April 14 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 0639 GMT (1439 HKT) April 15, 2021
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8:04 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Dr. Fauci says Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause “isn’t a cancellation”

From CNN's Aditi Sangal and CNN Health's Naomi Thomas

Vials of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in San Rafael, California, on March 25.
Vials of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in San Rafael, California, on March 25. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only a pause – not a cancellation – and he doubts it will extend for weeks to months.

On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and US Food and Drug Administration recommended that the US pause use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over six reported cases or “a rare and severe type of blood clot” reported in the US.

Speaking on CNN's New Day program on Wednesday, Fauci said: “There’s a twofold reason: one for an abundance of caution of safety, take a quick look, get more details, but also a heads up to the physicians out there that if you see these kinds of cases, don’t treat them with heparin. There are other modalities of treatment that could be used."

The pause, in his mind, should “underscore and confirm how seriously we take safety, even though it’s a very rare event.” 

Fauci told CNN that he had no reason to believe that there were many more cases, but that the pause is there to take a look to see if there are any other cases.

“If anyone’s got a doubt that they may not be taking safety very seriously, I think this is an affirmation that safety is a primary consideration when it comes to the FDA and the CDC,” he said. “That’s why it was done and that’s why it’s a pause."

It isn’t a cancellation, it’s a pause," Fauci stressed.

After speaking to the CDC and the FDA, Fauci said that he thinks it’s “very likely to be more days to weeks than weeks to months. I doubt very seriously if we’re talking about weeks to months.” 

On the larger issue of vaccine hesitancy, Fauci said that while the wait-and-see approach is “understandable,” there is enough data in favor of vaccines.

“Over 120 million -- close to 130 million people have already received at least one dose of this. That's a lot of people. How long do you want to wait and see? You have almost half the country who's received at least one dose. I think we've had enough wait and see. Let’s do it," he said.

And as more people get vaccinated, Fauci also said that deaths from the virus will continue to decline -- even though cases may rise.

“The most vulnerable, to the extent of the relative proportion, are protected,” he said. “As we get more and more people -- 3 million to 4 million people per day vaccinated -- the vaccine component of this is going to get stronger and stronger, and then you're going to see the cases come down.”

Listen to the interview with Dr. Fauci on CNN:

7:35 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

UK ‘mix and match’ vaccine trial expanded to include Moderna and Novavax

From CNN’s Chloé Adams 

A major UK trial to examine whether different coronavirus vaccines can safely be used for two-dose regimens has now been expanded to include the Moderna and Novavax vaccines, with results expected to be reported in a matter of months.

The Oxford Vaccine Group’s Com-Cov study started in February and is the world’s first to examine whether different coronavirus vaccines can safely be used in the two-dose vaccination program.

The study to mix and match Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for first and second doses moved into its second stage on Wednesday, and will now expand to offer a combination of the four different vaccines including Moderna and Novavax.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Wednesday, Matthew Snape of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Com-Cov study said the results of the trial could be available by the summer -- although no firm date has been released.

“There's some hints from studies that have been done in mice that the combinations of vaccines might actually give a better immune response overall, which would obviously be better,” he said.

The study, funded by the UK government’s Vaccine Task Force and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will look at people from the age of 50 who've already had their first dose of vaccine.

More than 800 people have taken part in the research so far and have received two doses of either Pfizer, AstraZeneca or a mix of both.

Snape told the BBC that the findings could have a huge impact on the vaccine rollout across the world.

If we have flexibility in which vaccines we give for the second dose or even later doses, it massively increases the flexibility and resilience of the immunization program, and would mean we can roll these vaccines out more quickly, not just in the UK but internationally,” Snape said.

The research, described as a single blind study, doesn’t allow the vaccine brand to be disclosed to either the participants receiving the shot or the scientists monitoring the results, who will use blood tests to look for immune responses.

Subjects can visit one of nine study sites across England, with the organizers pushing to recruit people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and those with pre-existing conditions.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently warns Covid-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. “We don’t want people to just start mixing and matching with whatever is easiest to get,” said CDC medical officer, Dr. Sarah Mbaeyi during the CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity call in March. 

The CDC currently recommends a two dose series for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and advises that vaccines should only be mixed and matched in “exceptional situations.”

The rollout of the Moderna vaccine in the UK started in April. The Novavax vaccine is currently under review by the UK Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

7:36 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

It's going to take a 'couple of years before we get back to some kind of normality,' Heathrow Airport's CEO says

From CNN’s Will Godley

People are at Heathrow Airport in London on January 17.
People are at Heathrow Airport in London on January 17. Hollie Adams/Getty Images

London's Heathrow Airport, one of the world's biggest, is expecting a patchy reopening of international travel this summer.

