May 12 coronavirus news

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3:50 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

5 coronavirus patients die in fire at Russian hospital

From CNN’s Nathan Hodge and Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

A first responder works at the scene of a fire at St. George Hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday.
A first responder works at the scene of a fire at St. George Hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Five coronavirus patients were killed in a fire at a hospital in Russia today, Russian state news agencies reported.

The victims were connected to a ventilator on the sixth floor of an intensive care unit at the St. George Hospital in St. Petersburg, state news agency TASS reported. TASS, citing medical personnel, said the patients were seriously ill with coronavirus.

Some 150 people were forced to evacuate from the hospital, according to TASS.

Initial findings suggest the fire may have been caused by a short circuit in the ventilator or its malfunction, state news agencies said.

Russia's top law-enforcement body, the Investigative Committee, said a criminal investigation had been opened into the matter.

This is the second deadly hospital fire in recent days: On Saturday, a fire broke out in a Moscow hospital treating coronavirus patients, killing one patient and forcing 200 people to be evacuated, Russian state news agencies reported. 

TASS, citing preliminary data, said the fire occurred in an intensive care unit due to the malfunction of medical equipment. 

3:36 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

It's just past 9:30 a.m. in Berlin and 4:30 p.m. in Seoul. Here's what you may have missed

Disinfection professionals and government officials wearing protective clothing spray antiseptic solution in a classroom to prevent the spread of Covid-19 ahead of school reopening on May 11 in Seoul.
Disinfection professionals and government officials wearing protective clothing spray antiseptic solution in a classroom to prevent the spread of Covid-19 ahead of school reopening on May 11 in Seoul. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 4.1 million people globally. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments:

  • Cases surge in Germany: The country reported 933 new coronavirus cases in just 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute today. Officials warn the virus' reproduction rate is hovering above 1, meaning each infected person is infecting more than one other person on average.
  • Nightclub cluster in South Korea: 101 cases in total have been linked to an outbreak in Seoul's Itaewon district, known for its nightlife. With fears of a second wave, authorities have tracked down more than 10,000 people who were in the area, and are asking them to be tested.
  • Wuhan testing scramble: Officials in the Chinese city at ground zero for the coronavirus said they will test all 11 million residents in the next 10 days to prevent a second wave of infections. Six new local transmissions were reported in recent days after a month of no new cases.
  • Elsewhere in China: Daily life is resuming in many parts of the country. Hotel chain Marriott says its business in China is rebounding, and Shanghai Disneyland reopened this week after months of closure.
  • Ryanair returns: The European budget carrier will resume 40% of its flights starting July 1, it said. The restored flights will follow government restrictions and public health measures.
  • In the US: All but two states will be partially reopened by the end of the week. The two states -- Massachusetts and Connecticut -- will likely start reopening next week. Meanwhile, the federal government is sending $11 billion to states to expand coronavirus testing capabilities, the Trump administration announced Monday.
3:02 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Budget airline Ryanair to restore 40% of flights from July

From CNN's Rob North and Stephanie Halasz

Three people walk on the runway near parked Ryanair passenger planes at Stansted Airport on April 15 in Essex.
Three people walk on the runway near parked Ryanair passenger planes at Stansted Airport on April 15 in Essex. Chris J. Ratcliffe/Getty Images

European budget carrier Ryanair will restore 40% of its flights from July 1, according to a statement from the airline on Tuesday.

Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, subject to government restrictions and public health measures, the statement said.

In addition, flight crew and passengers will be required to wear face masks and must pass temperature checks in order to fly.

"Since the Covid-19 flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe," the statement said.
"From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe."

The statement added there would be fewer daily and weekly flights on the airline's main routes as it worked to restore services to a wider range of destinations.

Job cuts: Ryanair on May 1 announced plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs as it tries to trim costs to deal with the fallout from the pandemic. At the time, the airline said it expected the recovery of passenger demand and pricing to take until at least summer 2022.

2:47 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Trump hardens campaign tone after virus batters economy

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

us President Donald Trump, flanked by tables holding testing supplies and machines, speaks during a news briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11 in Washington.
us President Donald Trump, flanked by tables holding testing supplies and machines, speaks during a news briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11 in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump tipped his hand about how he plans to make up for the loss of the roaring economy that formed the foundation of his reelection campaign -- rhetoric laced with racial overtones and a new and unfounded conspiracy theory he dubbed "Obamagate."

On a tragic day that US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic hit an unfathomable 80,000, Trump revived his wild news conferences that had been shelved two weeks ago apparently because they were damaging his political prospects.

His appearance in the White House Rose Garden was notable for his refashioning of his reelection campaign mantra that reflects a realization that his hopes for a "rocket"-like relaunch of the economy have been dashed by massive job losses.

Trump's original slogan, "Make America Great Again," was snappy enough to fit on a red baseball cap four years ago. He had been running in 2020 on a chest-puffing "Keep America Great" platform. But his new catchphrase "we will transition to greatness" next year shows how he will now have to sell the promise of a painful economic restoration -- a case made all the more difficult after his own erratic management of the pandemic.

The President's apparent mission Monday was to stifle an impression that the White House is in disarray after the discovery of several cases of Covid-19 in the West Wing. Trump stood against a backdrop of Stars and Stripes and misleading signs reading, "America is leading the world in testing" -- which just isn't true in tests per capita.

Read the full analysis here.

