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CNN NEWSROOM

Prince Philip Dead at Age 99; France Further Limits Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine; St. Vincent's La Soufriere Volcano Erupts. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired April 10, 2021 - 03:00   ET

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


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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to viewers joining us around the world, I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company.

The loss of Prince Philip, resonating across the United Kingdom and, indeed, the world, after his passing at the age of 99. The husband and companion to Queen Elizabeth died Friday at Windsor Castle and we expect to hear more about his funeral arrangements in the coming hours.

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HOLMES (voice-over): Bells sounding at Westminster Abbey Friday. Gun salutes will be fired across the U.K. at noon local time in the duke's honor. The Duke of Edinburgh playing a role in shaping Britain and its monarchy for more than seven decades. Max Foster with more on his legacy. .

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BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It was with great sadness that, a short time ago, I received word from Buckingham Palace that His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, has passed away at the age of 99.

Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tributes pouring in from all over the globe for the Duke of Edinburgh, the longest serving consort in U.K. history.

Dutifully by the queen's side for more than 70 years, a descendant of Queen Victoria, Philip was born into Greek and Danish Royalty. But he renounced those titles in 1947 when he married then Princess Elizabeth and took British citizenship. By then, already a decorated naval World War II veteran.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: He fought so bravely on the allied side and saved many, many men from German bombs on the ships. He was a brave and determined and devoted man in the navy. And I think that was when he completely excelled and it was really very difficult for him to give that up.

FOSTER (voice-over): Philip solidifying a royal love story for the ages, taking a back seat publicly, at least, to his wife, the queen.

ROBERT HARDMAN, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: His number one job from the word go has been to quote support the queen, everything he does is in support of the queen. It's just been one of the great royal romances I think of history.

FOSTER (voice-over): His devotion and duty on display whilst in private, a commanding presence as patriarch of the royal family.

And whilst always at the queen's side, finding his own stride, a renowned environmentalist, long before it was publicly fashionable. He served as head of the WWF and was president of some 800 other charities, attending some 22,000 events on his own, before his official retirement in 2017 at the age of 96.

With news of his passing on Friday, mourners arrived at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to pay their respects to the beloved royal consort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he embodies everything about the country really. And I think he's just a real kind of royal consort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This morning I was in tears and, you know, it's just a sudden, you know, news about him.

FOSTER (voice-over): And whilst the pandemic will prevent a large- scale public ceremony to remember Prince Philip and the days to come. The legacy he leaves is everlasting.

JOHNSON: Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband a greater debt than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.

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HOLMES: We know Prince Philip's funeral will be held at Windsor Castle and it won't be a state funeral. Isa Soares joins us now with more.

Let's begin with how it all unfolded yesterday, people turning out. I know you spoke to many of them. Give us a sense of what happened.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many people, Michael, knew how frail and fragile he was, they saw those images of him leaving hospital three weeks ago. So many people were not surprised to hear this but still shocked, nevertheless.

Everyone I spoke to talked about how loyal, honorable and dutiful he was, how he represented everything that this country stood for, the man, who, many women have told me, stood beside the queen, behind me at Windsor Castle, and just a few steps behind her.

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SOARES: Clearly, a man who devoted his life to queen and country, a man, who she said, was her strength and her stay. Many people, also telling me, yesterday, how moved they were by his passing and how difficult it might be for the queen.

I just need to ask my camera man, if I can, to turn the camera around. It's happening right now. Take a look at this, Michael. They have just arrived here and they are paying their respects in silence.

I think, Michael, even though we have been told and asked and the public has been asked to not come here, to not lay flowers, they want to avoid mass gatherings, this is what many of us were expecting today.

People coming here, taking time from their schedule, to pay their respects, to the man who many looked up to as a man who dedicated his life to this country.

HOLMES: Extraordinary and touching there, the people on horseback. We will leave it there then. Isa, thank you so much, Isa Soares, in Windsor, appreciate it.

Leaders across Northern Ireland's political divide are offering condolences to the queen, even as a new wave of sectarian violence flares up. Salma Abdelaziz, joining us now from Belfast.

