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CNN NEWSROOM

France Bracing for a Third Lockdown; Hospitals in France Overwhelmed with COVID Cases; U.N. Envoy Says a Bloodbath is Eminent; Hong Kong Court Convict Nine Veterans; More Witnesses Against Chauvin Brought into Court; Concerning New Wave In India Amid Major Festival; Peru To Enter Nationwide Lockdown Through Easter; Quality Issue At Vaccine Plant Ruins Millions Of J&J Doses; Biden Unveils $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan; Delta Airlines To Resume Seating Plan In May; U.K. Schools Reckoning With Rape Culture; Investigating The Suez Shutdown; Major Champ's Tiger Woods' Rollover; Belgian Prosecutors Open Investigation Into Online Prank. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 1, 2021 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): France is taking drastic measures to get its COVID surge under control. We'll talk to an ICU doctor in Paris about what it's like in his hospital.

The U.N. warns of an imminent bloodbath in Myanmar as the deepening crisis spills across borders.

Prominent democracy leaders in Hong Kong including Jimmy Lai or convicted over peaceful protests in 2019.

Welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN's Newsroom.

New cases of COVID-19 are rising so fast across Europe that the entire nation of France, all 65 million people will begin a third lockdown beginning Saturday. The French president says surging variants have created an epidemic within an epidemic.

Emmanuel Macron has now ordered a partial lockdown for at least a month. Schools and childcare centers will shut down for three weeks. Domestic travel will be restricted and curfews will remain and effect.

In his national address Wednesday night, President Macron said he understood the frustration, but he assured the French people the hardships won't last forever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): So tonight, I'm speaking to you with as much humility as determination, to tell you that we are going to hold on again, and tried to take stock of the epidemic. The next steps, try to say that if we remain united, if we know how to organize ourselves over the next few weeks, then we will see the end of the tunnel. And we will meet again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Many of the restrictions come after French medical experts publicly warned that hospitals were on the verge of being overwhelmed.

All right. Let's bring in Paris correspondent, Melissa Bell. Melissa, so earlier this year the president decided against more restrictions, now the country seems to be paying the price for that decision.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And a great deal of criticism for the French president these last few weeks as the figures have continued to get worse, Kim, as ICUs have continue to get fuller, and as the nature of the people entering them has changed. What these new variants and specifically the one identified in the United Kingdom have meant is that the infections are rising faster and it is people who are younger and with no comorbidity's who are now entering ICUs.

Emmanuel Macron spoke to this yesterday and said the 44 percent of the people in ICU being treated for COVID-19 were now below the age of 65. So, in the face of that, the epidemic within an epidemic as he called it, a lot of criticism that he didn't act sooner.

Emmanuel Macron had unless last night been determined to keep French schools open backing the trend of so many European countries these last few weeks in the face of these new, in this -- of this variant- driven third waves. In the end, that simply wasn't possible in the face of those figures.

Emmanuel Macron though, also trying to look ahead saying that the vaccination campaign would, he's hoped, improve. Have a listen to what he's had to say about vaccines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACRON (through translator): In the coming weeks, we will further accelerate the number of doses we get, and we'll gradually become the first continent in the world in terms of vaccine production. This will build our independence, it will guarantee that if additional doses are needed, we will no longer depend on others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL (on camera): These other European governments much criticize as well, Kim, of course for the slow pace of the rollout. Emmanuel Macron promising that more doses will be arriving in April, that things would be fixed and by the month of June people under 50 in France, he said, would be able to get their vaccines.

But a lot of criticism for the French authorities these last few weeks, and clearly, this was not where Emmanuel Macron wanted to be one year on from the first confinement, the first lockdown, announcing a third one, that he did resisted and resisted and one that we'll see the whole of the metropolitan France, whole mainland France under partial lockdown now until the 1st of May, Kim. BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much. Melissa Bell in Paris.

Well, French hospitals now have more than 5,000 COVID patients in intensive care, that's the highest number in the year, nearly half are under the age of 65.

Joining us from Paris is Dr. Jean-Francois Timsit who runs the intensive care unit at Bichat Hospital. Thank you so much for joining us, doctor.

[03:04:59]

So, your official title is head of resuscitation at your hospital, so obviously you're on the front lines of this epidemic dealing with many of the most serious patients. We've heard from our correspondent, we heard the statistics there, more patients are younger, for instance.

Take us beyond those statistics. Are your hospitals on the verge of being overwhelmed? What does that look like right now at your hospital?

JEAN-FRANCOIS TIMSIT, ICU CHIEF, BICHAT PARIS HOSPITAL: Yes, it is very difficult to have ICU beds for new patients because there is a lot of patients that arrive, not only due to COVID-19, but also too many other pathologies. The problem for this third wave is that we have about 40 percent of COVID negative patients to take care of, and it is quite difficult to find some places for them.

