted by the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the European Commission.
The UK money allocated to funding a vaccine is part of a larger fund worth £744 million ($926 million) to “help end the pandemic and support the global economy,” the statement also said.
The World Health Organization will receive £75 million ($93 million) for its critical health systems response.
The UK has also pledged approximately £330 million ($411 million) annually over the next five years to Gavi, the international organisation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, which improves access to vaccines for children in the world’s poorest counties.
4:00 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
UK defence secretary refuses to comment on China intelligence report
From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London
Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace refused to comment on the "five eyes" intelligence report on the way China handled the novel coronavirus outbreak.
"I’m not going to comment," Wallace said in an interview with BBC Radio Four on Monday, while at the same time conceding that the world "shouldn't be surprised."
"China has become more assertive over the past few years, whether that is the South China Sea, whether that is the use of economic tools around the world, it is more assertive in trying to further its interests," he said.
Wallace went on to say he did not think it was yet the time to conduct a "post-mortem" on the pandemic.
"Let’s get through it," he said. "By me speculating or talking about China or anybody else is not going to help the fight against coronavirus." "I genuinely think that lessons from this outbreak ought to be learned, but after the event, both the international community and indeed ourselves should then take a reflection of what the consequences are," Wallace also said.
3:50 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
Pope prays for families and against domestic violence in daily mass
From CNN's Hada Messia in Rome
Pope Francis today prayed for peace within family homes amid widespread social distancing restrictions around the world, as countries try to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In particular, the Pope spoke out against domestic violence during his daily mass at the chapel at his residence, the Casa Santa Marta.
"Today we pray for the families, in this time of quarantine. The family closed in their homes, trying to do many things, (to) be creative with children, with everybody in order to go forward," the Pope said. "And there is also the other thing, that sometimes there is domestic violence. We pray for the families, so that they continue in peace with creativity and patience in this quarantine."
The mass was delivered with no faithful present amid ongoing social distancing restrictions.
3:31 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
It's just past 9:30 a.m. in Rome and 1 p.m in New Delhi. Here's the latest on the pandemic
Covid-19 has infected more than 3.5 million people worldwide and killed at least 247,000. If you're just joining us now, here are the latest developments:
Italy lockdown eases: Some restrictions are being relaxed today, including some travel restrictions, increased access to parks and gardens, and the ability to hold funerals with up to 15 attendees. The manufacturing and construction sectors will reopen entirely, while bars and restaurants will be allowed to offer takeaway services.
Germany's daily death toll drops: The country on Monday reported its lowest increase in coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period since March 25, its center for disease control said. Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to meet with state governors on Wednesday to talk about reopening the economy.
US vaccine drive: Scientists working as part of the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” have identified 14 vaccines to focus on for development, an administration official told CNN’s Jim Acosta. US President Donald Trump told a Fox News town hall Sunday he was confident a vaccine would be available by the end of the year.
India enters less severe lockdown: Many parts of India are now under relaxed restrictions as the country today began the third extension of nationwide measures designed to stop the spread of the virus.
Chinese tourists are traveling at home: The country recorded 85 million domestic tourists in the first half of of a five-day Labor Day holiday, generating revenue of nearly $5 billion, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Mike Pompeo points finger at China: The US secretary of State on Sunday stepped up administration claims that China mounted efforts to hide the extent of the coronavirus spread, including concealing the severity while stockpiling medical supplies.
US death toll could rise to 90,000: President Trump has raised his estimation of the possible death toll in the country, saying between 80,000 and 90,000 people could die. When pressed on why he had previously said 65,000 people would die, Trump said "it goes up rapidly." The US death toll stands at 67,682, according to Johns Hopkins University.
3:13 a.m. ET, May 4, 2020
This is how America's largest city deals with its dead
From CNN's Ray Sanchez
In his final moments, Ananda Mooliya reassured his wife and two sons that he was fine, though they could hear his labored breathing from the next room, over the sound of the TV.
His wife, Rajni Attavar, made soup for him. Mooliya struggled out of bed. With the help of eldest son, Amith, the 56-year-old subway station agent made his way to a kitchen chair in their Corona, Queens, home. Sweat beaded on his face. His mouth was open.
"I wiped his face," Attavar recalled through tears. "Then I called out his name. He didn't respond."
She sprinkled water on his head. Amith checked his father's weakening pulse. His younger son, Akshay Mooliya, 16, called 911. EMTs arrived and, for about 10 minutes, aided his breathing with a respiratory device.
They then covered him with a white blanket on the kitchen floor.
It was April 8 at 9:37 p.m., according to his death certificate. Immediate cause of death was listed as "Recent Influenza-Like Illness (Possible COVID-19)." Several hours would pass before his body was lifted off the floor and taken to a morgue -- andnearly three weeks before his cremation, family members said.
The handling of Mooliya's body isn't unusual in these times.
The corononavirus death toll has overwhelmed health care workers, morgues, funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries. Body bags pile up across the city that became epicenter of the pandemic.
Russia adds record 10,000 coronavirus cases in dramatic turnaround as Putin's problems stack up
From CNN's Mary Ilyushina
Russia reported 10,633 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its fourth record single-day increase in a row, in what is becoming a major headache for President Vladimir Putin.
The country's total number of cases is now 134,687, the seventh-highest number in the world, in a dramatic turnaround from the situation back in March.
A total of 1,280 deaths have now been recorded, the country's coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement, adding that around 50% of the cases were asymptomatic. Moscow, the country's worst-hit city, accounts for more than half of total cases.
Last week, Russia extended its isolation period through May 11.
"The daily increase in cases has relatively stabilized but this mustn't calm us down, the situation is still very serious," Putin said. "The peak is not behind us, we are about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic ... the deadly threat of the virus remains."
Anger is rising among the country's health workers after two dozen hospitals had to shut down for quarantines, with many doctors falling sick. Russian independent media and non-governmental organizations have reported anonymous pleas from outraged medical workers who said they had been ordered to the front lines without adequate protection, and that bureaucratic foot-dragging was costing lives.
On Thursday, as the number of cases passed 100,000, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appeared on state television informing Putin by video conference that he'd tested positive for the virus.