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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12:52 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

More than 600 cases are linked to a Smithfield pork-processing facility, South Dakota governor says

The Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Stephen Groves/AP

A total of 644 cases of Covid-19 are related to a Smithfield Foods plant, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem acknowledged at a public broadcasting town hall on Wednesday.

Noem echoed state public health officials, acknowledging that 518 employees of the plant are confirmed to have Covid-19, while an additional 126 people have been identified as cases stemming from close contact with employees.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Noem said she is "working on a plan to safely reopen the plant and get it back online.”

The state has reported at least 1,168 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:47 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

At least 42 workers at this US construction site have tested positive for coronavirus

This June 13, 2014, file photo shows construction on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia.
This June 13, 2014, file photo shows construction on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. John Bazemore/AP

At least 42 workers have tested positive for coronavirus at a construction site in Waynesboro, Georgia, a spokesman for Georgia Power told CNN.

The company is awaiting test results for 57 workers. 

The site is constructing the Plant Vogtle Units 3&4, which will be the first new nuclear units built in the United States in the past three decades, according to Georgia Power’s website. 

The Vogtle site will produce enough electricity to power 1 million Georgia homes and businesses once completed.  

Georgia has reported at least 14,987 coronavirus cases, including 552 death, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:38 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

India has confirmed more than 12,000 total cases

From CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi

A total of 12,380 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in India, including 414 deaths, as of Thursday morning, local time.

The total includes 1,489 people who have been discharged or recovered.

In the past 24 hours, 941 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported. Another 37 deaths were also reported.

As of Wednesday night, a total of 274,599 samples have been tested.

12:33 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Some labs say testing capacity is not an issue as others report shortages

From CNN’s Curt Devine

Some commercial lab companies say they’ve seen some recent decline in demand for coronavirus tests.

A spokesperson for Quest Diagnostics said demand declined in recent days following weeks of increases, allowing the company to wipe out the remnants of its coronavirus test backlog. The company’s average turnaround time is now less than two days.

When a LabCorp spokesperson was asked if the company has recently performed fewer coronavirus tests, he replied: “It is not atypical for us to receive fewer samples over the weekend. In addition, the Passover and Easter holidays made for a slower than usual week.”

He added that LabCorp’s turnaround time is now also on average one to two days.

A spokesperson for Eurofins USA said the company’s labs have excess testing capacity, in part because many hospitals that had the greatest demand for coronavirus testing recently took their testing in-house. The spokesperson said another contributing factor is that a few Eurofins labs have been denied entry into some insurance-plan networks.

12:29 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Alaska residents will be allowed to go to non-urgent doctor's appointments from Monday

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Wednesday that residents will be allowed to have non-urgent doctor’s appointments again beginning on April 20 as the state makes its first step toward rolling back coronavirus restrictions. 

Procedures that will be allowed include regular checkups, chiropractic procedures and physical therapy.

Patients will have to be prescreened before going to the practitioner’s office to make sure they are not experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. The order also says that most elective medical procedures will be allowed under the same provisions starting two weeks later, on May 4.

Alaska has reported at least 293 confirmed coronavirus cases, and nine deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:25 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Minnesota governor says state should increase testing before it considers reopening

From CNN’s Renee Baharaeen

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz provides an update on the state's next steps to respond to the coronavirus during a news conference on Wednesday, April 8 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz provides an update on the state's next steps to respond to the coronavirus during a news conference on Wednesday, April 8 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, Pool

Minnesota should increase testing for Covid-19 before it considers reopening and allowing everyone to return to work, Gov. Tim Walz said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“I want to have the testing be at a pace that over the next 12 months to 18 months or whatever it takes to get a vaccine, we’re able to stay on top of this. 
"Basically, this is a wildfire that's going to have some hot embers burning and when those start to flare up again, we’re going to have the fire department there to put them out immediately. And that’s what testing does.”

Walz lamented the lack of testing on a national scale, but said he thought Minnesota had an opportunity for more antibody testing. There should be no rush to send everyone back to work, he said.

Minnesota has reported at least 1,809 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 87 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:22 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

France's President says US and China back a world truce -- and he thinks Putin will "definitely agree

From CNN's Pierre Bairin and Emma Reynolds

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech outside the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse in eastern France, on March 25.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech outside the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse in eastern France, on March 25. Mathieu Cugnot/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said he has backing for a world truce during the coronavirus pandemic and is hopeful he can secure Russian President Vladimir Putin's support.

Speaking on French radio, Macron said he had secured the agreement of several of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to back a call by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire.

In a wide-ranging interview with RFI on Tuesday evening, Macron said that China, the US and the UK were on board and he was optimistic about Russia.

"President Xi Jinping confirmed his agreement to me," said Macron. "President Trump confirmed his agreement to me. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed his agreement to me. I think President Putin will definitely agree too."

Macron did not provide more details about his conversations with those world leaders.

What other world leaders are saying: CNN has contacted the Chinese mission to the UN and the US State Department for comment.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday: "Most likely, work is underway -- at the expert level, our diplomats are working on this before we can join it. As soon as this work is completed and (passes) approval with other partners, relevant statements will be made."

The UK signed up to the plan two weeks ago in response to the call from Guterres.

"The UK supports the UN secretary-general's call for a global ceasefire; the UN's ability to deliver humanitarian aid is a priority," a spokesman for the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office told CNN.

Read the full story here:

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

Los Angeles can expect to see sporting events without audiences, mayor says

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that it will be difficult to see large gatherings or sporting events until next year.

During a news conference Wednesday, Garcetti was asked if it would be possible to see athletes play without an audience.

“I think that's probably something that we will see before we see stadiums full," he replied.

He said it’s going to be difficult to imagine going back to large gatherings this year -- and we don’t know when those things will return.

We do know that the more we do now, the sooner it’ll come, he added, as he urged residents to continue practicing physical distancing.

“Right now, there are no small gatherings and getting back to medium and large gatherings will take time,” he said.

12:11 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

First known active NFL player tests positive for Covid-19

Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen (55) is seen during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday, December 2, 2018.
Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen (55) is seen during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday, December 2, 2018. Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brian Allen, a center for the Los Angeles Rams, has tested positive for the coronavirus, a Rams spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.

Allen is the first known active United States National Football League (NFL) player to test positive for Covid-19.

This news was first reported by Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.