So, we stop scheduled surgeries, we opened operative room as new ICU beds, you know, in order to take care of these patients. But the situation is very, very tense at this time and we are not far from 100 percent occupation of the beds, and very few skilled workers are capable of taking care of this particularly severe patients are available at this moment in the Parisian area so the situation is really worrisome.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. And with that, that surge of patients that you're talking about, many people have spoken about the crisis in emergency rooms and Paris especially raised the specter of triaging patients. As I've heard you explain it, it's not quite as black and white as deciding, you know, you won't treat this patient in order to treat another one, but take us through the decisions you are being forced to make, and what effect that has on the overall care.

TIMSIT: Yes, yes. We are doing ICU outside of the ICU and increasing the severity of the patient outside the ICU. So, it is very difficult issue, because of course, there are less nurses and less doctors outside the ICU and it is very difficult to have the same level of care. And of course, for high income countries like France it is really a problem and an issue to try not to decrease too much the level of care in order to have good results and low mortality. But of course, we do our best.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, as I understand, people are dying because of this.

TIMSIT: I hope it will not be the case and we will be -- we will do our best in order to save a maximum of patients. The problem is that the patients are younger and younger and severe and severe because they are coming in the hospital late because they consider that it could be unsafe to go to the hospital.

So, we have more and more young people with more and more severe cases, that are taking into account and taking in charge late during the disease so it is more and more difficult for us.

BRUNHUBER: I understand it's not just what's happening right now that has you worried, you predicted this coming month will, I think your words were, it will be hellish. You have been asking for more restrictions, did President Macron do enough, or is it too late?

TIMSIT: Well, it is of course too late, and it would be very difficult for us during one month, during the new month. The problem is the acceptability of the lockdown in France, because there is a lot of defiance in the public. And many young people, let's say between 10 and 35, without masks, without face masks outside, and very near or close to each other.

And it is really an issue to decrease the contamination in the cross contamination between people. I think we have to take into consideration at this point, that probably it will be very difficult to have a good respect of the lockdown at this time. It is very important that the population helps us in doing this.

BRUNHUBER: We only have a minute left but I did want to ask you this, because here in the U.S., we are opening up very quickly. I'm wondering whether you have a warning based on what's happening in France for countries like the U.S. that are opening up right now?

TIMSIT: Well, I don't know if it is too soon or not, of course we need hope and we need to have the light and to do many, many thing else -- of course the epidemic, in order to stop the epidemic we need to have a very, very low level of circulation of the virus.

And perhaps it is too early to open just now. But we need to have hope that we need to have the sun, and to live in community. And of course, it is very difficult. It is the human -- the human way of life is completely desegregated by this virus.

[03:10:08]

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Yes. Well, listen, I know you are in a very tough position there, so we wish you all the best of luck and your staff as well. Dr. Jean-Francois Timsit in Paris. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Johnson and Johnson says it will supply 200 million COVID vaccine doses to European countries this year, that would give a major boost to the E.U. which is struggling with its vaccine rollout.

Germany has decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine will no longer be given to people under the age of 60 after reports of rare blood clots in about 30 people. Now this despite repeated assurances by the World Health Organization that it's safe. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE O'BRIEN, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF IMMUNIZATION, VACCINES AND BIOLOGICALS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We are clear on is that the benefit risk assessment for the AstraZeneca vaccine, given the range of evidence on both efficacy, effectiveness, safety and quality manufacturing that it still weighs very heavily in favor of the use of the vaccine.

It is a safe vaccine, and as expected with the broad use of this, and frankly any other vaccine, that we anticipate that there might have been rare events that would be identified. That may be associated with a vaccine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Well, some European countries are looking beyond AstraZeneca. Austria's chancellor says it will likely order one million doses of the Russian made Sputnik V vaccine as an alternative. Now it's worth noting the Russian drug hasn't yet been approved by European regulators.

All right. Now, to a stark warning on the situation in Myanmar, the U.N. special envoy says quote, "a bloodbath is eminent." Her message came in a private meeting of the U.N. Secretary Council on Wednesday.

An activist group says 536 civilians have been killed since the February 1st coup.

Meanwhile, the military has declared a ceasefire, but it only seems to referred to actions against armed ethnic group, the peace offer doesn't apply to anyone who quote, "disrupts government security."

CNN's Ivan Watson is following the developments and joins us live from Hong Kong. Ivan, the U.N. as we heard there warns of a bloodbath. And experts we just had on CNN said the bloodbath is already here. People seem to be getting more and more desperate. You've been looking at calls for armed opposition to the military. What can you tell us?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Everybody I talked to in Myanmar predicts that the country is headed towards civil war right now, Kim. So, it's very grim and foreboding kind of prediction right now. And all the more surprising when you had a U.N. Security Council meeting with senior officials in the U.N. itself, the secretary general, the special rapporteur, the special envoy issuing these dire warnings calling for unity to try and do something and that not coming.

