May 4 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:19 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020
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9:18 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

6:15 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Global death toll from Covid-19 passes 250,000

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus worldwide has surpassed a quarter of a million, according to a tally of cases by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 250,687 deaths and 3,573,864 total confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide as of 6 p.m. ET Monday.

4:58 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Markets and malls in Israel will reopen Thursday

From CNN's Amir Tal and Oren Liebermann

Mounted Israeli security forces patrol at a market due to restrictions imposed as measures against the novel coronavirus in Jerusalem on April 25.
Mounted Israeli security forces patrol at a market due to restrictions imposed as measures against the novel coronavirus in Jerusalem on April 25. Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/FILE

Israel unveiled its comprehensive exit plan Monday evening as the country prepares to reopen malls and open-air markets in an easing of the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Markets and malls will reopen Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, laying out the latest regulations. He added that the key to reopening more of the economy would depend on social distancing, hygiene, and the wearing of masks.

Netanyahu warned that the country’s gradual emergence from lockdown was conditional upon coronavirus figures maintaining their downward trend.

Among the announcements, citizens will no longer be required to remain within 100 meters of their homes. In addition, gatherings of up to 20 people will be permitted, as well as weddings of up to 50 people, though dancing remains forbidden in order to maintain social distancing. 

It is now permissible to visit immediate family, including the elderly, Netanyahu said, but physical contact must still be avoided.

Kindergarten and daycares will open on Sunday. Sports and leisure facilities will gradually reopen by mid-June.

Netanyahu warned that a second and more serious wave of coronavirus infections remains possible. He laid out a metric for determining if restrictions need to be reimposed.

He said the gradual reopening would have to stop immediately, and new restrictions would be put in place if...

  • There are more than 100 new infections a day
  • The rate of infection doubles within 10 days
  • There are more than 250 patients in serious condition

As of Monday evening, the Ministry of Health reported 16,246 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Israel, an increase of only 44 in the past 24 hours. The ministry reported 235 deaths as a result of the virus.

3:51 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

French hospital reports evidence patient had coronavirus in December

From CNN’s Maggie Fox and Edward Upright

Doctors at a Paris hospital claim to have found evidence a patient who got sick in December was infected with the novel coronavirus.

If verified, it may show the virus was circulating in Europe as early as December. The first reports of Covid-19 in France were reported on Jan. 24, in two people who had a history of travel to Wuhan, China.

“Covid-19 was already spreading in France in late December 2019, a month before the official first cases in the country,” the team at Groupe Hospitalier Paris Seine in Saint-Denis wrote.

Yves Cohen and colleagues at the Paris hospital decided to check the records of patients who got sick before the Jan. 24 cases to see if the virus may have been spreading undetected earlier than first thought.

The French team looked at people admitted to the hospital with flu-like illnesses between Dec. 2 and Jan. 16 who were not subsequently diagnosed with influenza. The doctors re-tested samples stored in a freezer for coronavirus.

“One sample was positive, taken from a 42-year-old man born in Algeria, who lived in France for many years and worked as a fishmonger,” the team wrote in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

“His last trip was in Algeria during August 2019,” they wrote. The man had not been to China, and one of his children had also been sick, the team reported.

“Identifying the first infected patient is of great epidemiological interest as it changes dramatically our knowledge regarding SARS-COV-2 and its spreading in the country. Moreover, the absence of a link with China and the lack of recent travel suggest that the disease was already spreading among the French population at the end of December 2019,” they wrote. 

Remember: This claim has not yet been independently verified.

Europe did not start reporting cases of coronavirus until January. In Italy, the European country hit hardest by the virus, the first two cases were reported on Jan. 31, in two Chinese tourists in Rome. The first known community transmission was recorded in February in Codogno, in northern Italy. 

3:45 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Brazil claims it's committed to democracy following government's controversial coronavirus response

From CNN's Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro holds his daughter's hand as he waves to supporters during a protest against his former Minister of Justice Sergio Moro and the Supreme Court, in front of the Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, May 3.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro holds his daughter's hand as he waves to supporters during a protest against his former Minister of Justice Sergio Moro and the Supreme Court, in front of the Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, May 3. Eraldo Peres/AP

Brazil’s Defense Ministry issued an unusual statement today declaring the armed forces are committed to democracy and institutional “harmony" amid the government's controversial response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement was released a day after President Jair Bolsonaro greeted hundreds of supporters gathered in Brasilia to protest social isolation measures and rally behind the president. Bolsonaro has previously defended his participation in a public protest against coronavirus lockdown measures,

Some protesters also carried signs calling for military intervention to dismantle Congress and the Supreme Court. Both institutions have clashed with Bolsonaro over his response to coronavirus. Separately, the Supreme Court authorized investigations into his allies and his family by the federal police.