Speaking at a European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation event on Wednesday, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “I think over the summer we’re going to see quite a patchy reopening of international travel which I hope will progressively improve.”

The airport executive is pinning his hopes on a strong summer travel season, as Heathrow is currently burning through £5 million (approximately US $6.9 million) a day.

"Getting passengers back and flying for the summer is crucial for all of us… Until we get people flying again, we won’t have a business,” Holland-Kaye said.

We probably have more people working there [at Heathrow] than are actually flying," Holland-Kaye added, noting that "realistically it is going to take a couple of years before we get back to some kind of normality."

Current Covid-19 restrictions in place mean that there are several critical bottlenecks in airports, as checks are carried out manually. 

“Just at Heathrow, even with only a handful of passengers arriving each day, there have been some days where we’ve had queues of up to 6 and a half hours… something needs to change,” said Holland-Kaye.

The airport is currently working closely with airlines, including British Airways, and the industry body IATA, to create a contactless journey throughout the airport.

7:51 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Russian President Putin receives a second Covid-19 vaccine dose 

From CNN’s Zahra Ullah and Anna Chernova in Moscow 

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 13.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 13. Mikhail Metzel/TASS/Getty Images

Russian President Russian Vladimir Putin says he received his second shot of a Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

“Right now, just before entering this room, I also got the second vaccination [shot],” Putin said during a live videoconference at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society. 

Putin also expressed hope that the pandemic will soon subside and encouraged the public to follow his lead in taking up the vaccine.

“I hope that everything will be okay. Not even hoping - I'm sure of it. And [I] wish you the same, based on the fact that you, taking care of your close ones, will do the same and will follow my lead,” Putin said.

On March 23, the Russian leader received his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine without releasing any images or video of the process -- or revealing which vaccine he had taken.

The Kremlin said at the time that the type of vaccine that was used would not be publicized, but said that it was one of the approved Russian vaccines.

Russia became the first country in the world to approve a Covid-19 vaccine in August 2020 when it authorized the use of its homegrown vaccine, Sputnik V.

Read more on Putin's vaccination here:

6:33 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Turkey enters partial lockdown during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

People break their fast during Ramadan in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul on April 13.
People break their fast during Ramadan in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul on April 13. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that a partial lockdown over the first two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would be put into place from Wednesday.

The new restrictions, announced on Tuesday, come as the country continues to see a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths.

On Tuesday, Turkey reported 273 deaths and 59,187 new coronavirus cases over a 24 hour period --  marking a record daily high, according to the health ministry. 

Erdogan said under the partial lockdown:

  • Pre-school, 8th and 12th grade students will continue in-person education, but all other grades will be required to do distance learning.
  • Cafes, tea houses, and gyms will be closed - with restaurants only offering delivery services.
  • Wedding, engagement parties and all other indoor activities are prohibited until the end of Ramadan, which ends on May 12.
  • A weekday curfew has now been extended by two hours, from 7pm to 5am.
  • Weekend curfews begin at 9pm on Friday and cover the entire weekend (Saturday and Sunday), ending at 5am on Monday.  
  • Government workers will be put on limited work hours with those who are pregnant, have pre-existing health conditions and women who have children under the age of 10 exempt from work. 
  • The private sector will be encouraged to adopt more "work from home."

If these tightened measures do not bring down the spread of the virus, stricter measures will be implemented, Erdogan added. 

The president also said intercity travel will be restricted, but did not provide specifics. 

A detailed list of new measures, which will go into effect on Wednesday, will be provided by the interior ministry, he said. 

5:34 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Mexico announces clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine, 'Patria'

From CNN's Karol Suarez in Mexico City

María Elena Álvarez-Buylla, director of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), speaks at a press conference in Mexico City on April 13.
María Elena Álvarez-Buylla, director of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), speaks at a press conference in Mexico City on April 13. Sashenka Gutierrez/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Mexican government announced the development of the Mexican-made Covid-19 vaccine named "Patria" in a press conference Tuesday. 

The vaccine development has already successfully passed preclinical studies in animals, and will begin clinical trials in humans in April, according to Mexico's Director of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt).

The dose is based on a recombinant Newcastle virus, said Conacyt director Maria Elena Alvarez-Buylla.

She said that the vaccine was being developed as part of a "mixed investment strategy and collaboration between the Government of Mexico and the Mexican laboratory Avimex."

The Avimex laboratory develops biological and pharmaceutical products for animal health.