Some of the opposition clearly coming from China, which has said that sanctions would only make the situation worse right now. And the situation is getting worse, and clearly having international implications, we -- our own reporting from Vedika Sud our New Delhi reporter has talked -- she's reported on hundreds of people refugees, who fled across the border to India. We've had thousands of people crossing into neighboring Thailand. And

the Chinese border city or Ruili is now under a kind of lockdown and COVID testing as there is a new outbreak there, and some of that has been attributed to residents, natives of Myanmar who have the virus. So, we're already seeing signs of the internalization of this deepening crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON (voice over): The deepening crisis in Myanmar is starting to spill across borders. Thousands of civilians crossing the river between Myanmar and Thailand to escape airstrikes carried out by Myanmar's war planes. They're from a region controlled by Karen National Union, it's the oldest of dozens of armed ethnic militias that have fought often on against the military in Myanmar for generations.

This is a patchwork of just some of the militias that operate in Myanmar's border regions. Two months after the coup, the deadly crackdown on anti-coup protesters in the cities has sent people fleeing to these militia enclaves, including the one controlled by this man.

YAWD SERK, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, SHAN STATE ARMY (trough translator): We stand with the people. If they are in trouble and run to us seeking help, we will take care of them.

WATSON: Yaws Serk is the leader of the Shan State Army. In an interview with CNN, he denounced the coup.

SERK (through translator): If the military continues to shoot and kill the people, it means the junta have simply transformed themselves into terrorists.

[03:14:57]

WATSON: In the cities and towns of central Myanmar, the death toll amid the anti-coup protesters continues to grow.

Do any of you have the training or background to lead a grassroot political protest movement?

UNKNOWN: No, none of us. I work in an office. I was a department head.

WATSON: This man who asks not to be identified for his safety is the leader of the protest movement in a neighborhood of Yangon. In just two months, it's gone from organizing festive but passionate gatherings with costumes and signs, to desperate efforts to defend barricades from heavily armed security forces. The protest leader says he is hearing growing calls for armed attacks.

Do you support violent attacks on the military?

UNKNOWN: No, not at all. Because like I said, it won't accomplish our goal. WATSON: He says some demonstrators have made largely unsuccessful

attempts to carry out what they call, car wash operations.

UNKNOWN: A car wash operation is throwing Molotovs at a moving or stationary vehicle, or whether there is an army personal in it or whether it's an empty truck.

WATSON: Demonstrators in Yangon tells CNN that there are some efforts being made to arm anti-coup protesters and to send activists to receive combat training in enclaves run by militias like the Shan State Army.

SERK (through translator): If they want to have training, we will train them.

WATSON: Myanmar's military doesn't want to keep fighting these well- trained rebels. Instead on Wednesday, it called a unilateral ceasefire for one month. No such mercy for civilian protesters, who soldiers and police continue to kill with impunity. Driving ordinary people towards radicalization.

UNKNOWN: Once an ordinary civilian like us, all these workers like us start taking arms, and get military training for like six months and start shooting people, I guess civil war would be unavoidable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON (on camera): Now, Kim, the military's unilateral ceasefire announcement was addressed to the ethnic armed militias that have been in Myanmar basically since its independence, saying quote, "the military will suspend its operations, unilaterally from April 1st to April 30th for the ceasefire, except for defending from actions that disrupt government security and administration."

Now, the Free Burma Rangers, that's an a-group that operates in the ethnic Karen area of the KNU has just announced that there were airstrikes today, April 1st. The start of the unilateral ceasefire, military air strikes it claims that killed at least 14 people and wounded 40.

We are going to be working to find out more about that, but that does seem to contradict the fact that the military is saying it was carrying out an airstrike.

Let me add another piece of reporting, I've spoken with an activist who has fled to one of the ethnic armed militia areas where that activists says he's been training for weapons for some three weeks with another thousand activists planning to then infiltrate into the cities to fight back.

These are all the hallmarks of a growing larger conflict, civil conflict in the heart of Southeast Asia, Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Clearly, that does not bode well. Thank you so much for your reporting there, Ivan Watson in Hong Kong, we really appreciate it. And a Hong Kong court has now ruled in the case of a media tycoon

Jimmy Lai and eight other pro-democracy activists. We'll have the details in a live report, next.

Plus, new video has been released in the Derek Chauvin trial. We'll hear what the former police officer said to bystanders on the day George Floyd died. We'll have that next.

