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U.K. Variant In Germany In 55 Percent Of Cases; Rio De Janeiro Halts Vaccinations Due To Lack Of Vaccine; Harry And Meghan's Foundation, Archewell. Aired 12-12:15a ET

Aired March 13, 2021 - 00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes.

Want to take you right now to our top story. It is a warning to the rest of the world. Daily COVID-19 cases in Europe are back on the rise. And the E.U.'s top three economies are handling it each their own way.

In France, more than 4,000 coronavirus patients are in intensive care units for the first time since November. That is from official data. Disneyland Paris now says it's delaying its reopening which was set for next month.

Officials in Germany say a third wave has already begun there. They reported about 2,000 more cases on Friday compared to a week earlier. And the variant first found in the U.K. appears to have become dominant.

And to Italy, where new restrictions are kicking in on Monday but the entire country is set to enter a new lockdown over Easter weekend. CNN's Delia Gallagher breaks down what lies ahead.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Italy is heading for a new lockdown, measures approved on Friday. Half of Italy's 20regions, including cities like Rome, Milan and Venice, will be on full lockdown as of Monday.

Easter weekend, April 3rd through 5th, there will be a national lockdown. The reasons for the new measures are twofold. One is increase in the daily number of cases. On Thursday, Italy reported more than 25,000 new daily cases. That was the highest record since November. And it jumped to over 26,000 cases on Friday.

The other is the presence of variants, according to the Italian ministry of health. The variant first identified in the U.K. is now prevalent in Italy and the variant first identified in Brazil is showing small clusters in Italy. Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaking on Friday, saying he understood

the effects that the measures would have on children's education, the economy and the psychological well-being of Italians.

Nonetheless, he said they were necessary to avoid further deterioration. The prime minister also promised to accelerate the vaccination program -- Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


HOLMES: AstraZeneca is facing pressure from some countries in the E.U. But it's not about a delivery delay this time. No, the company's coronavirus vaccine is being suspended in some places after some concerning cases of blood clots. Melissa Bell in Paris for us.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: AstraZeneca's been defending its vaccine after a number European countries said they were suspending its rollout or the rollout of some of its batches. This over fears that some patients may have gone on to develop blood clots after being inoculated.

AstraZeneca says there is no evidence for the time being of any greater risk. The European Medicines Agency also urging for the rollout to continue.

Some good news here in Europe, however, on the vaccine rollout front. After the approval by the European Medicines Agency for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it has now received a green light from France's national agency. That should help with some of the supply problems that have so beset the European vaccination campaign.

This at a time when the figures in some countries continue to rise. Italy will introduce fresh restrictions from Monday.

And in France, the prime minister has been warning of fears over the hospitals in Paris and the pressure they're under. For the first time since November, there are more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients in French ICUs -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


HOLMES: Right now, COVID-19 is killing more people in Brazil each day than anywhere else in the world. Hospitals there on the brink of collapse. And officials in Rio de Janeiro have stopped vaccination efforts because they've run out. Matt Rivers with more from Sao Paulo.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are here in Sao Paulo, Brazil, one of many Brazilian states currently reeling during what are unquestionably the worst days of Brazil's pandemic so far.

We've talked about how multiple single day coronavirus death records have been set in just the last week alone. We see a surging number of cases and, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lot of good news on the horizon, either.

Specifically, when you look at what is happening in hospitals across this country, specifically in intensive care units. If you look at ICU occupancy rates, that is where you see the most disturbing numbers. In 23 of Brazil's 26 states plus its federal district, ICU occupancy rates are at 80 percent or higher.

In 11 of those 26 states, ICU occupancy rates are at 90 percent or higher. All of this comes as we heard today from the state of Rio de Janeiro.


RIVERS: They are going to be forced to temporarily suspend their vaccination campaign due to low vaccine supply. Brazil has had consistent issues procuring vaccines for its population.

Back weeks ago, when the Brazilian federal government announced its vaccination campaign plans, it had said that they would have some 46 million or so doses of vaccines available during the month of March.

Over the last few weeks, they've consistently brought that estimate down to the point where it is now. Some 26 million doses of vaccine are expected to be available this month during the month of March.

Those vaccines are desperately needed in the country when we look at the numbers of cases, the number of deaths. But the vaccine supply just not there yet -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


HOLMES: The United States says it will be restoring humanitarian aid to northern Yemen, an area largely under Houthi control. This comes as the country is on the verge of the biggest famine in modern history, a famine that is already underway.

The head of the World Food Programme told the United Nations he was frustrated by the lack of coverage it's receiving.


DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WFP: The demands are catastrophic right now. And, you know, you turn on the media, the United States right now, it's all about Harry and Meghan. I mean, OK, that's fine. But, my God, I have people dying right now.