The violence there has been concerning. But it seems to have paused in the wake of Prince Philip's death.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Absolutely. I'm in front of city hall here in Belfast, where the flag is flying at half mast. I just want to paint a picture of what has happened here for the last week. Dozens of police officers, injured in constant clashes. First, directed at the authorities, then what's happening between Protestant and Catholic communities.

Molotov cocktails were being thrown. Fireworks, bricks, mortars, this is violence that these communities have not seen in years, Michael.

Yesterday, when Prince Philip's death was announced, we heard from all parties, all sides, all factions, an appeal for calm, a call for everyone to go home. One can only imagine, in the wake of all of this, that the opinion on the death of Prince Philip is very divided. Take a listen to what people were telling me.

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SAM BUTLER, JOURNALIST: It's very sad, he made a tremendous contribution to the royal family and the United Kingdom as well as Northern Ireland. And he was -- he was very character. He has his own personality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't. I don't think the royal family are nice people. I think that there's some people celebrating; I think there'll be some people mourning. There's quite a divide here.

PETER HOSKINS, CIVIL SERVANT: Do you think it's odd for the family -- and you've been sort of empathetic towards them. But for me personally, it's -- for me, it's not a direct connection to him that it's difficult to sort of put into words. It's not that I'm sad. I'm not happy about it but it's sort of in the middle.

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ABDELAZIZ: Now I was just on the steps of city hall here, yesterday, when I saw a senior politician from Sinn Fein, who reached out to the other side and said, it is important we acknowledge that this is a time of mourning. Please don't go into the streets.

We saw similarly from Protestants, Unionists, calling on their own to say, now is not the time to protest, everyone go home. We were on the streets yesterday and that's exactly what we saw.

Yes, small skirmishes, small games of cat and mouse. But largely, the peace held.

Now the question is, will it hold for tonight as well?

HOLMES: To that point, when it comes to the violence, so many of the young people, most of the young people involved on the street there, wouldn't have known the Troubles firsthand.

What is behind this and how best to calm the tensions?

ABDELAZIZ: Michael, as you know, there has always been long-standing tensions here between the Protestant community and the Catholic communities. Yes, the Troubles are a time that many young people here, simply, don't remember.

You have a perfect storm right now happening. You have Brexit, which created what many people are calling a sea border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It has many people upset and feeling backstabbed by Westminster. You have that playing out, in addition to people who have been under COVID restrictions, now, for over a year.

You can understand the sentiment there, the socioeconomic difficulties. There is also a funeral where COVID restrictions were broken and police did not crack down on that funeral, even though it was a nationalist's funeral. So, there is a sense that the rules don't apply to all, that some people are excluded.

In addition to these other factors, politically, playing out, you can imagine how that turns into street violence.

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ABDELAZIZ: We have seen dozens of policemen injured in this at some point, communities, actually throwing over peace walls, throwing projectiles, throwing Molotov cocktails.

All of that seems to have calmed down but these factors remain in place. So, it really remains to be seen, Michael, if the death of Prince Philip will be a long-standing calming factor or if this was just a brief pause out of respect for the royal.

HOLMES: Time will tell. Good to see you, Salma Abdelaziz, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Around the world, leaders are paying tribute to the prince. The E.U. Commission president, Ursula van der Leyen, saying, quote, "I am saddened to hear of the passing of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip. I would like to extend my sincere sympathy to Her Majesty, the Queen, the royal family and the people of the United Kingdom on this very sad day."

This, from the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

"Prince Philip maintained a special relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces and, over the years, became colonel in chief of six Canadian units. Prince Philip was a man of great purpose and conviction, who was motivated by a sense of duty. To others, he will be fondly remembered as a constant in the life of our queen, a lifelong companion, who was always at her side, offering unfailing support as she carried out her duties."

Now from Canberra to Cape Town, Prince Philip being remembered across the commonwealth and around the world. Will Ripley is live in Hong Kong for us.

Fill us in on the reaction around the commonwealth. There has been a lot of it.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You mentioned Canberra; just moments ago, the Australian Federation Guard had a 41-gun salute outside of their parliament house, in honor of the late Prince Philip.

And, in Sydney, at the Harbor Bridge, flags are at half-mast right now. You can see that just wrapped up, the 41-gun salute, just moments ago, in the Australian capital. Australia, a very special country for the royal couple. Prince Philip made more than 20 visits there himself. He is well known in Australia, New Zealand, where Queen Elizabeth remains the head of state. She is head of state of 16 countries.