[03:20:00]

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BRUNHUBER (on camera): A court in Hong Kong has convicted nine prominent pro-democracy activists on charges of unauthorized assembly. Among them is media tycoon Jimmy Lai. He owns the pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, he is also prominent critic of Beijing.

CNN's Will Ripley now joins us from Hong Kong with the details. Will, a lot is going on there today. You are on the scene at the courthouse. What's the latest?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were a couple of dozen members of the media who were here although as you can see, we are the only ones left, Kim. Things cleared out very quickly here. And there was just one protester, waving a flag, the all Hong Kong icon Grandma Wong. And we've heard a couple of people shouting supportive chants to Martin Lee as he walked out after his conviction. He is considered the father of Hong Kong democracy.

And we had a statement from Lee Cheuk-yan, the veteran activist who actually stood on a podium right behind there, and he said that he looks at this conviction and any possible sentencing as a badge of honor, a sentiment here by Jimmy Lai even though he remains behind bars likely for quite some time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: A father figure for a so-called leaderless movement. Jimmy Lai, mega-wealthy media mogul revered by the Hong Kong's youthful pro- democracy protesters, targeted by Beijing's draconian national security law devised to silence them.

Do you feel that some aspects of the pro-democracy movement have pushed China too far and lost?

JIMMY LAI, FORMER CHAIRMAN/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER, NEXT DIGITAL: It is always the right thing to do is to fight for your freedom, because without freedom we have nothing.

RIPLEY: Last year, the publisher of the Apple Daily was frog marched out of his own newsroom, the Cantonese pro-democracy publication turned over by 200 Hong Kong police.

LAI: A lot of people are being intimidated. I think the laws intimidating effect is very effective. RIPLEY: The catchall national security law bans tradition as well as

collusion with foreign powers, a charge often leveled against Lai. Violators can face life in prison, and as the imposition of the law led to mass arrests and the gutting of Hong Kong's legislature.

CLAUDIA MO, PRO-DEMOCRACY LAWMAKER: What's the point in taking part in anymore Legislative Council Elections?

RIPLEY: The maverick media mogul publicly appealed to the U.S. for support. Before that his ties to the U.S. won him a Washington meet and greet with the Trump administration.

LAI: They see the logic, they see the righteousness in it, and that's why we have such a great support from the international community.

RIPLEY: Lai has always acted with a sense of righteousness, once a refugee from communist China, he escorted controversy as a tabloid owner, always a thorn in Beijing side, his lengthy rap sheet a badge of honor.

LAI: When there is democracy in Hong Kong I will give up.

RIPLEY: Jimmy Lai still playing the long game. You want the movement to continue, but at what's cost to the young people who are not you, who don't have what you have?

LAI: We have to believe that we are on the right side of history. Given enough time, we will win. Time is our weapon. Not violence.

RIPLEY: Time, many here worry is running out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY (on camera): Lai remains behind bars without bail on charges of colluding with foreign forces or alleged violation of Hong Kong's national security law imposed by Beijing. He also faces two more unauthorized assembly trials just like this one, those trials lasted for 20 days, which means that the 72-year-old, before he will be getting to his actual sentencing is going to be behind bars for a very long time.

[03:25:07]

And all of those protesters who were out there, I remember that day, August of 2019, you can't even move, there was no cell phone service in Victoria Park, or in central as those hundreds of thousands of people march. But today, the pandemic come with fear of the national security law has this scene empty. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Well, very stark. All right. Thank you so much, Will Ripley in Hong Kong. We appreciate it.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is going on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in prison. The vocal Kremlin critic says he's been denied access to a doctor and medication, and says he's being tortured with sleep deprivation. Navalny made the claims in a hand written letter which his team posted

on Instagram. The Russian prison service says Navalny is receiving all the medical care he needs and has been treated like any other convict.

All right. In just a few hours, a new witness is expected to testify in the trial of the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd last summer. On day three of the trial the court got a glimpse of Derek Chauvin's body camera video. It showed his reaction just after Floyd was taken away in an ambulance.

CNN's Omar Jimenez reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Former officer Derek Chauvin heard for the first time since his murder trial begin.

DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: That's one person's opinion.

JIMENEZ: His voice audible on newly released police body camera footage as he defends his treatment of George Floyd to an onlooker.

CHAUVIN: We had to control this guy because he's a sizeable guy.

UNKNOWN: Yes. And I thought he can get in the car.

CHAUVIN: So, it looks like he was on something.

JIMENEZ: The video shown during witness testimony may be the first and last time the court hears from the man charged with killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck, if he doesn't testify.

CHAUVIN: Put your (muted) hands off right now.

JIMENEZ: New video dominated testimonies Wednesday including this police body camera footage showing the initial moments of George Floyd's arrest.