2:29 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

This airplane seat design helps you socially distance on board

From CNN's Francesca Street

French aeronautical engineer Florian Barjot has designed this airplane interiors concept, dubbed PlanBay.
French aeronautical engineer Florian Barjot has designed this airplane interiors concept, dubbed PlanBay. Courtesy Florian Barjot

No one quite knows what aviation will look like in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There's talk of removing middle seatscompulsory face masks and full body disinfection booths at airports -- and aviation seat designers are experimenting with ways to make flying more appealing for concerned and conscientious passengers.

Into the mix comes French aeronautical engineer Florian Barjot's vision, dubbed PlanBay.

Barjot reckons that what airlines want isn't a total redesign of the cabin or the installation of new seats, but an easily removable piece of kit that could be installed when necessary.

PlanBay, which is aimed at economy class, consists of a protection panel behind the seat and another protection panel between the seats.

Barjot thinks airlines don't want a total redesign of the cabin, but an easily removable piece of kit that could be installed when necessary.
Barjot thinks airlines don't want a total redesign of the cabin, but an easily removable piece of kit that could be installed when necessary. Courtesy Florian Barjot

The structure fits onto the empty middle seat, so passengers in the aisle and window can maintain social distance from one another. It's not unlike the glass panel setup that business travelers might be used to.

According to Barjot, the installation process is straightforward, the kit is easy to produce and the cost would be low.

"The idea of a removable kit makes sense when the need for sanitary measures is temporary and/or limited to a geographic area," says Barjot.

Read more here.

2:10 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Germany records more than 900 new cases in 24 hours

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin 

A doctor wearing PPE gathers a saliva sample from a driver at a Covid-19 testing facility in Berlin on April 30.
A doctor wearing PPE gathers a saliva sample from a driver at a Covid-19 testing facility in Berlin on April 30. John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Germany today reported 933 new coronavirus cases in just 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the national agency for disease control and prevention.

That's a dramatic jump from the 357 cases reported just the day before. It brings the national total to 170,508 cases, the institute said.

The coronavirus reproduction rate in Germany has been above 1 for the past three consecutive days, the institute said. 

A rate of 1 means that on average, each infected person is infecting one other person.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously warned that if the number -- also known as the R0 value -- rises above 1, the country's health system would eventually be overwhelmed.

The institute said it's too early to tell whether the virus is on the rise again due to statistical uncertainties. 

"The rise of the (reproduction rate) makes it necessary to carefully observe the developments in the coming days," the institute wrote in its daily data brief. 

New clusters: Merkel warned on Monday that while Germany is easing lockdown restrictions, it remains "important for people to keep social distancing," urging citizens to ''stick to the basic commandments.''

Germany has registered several larger coronavirus outbreaks over the past few days. Three meat processing plants across the country have recorded between 100 to 350 cases each in separate outbreaks.

1:50 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Japan reports 50 new cases as it prepares to ease restrictions

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan reported 50 new coronavirus cases and 22 deaths on Monday, raising the nationwide total to 16,586 cases and 656 deaths.

Of that total, 712 cases and 13 deaths are linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama Bay for several weeks in February.

Japan is now preparing to ease lockdown measures in many parts of the country amid a downward trend in reported new cases. However, restrictions will stay in place in the hardest hit prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka.

The country has been under a state of emergency since April 7.

1:30 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Wuhan to conduct citywide testing in "10-day battle" to prevent second wave of infection

From CNN's Laura He and Vanesse Chen in Hong Kong and Steven Jiang in Beijing 

A medical worker prepares to administer a coronavirus test in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 16.
A medical worker prepares to administer a coronavirus test in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 16. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Wuhan, the central Chinese city at ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, will conduct citywide testing for all citizens within 10 days amid fears of a second wave of infections.

Authorities announced the testing plan in an "emergency notice" yesterday, according to state-run media outlet The Paper. 

"After research, it was decided to carry out a '10-day battle' for the screening of nucleic acids of all new coronavirus in Wuhan," said a report in The Paper today. "Each district will make arrangements for the nucleic acid screening plan for all staff in its jurisdiction within a 10-day period."

This measure comes in response to six new infections that emerged in Wuhan this past week after over a month of no new cases, according to The Paper.

The emergency notice was issued "to strengthen social prevention and control, prevent the rebound of the epidemic, and strengthen the normalization of epidemic prevention and control," the outlet reported.

1:18 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Marriott says its business in China is rebounding

From CNN's Michelle Toh in Hong Kong

A woman walking past a Marriott property in Hangzhou, China in 2018.
A woman walking past a Marriott property in Hangzhou, China in 2018. -/AFP via Getty Images

Marriott's profits were slammed in the first quarter of this year, plunging about 92%.

The world's biggest hotel chain on Monday reported net income of just $31 million from January to March compared to $375 million in the same period last year.

Revenue per available room, an important industry metric that assesses a hotel's ability to fill its rooms, fell 22.5% throughout the quarter and as much as 90% in April "as the pandemic moved around the world," the company said.

About a quarter of Marriott's hotels worldwide are currently closed, mostly in Europe and the United States.

But there was a "glimmer of good news," said Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson.

He told investors in a call that demand appears to be picking up, especially in Greater China, where bookings are coming in mostly from domestic travelers.

Occupancy levels there have reached "just over 30%, up from the lows of under 10% in mid-February," Sorenson said.

"In terms of hotel closings/openings, April seems to have defined the bottom," the CEO added.

"Most days, we're seeing one or two or three more hotels reopen than we are seeing hotels closed.

"And if anything, as we see demand start to crawl back, as restrictions are released, I think the trend line now is towards more openings, not towards more closings."

Marriott (MAR) shares are down almost 46% this year. The company’s stock fell 5.6% on Monday after earnings.