Her royal consort, the longest serving in the history of the U.K., the Duke of Edinburgh, was involved in hundreds of charities; most famously, the Duke of Edinburgh Award that helped young people to build up their life skills.

He has made, just on his own, 22,000 solo appearances. And, alongside the queen, he has been hosting charity events around the world for decades. This is not easy stuff. You need to be briefed about who you're meeting with, what you will be talking about.

And those who have met Prince Philip, including our V.P., Roger here, who was telling me about a couple of encounters of his own, he said the prince was always very well prepared on any topic, whether it was world leaders, whether he was hosting private military functions.

But he is, truly, admired for putting in much of his life, dedicating much of his life to service, giving up a career in the Royal Navy to serve his country and to serve the Commonwealth. The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, spoke about that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: For over 50 years, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards have connected him to thousands of New Zealand's young people. And, of course, perhaps most importantly, he has served in support of Her Majesty the Queen for many years in her service to New Zealand, the commonwealth and, indeed, the world.

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RIPLEY: The duke is also being remembered for his decades of devotion to his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and the love story that was shared in a tweet from the former Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

He wrote in the tweet, "Farewell, Prince Philip, always charming to this republican but never more so than at Malta 2015, when he relived his young life with his young wife, not yet a queen. He spoke of love, adventure, eyes sparkling. He banished time. And we could see how he won Elizabeth's heart."

The tributes across the 54 countries of the commonwealth, countries here in Asia and Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific, this family of nations who have come together, mourning the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh -- Michael.

HOLMES: Indeed, they are. 22,000 solo appearances. Just think about that, incredible. Will Ripley, in Hong Kong, thank you.

Now we take a quick break. When we come back, concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine still have not been put to rest. When we come back, we go live to France and have Jim Bittermann with the latest.

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HOLMES: France is further shying away from using the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for younger age groups, amid those blood clot concerns. It says people under 55, who already received a first dose of AstraZeneca, will now be offered an alternative for the second. Jim Bittermann, joining me now, from Paris.

I'm not sure the scientists recommend that.

What's the latest?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Michael, in fact, this is something of a surprise after a number of weeks of variations on what is exactly the proper approach to AstraZeneca across the country.

This latest from the health authority here is that basically people under the age of 55 should not be getting a second dose if they have already had AstraZeneca. They should not be given a second dose and the health authority here says that they're going to providing a different vaccine of the same type and the same basic, general description, as AstraZeneca.

Something like Pfizer for the second dose because there's concerns about blood clots in young people under the age of 55. So that's what's going to happen here. This is the strategy the government is adopting but not everyone agrees it's a great strategy.

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DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Splitting vaccine doses between two different vaccines is completely untried. We don't know -- first of all, we don't know whether it is effective, and we don't know whether it is safe.

In an environment with more variants, you really want to know that the vaccine you are getting will not promote the production of more variants.

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BITTERMANN: So that is the kind of thing that is going to confront the French as they go to visit their doctors and the various locations, where they're getting shots, basically, there's confusion that is still out there about AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca is, I should say, one of the vaccines, one of the go-to vaccines, for the French. They're rolling out a lot of the doses of it, at one point, 4 million doses put out this week alone to the various pharmacies and doctors, who are administering vaccinations. As a consequence, the confusion is just going to add up to vaccine hesitancy -- Michael.

HOLMES: It does seem odd to be splitting vaccines when they don't know what the result of that will be. In the meantime, there is a government promotion campaign on vaccinations. Tell us about that.

BITTERMANN: In fact, the president was part of that yesterday. He visited a factory not far from here, as a matter of fact, outside Paris. He visited a pharmaceutical factory where the French are going to be producing vaccines. This is not vaccines that they have invented themselves; it's basically the Pfizer vaccine.

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BITTERMANN: It's going to be produced and packaged here. But Macron said he hoped that, by the end of the year, the French will be rolling out 250 million doses of vaccine and that will be made on its own territory.