Prosecutors also introduced this dramatic footage as George Floyd is pinned to the ground. The prosecutors began the day showing the events that led up to George Floyd's arrest. This surveillance video made public for the first time today shows Floyd in a black tank top walking through Cup Foods convenience store.

Nineteen-year-old Christopher Martin was the cashier that day, he testified that Floyd was calm and friendly but appear to be high when he came in to buy a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20-dollar bill.

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, WITNESS: When I saw the bill, I notice that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of how a $100 dollar bill have, and I thought that that was odd, so I assume that it was fake.

JIMENEZ: After telling his manager and trying unsuccessfully to bring Floyd back in the store. One of Martin's coworkers called the police. When asked to describe how he felt about what happened that day the teenager said --

MARTIN: Guilt.

UNKNOWN: Why guilt?

MARTIN: If I would've just not taken the bill, this could've been avoided.

JIMENEZ: Sixty-one-year-old Charles McMillan testified that he saw police pin Floyd to the ground and try to convince him to cooperate. Pleading with Floyd as officers try to force him in the police car.

CHARLES MCMILLAN, WITNESS: I was trying to get him to go.

UNKNOWN: So were you trying to help him to --

MCMILLAN: To make the situation easy.

JIMENEZ: Instead the situation got worse. And seeing it again, was overwhelming.

UNKNOWN: Mr. McMillan, do you need a minute?

MCMILLAN: Yes. I feel helpless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ (on camera): And that feeling of helplessness, what could I have done differently has been shared by so many of those that have testified in this trial. Many of them young, that 19-year-old cashier was the 5th teenager or younger to testify in this trial over just the past three days alone.

Now, the court is expected to resume Thursday morning with more testimony from witnesses. But we also learned that the man who was initially in the car with Floyd when the officers first approached him outside of Cup Foods has filed court documents saying he plans to plead the fifth amendment against self-incrimination if he is called to testify.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

BRUNHUBER: A spike in COVID cases is hitting India at the same time as two major religious festival. We'll explain what the government is trying to do to contain the surge. That's next.

Plus, American children could be next in line for COVID vaccinations after one vaccine was found 100 percent effective in kids. We'll have those details after the break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BRUNHUBER (on camera): Welcome back to all of you watching here in

the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and you're watching CNN Newsroom.

India is struggling to contain a rise in new COVID cases at the time huge crowds are celebrating major festivals. Pilgrims are gathering in Northern India for religious festivals that draw millions from around the country and this comes right after the festival of holy that marks the arrival of spring. The health ministry says the current rise in cases has the potential to overwhelm the health care system.

CNN's Vedika Sud is live for us from New Delhi. Vedika, I understand new infection numbers have just come in. Just take us through what they are and why the numbers are going up now?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Good to be with you, Kim. But very grim numbers is what I have for you, over 22,000 new infections in the last 24 hours and nearly 460 deaths. Now both these numbers are the highest in both categories at least for the year 2021. The last time India saw a huge rise in number was in mid September when it was at over 98,000 new infections in 24 hours.

So we have seen an increase of the number of cases especially since the beginning of the month of March. And when you compare this with the numbers in January and you just stick to these numbers for example, there's been a jump of almost 55,000 cases if you look at the first two weeks of January itself.

So these are worrying numbers and yes, of course, medical experts say that this is the second wave of COVID-19 that India is experiencing. Also the health ministry that calls the press conference every week has now said that things are turning from bad to worse. Let's just listen into what they have to say earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VINOD KUMAR PAUL, SENIOR INDIAN HEALTH OFFICER: The last couple of few weeks the situation is becoming from bad to worse. This is a serious calls for concern. In some states in particular there is a huge cause for worry. But I think no state and no part of our country, no district, (inaudible), should be complacent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUD (on camera): The medical experts I have spoken to have said complacency is one big reason for the spiking case. And others say that COVID fatigue that a lot of people across the world have also been experiencing. But yes weddings, gatherings, parties, as well as festivals that had been celebrated are a huge cause as well.

Even now people are walking around without masks. A lot of experts attribute that to COVID fatigue. But one event that commences today and will continue for the entire month is the (inaudible) which is a huge Hindu festival, one of the biggest festivals in fact across the world. This is where millions of people gather at a city in the northern

state of (inaudible) in India. We are expecting millions of people to attend this event and take a holy dip in the River Ganja which is known to be holy to the Hindu community here in India.

[03:35:11]

While the (Inaudible) government has implemented restrictions that include a COVID test within 72 hours before getting to the location or rather the venue in this case. There will be random checks of test that are carried out amongst these visitors. But the worry of this turning into super spreader remains (inaudible), because we talk about millions of people at one place taking a holy dip in a river.