Patria's Phase I trial will begin in April with around 90 to 100 volunteers, Alvarez-Buylla said, with Mexico's health regulator, Cofepris, expecting to have the results of that trial by May.
If human trials are successful, the Patria vaccine could be approved by the end of 2021. 

Conacyt has supported the development of the Mexican vaccine with 135 million pesos (nearly US $7 million) in addition to the 15 million pesos (US $700,000) contributed by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, AMEXCID.

Mexico currently has six approved Covid-19 vaccines: AstraZeneca, CanSino, Covaxine, Pfizer, Sinovac, and Sputnik V.

The country has received 16.9 million coronavirus vaccine doses and has administered 12.2 million doses.

2:55 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

The Olympics are 100 days away. With less than 1% of its population vaccinated, is Japan ready?

From CNN's Blake Essig, Emiko Jozuka and Ben Westcott

A doctor administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a nursing home in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, on April 12.
A doctor administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a nursing home in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, on April 12. Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When 2020 Tokyo Olympics volunteers in recent weeks asked officials how they'll be protected from Covid-19, given the foreign athletes pouring into Japan for the event and the country's low vaccination rate, the answer was simple.

They'll be given a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks each.

"They don't talk about vaccines, they don't even talk about us being tested," said German volunteer Barbara Holthus, who is director of Sophia University's German Institute for Japanese Studies, in Tokyo.

With 100 days to go until the Games, already postponed a year due to the pandemic, questions remain over how Tokyo can hold a massive sporting event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials -- and the Japanese public -- safe from Covid-19.

That concern has been amplified by Japan's battle with a looming fourth wave. The country passed 500,000 total coronavirus cases on Saturday, and some prefectures are again tightening their restrictions as daily infections grow. Hideaki Oka, a professor at Saitama Medical University, said Japan may not be able to contain the latest wave before the Games begin on July 23.

While Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated Monday his pledge to secure 100 million vaccine doses by the end of June, so far Japan has only vaccinated about 1.1 million of its 126 million people -- less than 1% of the population. Only 0.4% have received two doses.

Read the full story:

1:30 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

The pandemic isn't over -- global cases have climbed for 7 weeks straight, WHO says

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Global Covid-19 cases have climbed for seven consecutive weeks, according to a World Health Organization report citing data received on April 11.

WHO reported more than 4.5 million new cases and 76,000 deaths in the week ending on April 11. That’s a 7% increase in coronavirus deaths from the previous week, marking the fourth consecutive week of increasing deaths.

The highest numbers of new cases were reported in India, the US, Brazil, Turkey and France.

The numbers of countries reporting virus variants of concern is also increasing, WHO noted.

The B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK has now been found in 132 countries, the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa has now been found in 82 countries and the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil has now been found in 52 countries, according to the report.


2:55 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

India reports highest single-day cases, as millions gather and new restrictions clamp down

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

A health worker collects a swab sample from a woman for a Covid-19 test, at Sector 30 District Hospital, on April 12 in Noida, India.
A health worker collects a swab sample from a woman for a Covid-19 test, at Sector 30 District Hospital, on April 12 in Noida, India. Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

India reported 184,372 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest single-day figure since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health.

That's one of the world's highest single-day case counts this week. To put that in perspective, the United States reported more than 77,000 cases on Tuesday and Brazil reported more than 82,000 -- both far below India's count, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The ministry also reported 1,027 additional related deaths, marking the first time India has reported more than 1,000 new daily deaths since October.

The new figures bring the country's totals to 13,873,825 cases and 172,085 related deaths. 

Massive pilgrimage: Cases are on the rise in the city of Haridwar, in Uttarakhand state, where the month-long Kumbh Mela religious festival is taking place. Millions of Hindus from across the country have traveled to Haridwar to bathe in the Ganges River and attend prayers together.

Monday marked the first "auspicious" day of the festival, and up to 2.4 million people took a dip in the Ganges, police officials told CNN. The second bathing day kicked off on Wednesday, and the final one will take place on April 27.

Haridwar has seen more than 1,000 new cases in the past two days alone, according to figures released by the state health department. To put that in context, the city reported just 70 new cases on March 31, the day before the festival began.

New restrictions: Tough restrictions will go into effect Wednesday evening in the hard-hit Maharashtra state, lasting until May 1.

Public gatherings will be capped at four people. People are urged to work from home and follow a voluntary curfew. Only essential travel and services will be allowed across the state. Shopping centers, malls, film shoots and beaches will be closed, while hotels and restaurants will only be allowed to provide delivery and takeaway services.