A handful of American states and countries around the world are moving toward loosening the strict lockdown rules they implemented as coronavirus began to spread dangerously. Governors and other public officials are trying to find the balance between reopening the economy and keeping their populations safe from fueling the spread of the disease. Business leaders in every industry face similar challenges.
This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.
- Global cases: More than 2.8 million
- Global deaths: At least 197,000
- U.S. cases: More than 905,000
- U.S. deaths: At least 51,000
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
11:38 am: UK government under fire over virus advice as deaths pass 20,000
Britain’s government on Saturday defended the independence of the scientists advising it on the coronavirus after it emerged that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial chief aide had attended meetings of the group.
Criticism of Johnson’s Conservative government mounted as the U.K. became the fifth country in the world to report 20,000 virus-related deaths and counting.
The government said Saturday that 20,319 people with COVID-19 have died in British hospitals, an increase of 813 from the death toll reported the day before. The figure does not include deaths in nursing homes, which are likely to number in the thousands.
Scientists say the U.K. has reached the peak of the pandemic but is not yet out of danger. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is declining, and the number of daily deaths peaked on April 8. —Associated Press
A sign for St Thomas’ Hospital is seen in front of the Houses of Parliament on April 07, 2020 in London, England.
Justin Setterfield | Getty Images
11:05 am: India and Pakistan ease coronavirus restrictions for some small businesses
India allowed shops in residential areas to reopen Saturday, more than a month after the country went into lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, federal and state officials said.
The federal home ministry said late on Friday that retailers could resume operations with the staff numbers reduced by half as long as employees wore masks and gloves and appropriate social distancing was maintained.
The sale of liquor and other non-essential items continues to be banned and no shops in large market places or multi-brand and single-brand malls will be allowed to reopen until May 3. —Reuters
10:30 am: Coronavirus spreads in NY nursing home forced to take Covid-19 patients
The coronavirus patients began arriving the last week of March, transferred to the Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center under a New York state mandate requiring nursing homes to accept those recovering from Covid-19, even if they still might be contagious.
At the time, the Long Island nursing home had only one known resident who had contracted the virus, according to the facility’s president and CEO, Stuart Almer.
A month later, NBC News reports, Gurwin is battling an outbreak that’s killed 24 residents — only three of whom were hospital transfers — and one staff member, who worked in housekeeping, Almer said. And the nursing home is still mandated to take in recovering hospital patients known to have the virus, potentially increasing its spread in the facility. Read the full report on Gurwin here. —NBC News
9:20 am: How automakers plan to reopen their US plants
Walking into an auto parts plant in suburban Detroit, General Motors employees are instructed to stand at least six feet apart and go through a health screening that includes a temperature check. They also sanitize their hands and put on a face mask and safety glasses.
It’s a far different process than how the former transmission facility, which GM decommissioned last year, used to operate with hundreds of employees freely entering and exiting the facility all at once.
As automakers wrestle with how to open their production facilities safely, timing is contentious.
UAW President Rory Gamble on Thursday said that the union believes restarting production in early-May is “too soon and too risky” for its members. Read the full story of how automakers plan to open their U.S. plants here. —Michael Wayland
8:55 am: Zillow CEO will allow his employees to work from home all year
Rich Barton, CEO and cofounder of online real estate service Zillow, told his employees on Friday that they can work from home through 2020.
“My personal opinions about WFH have been turned upside down over the past 2 months. I expect this will have a lasting influence on the future of work … and home,” the internet entrepreneur said in a verified tweet early Saturday morning.
Many nonessential workers around the country have been doing their jobs remotely for weeks, often while homeschooling and caring for their children, and about a quarter of them say they want to continue working from home at least part-time after the pandemic ends. —Elisabeth Butler Cordova
8:30 am: Poland to reopen outdoor sports fields as it eases restrictions
Poland plans to reopen outdoor sports areas on May 4 and will allow top league football matches to be played at the end of next month, as part of an easing of restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Poland started relaxing some of the curbs earlier in April, saying they were costly for the economy. It has reopened forests and parks and eased rules on the number of customers in shops.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference on Saturday that the next stage of easing sport restrictions would include reopening indoor sports halls, followed by swimming pools and fitness clubs. —Reuters
6:30 am: ‘No evidence’ that recovered patients cannot be reinfected
“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
That’s the warning from the Word Health Organization in a new scientific brief. It comes in direct response to some governments suggesting that the detection of antibodies to the virus could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate.”
“Most of these studies show that people who have recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus. However, some of these people have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood, suggesting that cellular immunity may also be critical for recovery,” the statement read. Read the full brief here. — Matt Clinch
6:02 am: Iran death toll rises by 76
Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said Saturday that Iran’s death toll had risen by 76, to reach a total of 5,650, according to Reuters.
The total number of people confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in the country is 89,328, he added. — Matt Clinch