And all eyes will be on whether this event goes off safely, smoothly or turns into a superspreader. But once again, I'm just reiterate a lot of guidelines have been put in place by the state government of (inaudible).

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Alright. We'll be watching. Thanks so much, Vedika Sud in New Delhi.

Brazil appears to be losing its battle against coronavirus. Brazil reported almost 4,000 COVID deaths on Wednesday and that topped a grim record set just the day before. In March lone, more than 66,000 people in Brazil have died in the country's deadliest month since the pandemic began.

And Peru is hoping to curve a surge in new COVID-19 infections with some drastic measures, they take effect on Thursday and will last through the Easter weekend. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice over): The Peruvian government has imposed a new nationwide lockdown as they're try to curb the spread of the resurging coronavirus in the (inaudible) nation. Among the measures impost according to a segment by the Peruvian council of ministers, published on Wednesday are a total ban on the use of private vehicles and a 24 hour curfew.

Domestic flights and intra provincial public transportation's are also to stop. This comes as Peru is experiencing an uptick of new cases just days ahead of the first round of presidential elections that are scheduled for Sunday April 11th.

Despite the resurgence of the pandemic, the Peruvian presidency announced that the elections will take place as scheduled. For CNN this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Johnson & Johnson says a mix-up of the vaccine facility in Baltimore won't affect the company's ability to deliver the doses its promise. The company says a test batch of about 15 million doses was ruined because of the wrong ingredients. That facility hasn't yet been authorized to manufacture the drug.

Meanwhile a clinical trial of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was found to be 100 percent effective in children ages 12 to 15 that data will now be submitted to U.S. regulators. Pfizer and BioNTech have a global goal of producing two and a half billion vaccine doses by the end of this year. Their total so far 232 million.

Now these here are among the places where their vaccines already being administered around the world. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside the Pfizer factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Here is his exclusive report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One year ago the process you are watching didn't even exist. And for Mike McDermott, Pfizer president of global supply, a novel virus meant he needed a novel approach to vaccine manufacturing.

MIKE MCDERMOTT, PFIZER PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL SUPPLY: This has been an amazing 12 months like nothing I've ever experienced in my career.

GUPTA: Remember until the end of last year no vaccine using MRNA technology had ever been authorized. And now I'm getting an exclusive look here in Kalamazoo Michigan at how Pfizer and partnership with BioNTech has produced millions of these vaccines.

60 million doses are surrounding us hugging us right now. Imagine the impact that this room will have just the doses sitting here today on U.S. citizens and patients around the world.

UNKNOWN: That gives me goosebumps.

GUPTA: While Pfizer has more than doubled its output from a month ago now producing at least 13 million doses a week. It's still not enough for McDermott.

MCDERMOTT: By the middle of this year, 13 million doses will be at 25 million doses in a couple of months.

GUPTA: So, a hundred million a month.

MCDERMOTT: A hundred million a month.

GUPTA: And he's doing that by continuing to look for novel solutions. Even seemingly simple ones. They found that their suppliers couldn't provide enough dry ice so they decided to produce their own.

MCDERMOTT: Hi, this our jackets, so we can see each other, hard hat.

GUPTA: It also means that you are now seeing things that President Biden didn't see when he was here just five weeks ago in February.

MCDERMOTT: This is our new formulation suites.

GUPTA: Here is part of how they scale up so fast. These pre-fat formulation suites. They are all built in Texas before being brought here.

[03:40:00]

MCDERMOTT: If we built it wall by wall on site, it would take us a year. By doing it modularly we can cut that in half. If you want to get that on one side, I'll get on the other.

GUPTA: And yes, as I found it really is as easy as pushing it into place.

MCDERMOTT: That's amazing. That is pretty smart.

GUPTA: But For McDermott, it really all came down to this key part of the process.

MCDERMOTT: There has never been a commercial scale MRNA vaccine. So everything you see here is custom designed.

GUPTA: Remember, what makes up Pfizer's vaccine is basically MRNA house in four different lipids which is really just fat. And this tiny tool called an impingement jet mixer makes it possible. Now this is going to sound too simple. But here it goes. On one side MRNA is pumped in. On the other side, lipids. And they are forced together with around 400 pounds of pressure. Out comes a lipid nanoparticle which McDermott says is the perfect package to deliver MRNA to yourselves. That is the vaccine.

When you start to really scale it up like that, how confident were you that it was going to work?

MCDERMOTT: So the first time somebody showed me this impingement jet mixer, I said you can't be serious. How could you put billions of doses through here? So my confidence level was actually quite low. Not that it could be done I knew it worked at this scale. But how could you multiply it.

GUPTA: Not only did McDermott crack that code and is now on his way to producing billions of doses for the world his life has now come full circle.