At the rally, Bolsonaro told his supporters: “I am certain of one thing, we have the people on our side, we have the Armed Forces alongside the people.” At least two reporters and two photographers were attacked by the crowd.

On Monday, the Defense Ministry declared its commitment to its “Constitutional mission” and said it “considers the independence and harmony among the institutions necessary for the governability of the country.” It also denounced violence against journalists.

"The Armed Forces will always be on the side of the law, order, democracy and freedom," Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva said.

2:58 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Syrian leader warns of potential catastrophe if coronavirus cases spike

From Ruba Al Henawi

SANA/AFP/Getty Images
SANA/AFP/Getty Images

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warns the country may face a "real catastrophe" if coronavirus cases spike there and overwhelm health services.

Syrian state-run news reports that Assad said the current low numbers of cases does not mean “we have gone out of the circle of danger."

These small figures could suddenly spike in a few days or few weeks and we would face a real catastrophe that can overwhelm our health systems," Assad said.

He praised his country's efforts to combat the pandemic.

"The response and awareness of citizens, in addition to the swift actions of the state, played a main role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus," Assad said.

Today, the country's health ministry reported 44 confirmed cases and three deaths.

2:42 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

France records continued decline of hospitalized coronavirus patients

From CNN's Pierre Buet in Paris

In France, the total number of coronavirus patients in hospitals or intensive care has once again fallen, according to the latest figures released by the French Health Ministry.

The ministry said 25,548 people are now in hospitals with coronavirus, which is 267 fewer than Sunday. Another 3,696 patients are in intensive care – a decrease of 123 since yesterday. 

A total of 25,201 people have died in France from coronavirus – including 15,826 deaths in hospitals and 9,375 deaths in other care settings. At least 306 deaths have been recorded over the past 24 hours. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 93,372 in France have been hospitalized and 51,371 have returned home.

2:27 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

World leaders pledge $8 billion for coronavirus treatments and vaccines

From CNN's Mia Alberti and Sharon Braithwaite

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

World leaders have pledged a total of $8 billion for the development and deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

The donations came flooding in during a virtual pledging conference today co-hosted by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Norway, Spain and the UK. The US did not participate.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “Today the world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. Governments and global health organizations joined forces against coronavirus. With such commitment, we are on track for developing, producing and deploying a vaccine for all. However, this is only the beginning. We need to sustain the effort and to stand ready to contribute more. The pledging marathon will continue."

Here's what some of the leaders are promising:

Norway pledged $1 billion in contributions, Switzerland promised $381 million and the Netherlands $209.5 million.

Australia pledged $352 million Australian dollars, which is about $226 million USD.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged $152.7 million, while South Korea announced a contribution of $50 million and Kuwait promised to donate $40 million.

South Africa said it would pledge $1.3 million and raise a further $61 million from member states of the African Union. Israel promised to invest $60 million in the effort to respond to the pandemic.

Ireland is donating almost $20 million USD. Luxembourg pledged $5.45 million, Sweden $17 million, Portugal $10.9 million, Croatia $1.09 million, Finland $39.3 million. Bulgaria and Romania pledged $109,000 and $218,000, respectively. 

Serbia announced a contribution of $2.18 million, Slovenia $33.6 million, and the Czech Republic announced a joint pledge with Poland, Hungary and Slovakia of $3.27 million.

Meanwhile, Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged $100 million to the effort.

Other countries such as the UAE, Oman, Turkey, Monaco and China also promised to contribute to the efforts against Covid-19 without mentioning an amount. 

1:59 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Turkey's malls and hair salons allowed to reopen next week

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

A person wearing a face mask cleans mannequins of a store in Ankara, Turkey on Monday, May 4, after Turkey lifted a 72-hour coronavirus restrictions as of midnight Sunday.
A person wearing a face mask cleans mannequins of a store in Ankara, Turkey on Monday, May 4, after Turkey lifted a 72-hour coronavirus restrictions as of midnight Sunday. Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkey will begin lifting its coronavirus lockdown measures “step by step,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today.  

Starting next Monday, barbers, hairdressers and shopping malls will be allowed to open with new regulations. 

Travel restrictions for seven of 31 provinces will be lifted. The seven provinces are Antalya, Aydin, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin and Mugla. Travel restrictions have been extended for the remaining provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Gaziantep.

Turkey has an age-based curfew system that prohibits some age groups from leaving their homes. As part of the easing of restrictions, those under 20 or over 65 will be allowed within walking distance for 4-hour periods on designated dates.

The weekend curfews Turkey has imposed will continue through next week.