HOLMES: The director also said he spoke with Houthi leadership about a nationwide cease-fire plan that the U.S. presented a number of days ago. He says an agreement is imperative to prevent more deaths.

Pro-democracy protesters are gathering in Myanmar once again after a night of deadly violence. Two people in Yangon were killed overnight when security forces opened fire on a group of protesters. The U.N. special rapporteur to Myanmar says the military junta is unleashing, quote, "terror and lawlessness" amongst civilians.

He is saying again that there is mounting evidence that security forces are committing crimes against humanity. But that is not enough to force the U.N. Security Council into any meaningful action. Richard Roth explains what is holding them up.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: The people of Myanmar currently under the gun in the streets of their own country should not really be hoping for immediate outside intervention by the U.N. or any other force.

That is because the global organization just doesn't function that way. There's too much division inside the 15 member U.N. Security Council, especially the big powers. In order for Western countries to get the first formal condemnation of the coup on the books, Russia and China insisted that the wording of the statement not include the word "coup" and it should not include any threat of further measures, should the Myanmar generals failed to comply.

So in order to get that compromise that many countries wanted, they had to give in on that very significant wording.

So whether the Myanmar generals really get any kind of hint to do something to protect their own people is highly unlikely. And the U.N. is just set up in a different kind of labyrinth.

You will hear headlines that the U.N.-hired human rights representative in Geneva announcing Myanmar for potential crimes against humanity and that something, a message has to be sent to the generals so that they know there's no impunity, the problem is that that is not the full U.N.

It's really the Security Council that causes action, legal action under the charter of the U.N. So you cannot be fooled when you see headlines about U.N. condemns Myanmar generals. It doesn't necessarily mean it will lead to action -- Richard Roth, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Nigerian police and military forces are searching for students who were kidnapped from their dormitory on Friday. It is the third mass abduction in northwestern Nigeria this year. Armed men stormed a coed college in the early morning, opening fire and kidnapping students, although officials aren't sure exactly how many were taken.

One student who escaped said the attackers targeted the girls' residence, even though the boys' was closer.

A London police officer is being charged with murder and kidnapping of a 33-year-old woman, Sarah Everard. She disappeared on March 3rd while walking home in south London. Her body found in woods some days later.

The high-profile case has sparked anger in Britain and drew attention to the violence women face. The police officer charged in her killing, Wayne Cousins, is due to appear in court in the coming hours for his first hearing.

A "Reclaim the Streets" vigil will be held later today in London to highlight women's safety and bring awareness to sexual assault and harassment.

Prince Harry and Meghan are focusing on efforts to bring about change after raising some concerning issues in that bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.


HOLMES: Their foundation, called Archewell, is now throwing its weight behind organizations dealing with racial justice, mental health and the media.

And Britain's media regulator is confirming that the Duchess of Sussex did file a complaint over Piers Morgan's comments. The now former host of "Good Morning, Britain" had cast doubt on one of her big revelations during the interview. Meghan had said she had suicidal thoughts while she was pregnant with her son.

Another stunning revelation was when Meghan said she had Prince Harry got married privately three days before the ceremony. We all got to see on TV. But did it really count?

CNN's Anna Stewart takes a close look.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a fairy tale wedding watched by millions around the world. And yet in Oprah Winfrey's explosive interview. Meghan revealed a secret.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: You know, three days before our wedding we got married.


MEGHAN: No one knows that. We called the archbishop and we just said, look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world. But we want our union between us. So like the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our back yard with the Archbishop of Canterbury and that was the piece that --



STEWART: They exchanged vows but were they really married?

This revelation has caused some confusion. Church of England weddings require two witnesses. And they can't take place outside.

STEWART (voice-over): The world witnessed a wedding take place in St. George's Chapel and they saw the couple sign the register, the part of the wedding that makes a marriage official.

As well as confusion, it's caused some consternation. Following the interview, some tweets called the royal wedding a fake. Others said the couple should refund the taxpayers who paid the royal wedding's security bill.

OMID SCOBIE, "HARPER'S BAZAAR": This wasn't a legal ceremony. This was just a way for the couple to actually remember their vows and the blessing that they had from the archbishop. I think both are feeling quite nervous that they wouldn't really remember a second of the big day, which, of course, went out in front of millions.

So this was just a personal touch for them. It carries no legal significance. It doesn't change the royal record. It was something that they could keep just to themselves, much like their engagement, which also happened months earlier than when it was announced to the world.

STEWART: Ultimately the royal wedding was a spectacular occasion, an opportunity for the world to celebrate the union of two people, whether they got married a few days before or not -- Anna Stewart, CNN, Windsor.


HOLMES: Thank you for watching, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. Do stay tuned for "MARKETPLACE AFRICA." I will see you in a couple hours.