MCDERMOTT: As a kid my dad worked for NASA and he was lucky enough to be in mission control in Houston when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. It's like an amazing moment.

UNKNOWN: It's a giant leap for mankind.

MCDERMOTT: And the day we ship the first doses out of the site, it rushed over me like that was our moonshot.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjayan Gupta, CNN, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): U.S. President Joe Biden has his sights set on fixing America's crumbling roads, bridges, even the aging power grid and he has got a $2 trillion plan to make it happen. Biden says upgrading U.S. infrastructure will create millions of new jobs, grow economy and shift the country towards greener energy. He plans to pay for it with a hike in corporate taxes and by eliminating tax breaks for fossil fuels. While Republicans are already barking at the plan but Biden is hoping he can sell it to Americans. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges, it is a once and a generation investment in America. It's the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It's big, yes. It's bold, yes. And we can get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Alright. CNN's John Defterios joins us now with more details. John, so, who is this going to help? And how is he going to pay for it?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (on camera): I have to say, you know, Joe Biden is living up to the spirit of his campaign to build America back even better. It is pretty healthy at $2 trillion, Kim. Let's cover who he is targeting here. And that is the lower middle class and the poor promising 13 million jobs as part as this package here, rebuilding America's infrastructure. And he's also playing to the Democratic base again, the labor unions. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: It's time to build our economy from the bottom up and from the middle out, not the top down. That hasn't worked very well. For the economy overall it hadn't worked because Wall Street didn't build this country. You great middle class built this country and unions built in the middle class.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS (on camera): Joe Biden there in Pittsburgh trying to make the point to former steel town. Now Republicans are resisting this Kim, as you know and you asked who is going to pay for it. So far this is all based on corporations in America wiping out Donald Trump's tax cut to 21 percent of the corporate rate, bringing it back up to 28 percent. Very importantly and he even targeted Amazon here. To eliminate the off showing of capital and bringing it into lower cost tax savings, like, Ireland and Singapore.

But one thing I think it resonates throughout America, you can look at the infrastructure it does needs to be rebuilt. And something Republicans may resist but they have to acknowledge, it has been decades since we have had a refresh.

BRUNHUBER: You've mentioned some other countries there. Can we make any comparisons here with other countries that have done something similar?

DEFTERIOS: Yes, I think, Kim, it is a good question because we should put it in the global context. I think it is the European social Democratic model. So, two that come to mind are that I've traveled in a great deal are Germany and France.

[03:45:00]

Excellent infrastructure, good health care, very good state schools. If you take it to Asia, Japan is a model for that. Singapore is a smaller country but fantastic infrastructure. I think this is a model that the Americans can follow going forward.

And then we have to think about the market reaction to this. If you look at the Asian market giving this a not of approval. They know that Joe Biden was on the Hill for four decades. It may not live $2 trillion, but they think the corporate rates are reasonable that strategy is sound. That is the market reaction so far.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thank you so much John Defterios in Abu Dhabi, we always appreciate it.

Delta Airlines passengers are about to have less elbow room. The carrier will start filling the middle seats on its aircraft starting May 1st. Delta is the last U.S. Airline to fill the seats which were left empty as COVID social distancing measure. It has (inaudible) for vaccinations and consumer demand prompted the decision. Delta will still enforce mask use on flights and will keep it's enhance cleaning measures in place between flights.

All right still to come. The growing outcry over what's being called a rape culture at some of Britain's top schools. We will look at where these allegations came from and what is being done about it.

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BRUNHUBER (on camera): The Black Lives Matter movement in the U.K. slamming Britain's long-awaited report on race. The report suggest the U.K. should be seen as a model for other countries since they stated that there is no evidence the U.K. is institutionally racist.

But BLM U.K. says the government report quote goes out of its way to deny and obscure the existence of racism and it tweeted this, we're also disappointed to learn that the report overlooks disproportionality in the criminal justice system particularly as police racism serves as the catalyst for last summer's protests.

Anonymous testimonials from thousands of young survivors of sexual abuse are being shared on a U.K. website called, Everyone's Invited. And now some of Britain's top academic institutions are facing a reckoning on a rape culture. CNN's Nina Dos Santos spoke to the woman who created the site. She says it is not just about rape but about the everyday harassment that normalizes sexual assault. And a warning this report contains some graphic content.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNKNOWN: When I was 13 I was sexually assaulted by three men in the playground. I cried for 10 days. UNKNOWN: When I was 14 I had a guy message me and he told he wanted

to rape me to make me pregnant.

UNKNOWN: I got really drunk and pulled into a bathroom with two 18 year old boys. One left while the other one raped me.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These are the stories of British childhood violated. Laid bare for the world to see on the website everyone is invited.

