April 17 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:40 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020
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1:16 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Spain will exit lockdown in two phases

From CNN's Max Ramsay, Isa Tejera and Mia Alberti

Madrid's Gran Via street is seen empty of pedestrians on Thursday, April 16.
Madrid's Gran Via street is seen empty of pedestrians on Thursday, April 16. Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

The Spanish government is planning to exit the current lockdown measures to resume regular activity in two stages; the summer and then the end of the year, the country's labor and social economy minister said Friday.

"What we are doing from the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy is to work in two stages: a first stage that will likely embark in the productive sectors and therefore in workforce until the summer, and another stage that will last until the end of the year. We are going to follow a gradual process of reincorporation," Yolanda Diaz said during an interview with the broadcaster TVE on Friday.

Diaz said all decisions will be based on advice from health authorities but added that "normalcy...will not be the same as before."

Speaking at a daily news conference, Health Minister Salvador Illa said Friday that going forward the government needs to study the available data "with more precision."

"We have to differentiate between a positive [case] diagnosed through a PCR test, and those who were [diagnosed] through a quick test, and check if they had symptoms or not," he said.

1:06 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

UK government reviewing guidance on face masks

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Nada Bashir in London

A man wearing a mask walks in front of the closed Grand Pier around midday on Easter Sunday at Weston-super-Mare, on Sunday April 12.
A man wearing a mask walks in front of the closed Grand Pier around midday on Easter Sunday at Weston-super-Mare, on Sunday April 12. Ben Birchall/PA/AP

The British Government is reviewing its guidance on wearing masks for the general public, the UK's chief scientific adviser said at a briefing on Friday.

“The evidence is quite variable around masks. It’s not easy to really get a firm position on some of it, and there aren’t very good trials of masks,” Patrick Vallance said, adding that the government was currently following World Health Organization guidelines by not recommending the usage of face masks by the general public.

“We’re looking at the evidence now – we looked at it this week twice, we will look at it again on Tuesday, and hope to be able to make some advice around whether any changes are needed or not,” he said.

Vallance also suggested it was necessary to keep a steady supply to medical facilities.

“It’s absolutely crucial that masks are available in hospitals,” he said.

12:58 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

660 sailors from USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The USS Theodore Roosevelt docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor on April 10.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor on April 10. Tony Azios/AFP/Getty Images

Roughly 94% of USS Theodore Roosevelt crew members have been tested for Covid-19, with 660 testing positive and 3,920 negative, the Navy said Friday.

Seven sailors are hospitalized in the US Naval Hospital Guam. One of those sailors is in the intensive care unit.

12:47 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Italy continue to rise at a slower pace

From CNN's Barbie Nadeau and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome

Ambulance and doctors at the Cotugno hospital emergency room for infectious diseases, in Naples on Friday, April 17.
Ambulance and doctors at the Cotugno hospital emergency room for infectious diseases, in Naples on Friday, April 17. Salvatore Laporta/KONTROLAB/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The number of active novel coronavirus cases in Italy continued to rise on Friday, despite the deceleration trend seen in the fast few weeks.

On Friday, there were 106,962 active cases of Covid-19 in Italy, 355 more than Thursday. That's an increase of 0.3%, the lowest since the beginning of the crisis. 

The Italian Protection Agency said at least 22,745 deaths have been registered so far, an increase of 575 since Thursday.

The total number of cases in Italy, including deaths and recoveries on Friday, stands at 172,434. 

12:49 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Iowa schools will remain closed through the rest of the academic year

From CNN’s Anna-Maja Rappard

Pool
Pool

Schools in Iowa will remain closed through the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced at a news conference in Johnston on Friday. 

“We still haven't actually peaked at this point. And we just don't have the data that I think that we need to start to have the conversation about opening them up so you know we just we made the decision yesterday,” Reynolds said. 

There are now 2,323 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Iowa and four additional deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 64 in the state, Reynolds said.

 

12:29 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

UK government announces coronavirus vaccine task force

From CNN’s Nada Bashir in London

UK Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma
UK Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma Pool

 

The British government has set up a novel coronavirus vaccine task force, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, announced at a daily briefing on Friday.

“I can announce today that the government has set up a vaccines task force to coordinate the efforts of government, academia and industry towards a single goal: to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine,” Sharma said. “This task force is up and running, and aims to ensure that a vaccine is made available to the public as quickly as possible.”

The task force will work to support “progress across all stages of vaccine development and at pace.”

“[The task force] will back Britain’s most promising research, positioning the UK as a leader in clinical vaccine testing and manufacturing,” he said.

12:25 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Vermont governor outlines plan for reopening some businesses starting April 20

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott outlined a five-point plan to reopen the state while continuing to fight the spread of coronavirus during a news conference Friday.

Part of that plan includes certain businesses such as construction, home appraisers, property management and municipal clerks returning to work starting April 20 with social distancing measures in place. These businesses will be allowed a maximum of two workers per location. The workers must wear cloth masks and maintain 6 feet of distance, Scott said.

On May 1, farmers markets will be able to operate with strict social distancing guidelines in place, Scott said.

12:19 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

UK reports more than 800 deaths in past 24 hours

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

 

Another 847 people have died from coronavirus in Britain in the past 24 hours, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care tweeted.

The total number of victims from Covid-19 in the UK is now 14,576. 

The number of confirmed cases has also jumped in the past day, with at least 5,599 people diagnosed in the past 24 hours. Currently, there are at least 108,692 confirmed coronavirus case in Britain.

12:18 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Cuomo on coordinating testing: "The federal government cannot wipe their hands of this"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is issuing an executive order directing all public and private labs in New York to coordinate with the Department of Health on coronavirus testing. 

“The federal government cannot wipe their hands of this and say, ‘Oh, the states are responsible for testing.’ We cannot do it. We cannot do it without federal help,” he said. 

Cuomo said the federal government needs to step in and coordinate international supply chain issues and obtain supplies from other countries like China. 

“This is mayhem. We need a coordinated approach between the federal government and the states,” he said.

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