April 16 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT) December 27, 2020
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3:28 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

27 NHS workers have died from coronavirus, UK health minister says

From CNN's Max Ramsay in London

A total of 27 National Health Service workers have died from coronavirus, the United Kingdom's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Thursday in an interview with the BBC.

He called the NHS workers' deaths “incredibly heartrending”.

The background: According to figures released Monday, a third of NHS staff and key workers who have been tested for coronavirus in the UK have returned positive results.

Not all NHS staff are being tested for the virus. Health workers who are asymptomatic -- and do not live with people who are -- do not meet the UK's criteria for testing.

The British government has been under intense pressure to ramp up testing for NHS workers and their families, and to improve their access to appropriate personal protective equipment.

3:17 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Germany records more than 300 deaths in a 24-hour span for the first time

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Medical staff take care of a coronavirus patient in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Aachen, Germany, on April 15.
Medical staff take care of a coronavirus patient in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Aachen, Germany, on April 15. Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

Germany recorded 315 deaths from complications related to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the German center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute, wrote on its website.

This is the first time more than 300 deaths have been recorded in a 24-hour span.

Germany recorded 2,866 new infections, bringing the total reported cases in the country to 130,450. 

For several days, there have been fewer new infections reported than additional recoveries. In the past 24 hours, 4,500 people have recovered from Covid-19, the institute says.

3:07 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

China is sending medical supplies to India to help fight the coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

India is getting help from China as it battles the coronavirus pandemic.

In a tweet Thursday, the Indian ambassador to Beijing, Vikram Misri, said that China had dispatched 650,000 kits -- including RNA extraction kits and rapid antibody tests, which are both used to test for coronavirus.

Speaking in a news conference on Wednesday, Misri said:

“The two governments are in touch over facilitating procurement of medical supplies. It is important to ensure product quality as well as reasonable and stable prices. Ensuring freight and cargo links operate smoothly is also a priority.”

India-China ties: This isn't the first time India has received help from China during the pandemic. India received a donation of 170,000 medical coveralls from China, according to a news release issued by the Indian Press Information Bureau on April 6.

Although China and India have a complex relationship, Misri highlighted that the pandemic “offers immediate and long-term opportunities for the two countries to cooperate and send a positive signal on bilateral ties.”

“In the mid to long-term, both countries, as large repositories of scientific and technological manpower, have enormous scope to find avenues for mutually beneficial cooperation on the (research and development) aspects of dealing with Covid-19, including finding a vaccine," Misri said.

As of Thursday morning, India had reported 12,380 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 414 deaths.

4:12 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus left this man jobless and unable to pay for his life-sustaining medicine. He's not alone

From CNN's Kyung Lah and Kim Berryman

Michael Shawki looked at his thigh and injected his final dose of methotrexate into his leg. 

"Simple as that," Shawki, 37, said. 

The two-time colon cancer survivor is now out of his prescriptions, and out of a job -- meaning he can no longer afford to pay for his life-sustaining medication.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to closures of restaurants and businesses nationwide, Shawki was laid off as the manager of a bakery chain in New York City last month.

Now, Shawki's survival, like thousands in the United States, depends on the arrival of an individual stimulus check under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

"People are living check to check already when they're working," Shawki told CNN. "What do you think when that income goes away? You think they're going to be able to survive on a few weeks? No. I can't make pills just magically appear. I can't walk through a pharmacy, tell them my situation, and get free meds. That's not the world we live in."

Shawki applied for unemployment, but said his request is still pending. Since he applied, he said he's called the Department of Labor's unemployment line "75 times a day" but never gets through.

The Internal Revenue Service said it sent out the first wave of stimulus checks to Americans on Saturday. The distributions are part of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress in March. Under the economic relief package, individuals are due up to $1,200 and couples will receive up to $2,400 -- plus $500 per child.

Read the full story here.

2:38 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

A US Forces Korea service member has been declared virus-free after 49 days in isolation

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

The first United States Forces Korea (USFK) active duty service member to test positive for Covid-19 has been declared virus-free by military medical doctors.