UNKNOWN: Some guy asked for pics. Someone at this school kept harassing me to send them nudes.

[03:50:00]

UNKNOWN: Some teacher at school told me to cover up.

DOS SANTOS: Evidence, the site founder says of a pervasive rape culture in the U.K. too often brushed off with dangerous consequences.

SOMA SARA, FOUNDER, EVERYONE'S INVITED: Really what is talking about is a culture that trivializes and normalizes the worst behaviors. So it is things like sludge shaming or groping out a Christmas Party. Those things when they are normalized. You know, this creates an environment where sexual violence can exist and thrive.

DOS SANTOS: Soma Sara, herself a survivor, started the project last year as a safe space for victims to share their experiences of abuse at school. The more than 10,000 anonymous testimonials gathered mention hundreds of the nation's academic settings including elite ones attended by Prime Ministers.

SARA: This movement is about addressing a culture, a culture that is widespread and pervasive. It's not about blaming or pointing finger at an individual, an institution or a demographic, because it is everywhere.

DOS SANTOS: Many schools across the U.K. are now investigating.

Both the government and the police have pledged to take action, but in the meantime some pupils have also been making their feelings plain, including here at this North London School, where female students as young as 11 held a walkout in protest of inaction over allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.

Those claims were made and post on the Everyone's Invited site. Highgate School has launched an investigation. In a statement it said we are deeply shocked and horrified by the allegations that have recently come to light. The Highgate they described runs entirely contrary to the values of our whole community. We are truly sorry.

But this former primary school head teacher now with a sexual assault survivor's charity providing workshops in school says she is not surprised by the scale of the problem.

ELIZABETH BRAILSFORD, SOLACE WOMEN'S AID: Every time we go in to do a series of sessions on healthy relationships we will get young people that come forward.

DOS SANTOS: Every time?

BRAILSFORD: Every time. Yes there will be somebody that will come forward with a concern that needs addressing.

DOS SANTOS: After a complaint she says it is common for a female victim to be asked to move schools rather than the boy accused. A double agony in a country which criminalizes sexual violence but whose rates for prosecution for such offenses have dropped drastically.

BRAILSFORD: I think there is a lack of severity taken when the disclosures are made. So often in schools it will be brushed under the carpet.

DOS SANTOS: The uproar provoked by the submissions to Everyone's Invited has plunged Britain further into a national debate about aggression against female citizen. And it's prompted a moment of reckoning on violence and values which many feel was long overdue. Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Alright. Ahead on CNN Newsroom, Egyptian authorities expect some huge financial losses from the Suez shut down as investigators begin expecting the ship that caused it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): The investigation into Tiger Woods' car crashes over but it's not clear when if ever the public will find out what led to the wreck. The L.A. County sheriff said on Facebook, he won't be releasing the cause due to quote privacy issues. The 15 time major champion suffered serious leg injuries in the crash and is recuperating at home.

[03:55:03]

The sheriff's department has asked the golfer for permission to release details of the probe, but no word on that so far. The sheriff previously called the rollover an accident and said Tiger would not face any charges.

Also in April fools prank that went too far for Belgian authorities and now an investigation has been launched into those behind it. Already sunny weather is bringing out the crowds despite coronavirus restrictions now officials are worried many more could show up to a park in Brussels after thousands were invited to a fake concert by Facebook.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CELESTINE WTTERWULGHE, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Obviously this joke has gained a lot of momentum, but I think that this joke came at the right time. It was a moment when everyone was relaxing a little bit because the government tighten the restrictions a lot.

So everyone said a good joke finally we are dropping everything. I think that there will be a lot of people coming tomorrow but I think the authorities will do everything to make sure that it doesn't get too big and that will be (inaudible), maybe they will close the park.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Officials warned anyone breaking COVID-19 rules could face prosecution.

The Suez Canal authority says shipping is back to normal levels in the vital trade route. Meanwhile divers are inspecting the hall of the massive container ship that ran aground last week holding up traffic for days. Egypt says losses from the blockage could reach one billion dollars. CNN Ben Wedeman reports from Cairo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been more than two days at the Suez Canal is fully operational. But the saga of the Ever Given goes on. The massive container ship remains anchored in the great bitter lake where it has been inspected for sea worthiness.

Wednesday afternoon Egyptian investigators boarded the ship they were particularly interested in gaining access to the vessels voice and data recorders its so-called black box. Tuesday the ships owner promised to fully cooperate with the investigation into the Ever Given's grounding failure to cooperate could have dire circumstances.

The chief investigator told Egyptian TV that if the Ever Given does not respond to our request this will turn into a civil suit. There will be in order to seize the ship and its cargo. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER (on camera): Well, that wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Kim Brunhuber, I will be back in just a moment wit more news. Please do stay with us.

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