Of course, there are still hopes that the French will come up with a vaccine of their own. That is coupled with a campaign, a pro-vaccine campaign that Macron is, again, leading with his Instagram account. He has an Instagram account, where he put out some jazzy pro-vaccine commercials, I guess you could call them. That especially have appeal with younger people. Certainly, they are

getting a lot of views on the internet -- Michael.

HOLMES: Fascinating. Jim Bittermann, good to see you, thank you for that.

Now Greece making changes amid the renewed blood clot warnings. Its vaccine committee, now saying that AstraZeneca's vaccine only be offered to those over the age of 30.

The country's health minister says he expects major changes to the vaccination schedule and that, up until now, between 10,000 and 12,000 people had been vaccinated, with AstraZeneca, each day.

Meanwhile, Norway's prime minister, apologizing for breaching the coronavirus rules that, she, herself, put into place. She was fined by police for organizing a family dinner with too many guests from different households. The prime minister, apparently, not actually attending the gathering herself.

Russia making a show of force along its border with Ukraine; tanks, troop carriers, missile launchers, all deployed to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don by Ukraine's eastern border.

The U.S. considering sending warships to the Black Sea in support of Ukraine, although, a Defense official tells the U.N., they don't see the Russian buildup as, quote, "posturing for offensive action."

Secretary of state Tony Blinken, speaking with his French and German counterparts on Friday, all three, calling on Russia to stop its provocations and military buildup.

Myanmar's military junta sentenced 19 people to death, according to Reuters, citing a military owned TV station. They are accused of killing an associate of an army captain in Yangon. The district where it allegedly happened, now under martial law and a military court handed down those death sentences.

Military spokesmen say that Myanmar is returning to normal, and that pro-democracy movement is dwindling. Well, it is not what we see on the streets.

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HOLMES (voice-over): Thousands, still risking retaliation from security forces, to march in demonstrations like this one. Reuters reporting troops fired grenades at anti-coup protesters on Friday, killing at least 10 people.

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HOLMES: Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, thousands on a Caribbean island, leaving their homes as a volcano spews ash and smoke. It's not clear when the threat will be over. We will have that, when we come back.

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HOLMES: The La Soufriere volcano on St. Vincent's island, in the Caribbean, is now actively erupting. Scientists say it could continue for weeks to come.

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HOLMES: The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center says there were at least three explosive events on Friday, sending huge plumes of ash and smoke into the air. The column of ash has gone at least four kilometers into the atmosphere. Thousands of people on St. Vincent, fleeing their homes. Patrick Oppmann, with the latest.

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PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Months after a volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent began threatening to erupt on Friday, it did just that. Early Friday morning, La Soufriere volcano blew ash and rock thousands of feet into the air and caused people who live in the vicinity of the volcano to have to evacuate.

Luckily, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had, for days, warned people that the volcano was going to explode at any moment. And about 6,000 to 7,000 people in the immediate vicinity of this volcano were warned that they needed to leave the area immediately.

The government was sending empty cruise ships to ferry people out of harm's way. According to the government, now hundreds of people have taken to shelters and have evacuated the area.

There is no immediate word on deaths or damage to structures because, right now, people are warned to stay away from this exploding volcano as it sends thick plumes of ash into the sky.

Another concern is that, while these people are being evacuated, while residents are being evacuated into shelters, that could cause the spread of the coronavirus to pick up. So, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has warned people that as they are evacuating, as they go to shelters, to try to maintain social distancing and keep their masks on, to be aware that, of course, they are still in the middle of the pandemic.

It is not clear how long this volcano will continue to erupt. It's been 42 years since the last eruption. But as it continues, it will put smoke and ash into the sky. It isn't yet safe to return.

And people, for the time being, government officials are telling them, simply, to stay away while this very dangerous seismic activity continues -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: The relationship between Prince Philip and the queen is considered one of the greatest royal love stories of modern times. They were married for more than seven decades after first meeting in the 1930s.

One of the queen's cousins says he was, quote, "her rock" and, rarely, far from her side, when it came to everything from visits abroad to celebrations like the Diamond Jubilee. And the prince once said the essential ingredient to marriage s tolerance, something that he said was vital when times get tough.

I am Michael Holmes, thank you for spending part of your day with me, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, @HolmesCNN. "AFRICAN VOICES CHANGEMAKERS" is next.