The service member tested positive for Covid-19 on February 26 and spent 49 days in isolation.

"The service member was cleared from isolation after having been asymptomatic for more than seven days, being fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications, successfully passing two consecutive Covid-19 tests with negative results at least 24 hours apart, and being cleared by USFK medical providers," USFK said in a statement.

Ten other USFK-related US and Korean national dependents and civilians have been declared Covid-19 virus-free since March 15.

2:23 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

More than 600 French sailors have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer in Paris

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle arrives in the bay of Toulon, France, on April 12.
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle arrives in the bay of Toulon, France, on April 12. Daniel Cole/AP

More than 600 sailors from the naval group of France’s flagship aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, have tested positive for coronavirus, the country's Ministry of Armed Forces announced Wednesday. 

According to the statement, 668 crew members have tested positive for Covid-19.

A total of 1,767 sailors from the Charles de Gaulle and its escort vessels were tested. The majority of those tested were onboard the flagship aircraft carrier. 

Some 31 crew members are hospitalized at the St. Anne military hospital in Toulon, France, and one crew-member is receiving treatment in intensive care. 

Both the Charles de Gaulle, and its accompanying warship, Chevalier Paul, arrived in Toulon on Sunday, after an initial 50 cases were confirmed onboard.

Read more here.

2:10 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

African American pastors call for equal treatment for people of color in coronavirus response

From CNN's Amara Walker and Maria Cartaya

Nearly a dozen African American pastors from Philadelphia to Los Angeles issued a "moral appeal" to the Trump administration over the "alarming number of deaths" in black communities from Covid-19.

Testing, treatment, and protective gear must be equally distributed and readily available to black and poor communities, and to essential wage workers, healthcare workers, prisons, and shelters, the pastors said at a virtual news conference Wednesday.

"Black and brown people are being tested the least but dying the most," said Rev. Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, a pastor in Dallas. "We appeal to federal and state leadership to prioritize healing humanity over restarting the economy." 

Rev. Traci Blackmon, who pastors a church in St. Louis, became emotional as she spoke about the suffering she is seeing among her congregants.

"I pastor a small congregation where approximately 80 people gather on a Sunday, and out of those 80, five of those have tested positive for Covid-19. I have two funerals to do this week of people who died," Blackmon said.

Three of those five had to go to the hospital three times before they were given a test, Blackmon said. 

Early data from some areas show African Americans make up a higher percentage of Covid-19 victims. In Chicago, 62% of the people who have died from Covid-19 are black, though they make up 30% of the population, according to data from the city. In Louisiana, 32% of the population is African American, but that population represents about 59% of coronavirus deaths in the state.

Read more here:

1:52 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Singapore reports highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Anna Kam in Hong Kong

Ambulances sit in front of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, where coronavirus patients are being cared for, in Singapore on April 3.
Ambulances sit in front of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, where coronavirus patients are being cared for, in Singapore on April 3. Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images

Singapore recorded 447 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday -- the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began in the country, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The new cases bring the country’s total number of reported cases to 3,699.

Among the new cases, 404 have been linked to known clusters, of which the vast majority are foreign workers residing in dormitories, the ministry said.

In the same news statement, the ministry said the average number of new daily cases has increased significantly "from 48 cases per day last week, to 260 cases per day in the past week."

Last week, Singapore announced it would move foreign workers into alternative living arrangements such as military camps and vacant government apartments amid a spike in cases.

1:39 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Japan reports nearly 500 new infections

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan has recorded 488 new coronavirus infections and 17 additional deaths, the country's health ministry said Thursday.

That brings the country's total number of reported infections to 9,294, including 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The total death toll is 148, including 12 from the cruise ship.

The background: Much of Japan entered a state of emergency last week, after initially appearing to have the outbreak under control.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has faced criticism for not activating emergency measures earlier, as experts warned the true number of cases could be far higher than the official statistics suggest, due to a lack of widespread testing.

Abe has also been accused of being tone-deaf after he posted a video of himself relaxing at home as people across the country struggle to work from home.