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Alexei Navalny in Near-to-Death Condition; Russia Expelled 20 Czech Officials; Court Deliberations for Derek Chauvin Wraps Up; UEFA President Felt Betrayed; Kremlin Critic Alexei Navalny Moved to Prison Hospital; United States and European Union Warn Russia Over Navalny's Health; Pakistan Protest on French Ambassador; WHO's Global Cases Rise for Eight Straight Week; India Reports Sixth Consecutive Day of 200,000 Plus New Coronavirus Cases; Thailand Grapples with Third Wave of COVID-19; E.U. Regulator to Announce Review Of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine; Wildlife Incident In The Republic of South Africa; Oil Price Edge Higher, Supported By Weaker U.S. Dollar; NASA Flies First Aircraft on Mars. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 20, 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)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, the U.S. and the E.U. make it clear that the Kremlin will be held to account for the fate of Alexei Navalny as the Putin critic lies near death in a prison hospital. Plus --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEKSANDER CEFERIN, PRESIDENT, UEFA: If 12 people meet, and want to take football as a hostage just to full their pockets, that are already so full, that it's hard to put anything in. They can't win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): Top European football clubs face fierce backlash over plans for a Super League. More from our interview with the head of UAFA.

And NASA shows the world that aviation on another planet is possible. We speak to an engineer who helped make ingenuity hover for more than 39 seconds.

Good to have you with us.

Well supporters of Russia's most prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny say that he could die at any time. He has been moved to a prison hospital as he continues his hunger strike against lack of proper medical care. Russian officials say he's in satisfactory condition and on vitamin therapy. But his attorney says the situation is dire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXEI LIPSTER, ALEXEI NAVALNY'S ATTORNEY (through translator): All of the symptoms that he had before remain the same. Numbness in his arms and legs did not go anywhere. And neither did the pain in his back. It is all exacerbated by his hunger strike, bad blood tests, and everything else that was revealed last week. The situation is only getting worse. All the treatment that was recommended to him was not approved by Alexei's personal doctors, who he trusts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): More now from senior international correspondent Sam Kiley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Cries of pain caused by poisoning, an attempt to silence Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny permanently. It failed. Today, he languishes in a penal colony hospital in his homeland. Again, his staff says close to death. Others must now speak for him.

YAROSLAV ASHIKHMIN, DOCTOR AND NAVALNY ALLY: We are seeing very big, fragile patient was in an extremely high pain syndrome with the deterioration of leg and arm functions. With extremely elevated levels of potassium that might cause fatal arrhythmia, or fatal heart block.

KILEY: Twenty days into a hunger strike over his demands for independent medical attention, the international protest that his failing health had been led from the U.S.

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility, and they will be held accountable by the international community.

KILEY: Barely recovered from the nerve agent attack that nearly killed him, Navalny returned to Russia from Germany in January where he was detained for violating the terms of his probation in a years' old fraud case which he said was politically motivated. And then, predictably, sentenced and imprisoned.

Is there an element here that he is seeking martyrdom?

LEONID VOLKOV, NAVALNY'S CHIEF OF STAFF: No, of course not. I mean, he is just doing what he has to do. He had to return because he did not anything wrong, and when he was not given his medical treatment, he used the hunger strike, well, as a last resort. But still, as a legitimate political instrument, as a legitimate tool of political fight.

KILEY: Breaking down walls of political power around the Kremlin will take much more. Any hopes that Alexei Navalny might have of displacing Vladimir Putin

from that building behind me remained pretty remote. Approval ratings for him are at 19 percent. For Putin, they are about 64 percent. And there were also concerns within his movement that efforts being made here in Moscow to prescribe it as an extremist organization could snuff it out completely.

[03:04:55]

Meanwhile, pro-democracy movement plans mass demonstrations on Wednesday against Putin and in support of Navalny, a man that the Kremlin is keen to dismiss as insignificant.

ANDREY KELIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: Listen, he behaves here like a hooligan absolutely, and trying to violate every rule that has been established. His purpose of all that is to attract attention.

KILEY: Whatever the outcomes for Navalny and his movement inside Russia, beyond its borders, it's the next moves of Vladimir Putin that will receive the most attention.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): The U.S. and European Unions say they will hold Moscow accountable for Navalny's health. But the Kremlin spokesman was dismissive of international appeals to get him medical attention. Dimitri Peskov said, I do not have any information about the state of health of the aforementioned prisoner, and I cannot take on faith your statement of his critical condition. The state of health of convicts on the territory of the Russian federation cannot and should not be a topic of other state's interests.

Well for more, let's head live to London and CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. Good to see you, Nic. So Navalny has been moved to a prison hospital. We can't confirm his current condition, but the U.S. has warned Russia of consequences if Navalny dies. How much pressure would Russia be feeling right now and President Putin specifically?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, it's very quite hard to judge, Rosemary. Because there's an element to this as well of Putin being able to use the situation to his advantage, to show the narrative coming from the Kremlin is that Alexei Navalny is a stooge of the west. You know, what Putin wants to do is to continue his authoritarian rule in Russia, and by trying to remove any credible opposition, Alexei Navalny being the sort of spear tip of that, it works in Putin's favor.

So, all of the support that comes, international support that comes for Alexei Navalny, Putin can turn and use for his favor. He is also creating a lot of potential pressure points at the moment as well with the international community. The buildup of Russian forces along the border with Ukraine, the denial of areas of the Black Sea to various neighbors, including, the U.S. Navy.

This is something that the United States has called out and said that this is an area of concern. John Kirby, the spokesman for the secretary of defense said this just yesterday. So, Putin has, you know, a lot of different areas that you could consider. He is facing pressure from the international community and Navalny is one of those.

Undoubtedly, if Navalny were to die the indications are that the international community, European Union and United States would find a way to sanction Russia. But can Putin weather that? You know, the indications are that he probably could. That it is clear to everyone outside Russia that Putin has an authoritarian rule and won't stand for real, meaningful, political opposition.

That's a narrative he hides from the Russian population, and it's really a question at the moment if Navalny situation is aiding Putin or actually hurting him. He will certainly, and we heard it from Peskov, be using it to his advantage. Denying responsibility yet the line from the Kremlin about Navalny being a stooge of the west, will be that enduring one from Russian media.

CHURCH: Yes. And of course, it's worth pointing out that Navalny's body was already weakened by the Novichok poisoning that nearly took his life, and like the U.S., the E.U. is also holding Russia accountable if anything happens to Navalny. So, what are the diplomatic ramifications of all of this?

ROBERTSON: You know, that -- it is the big question, isn't it? I mean, Navalny was poisoned in August 2020, and he recovered in a hospital in Germany. It was clear that he suffered significant weight loss during that period, I mean, if you look at pictures of Navalny, you know, five or six, or seven years ago, he certainly look stronger and more robust than even when he returned to Russia in January, mid- January this year.

So, clearly, his condition is physically more frail. So, you know, the question over how much he can withstand his own hunger strike, really, really is unclear. I mean, typically, hunger strikers can live for maybe two months. And what does this do to Putin?

[03:09:51]

Yes, I mean, he absolutely he hears the international message that he will be held responsible. But we've seen him weather far greater tests of the international community than the one that he faces with Navalny right now.

CHURCH (on camera): All right. We will be watching this very closely of course, in the coming days. Nic Robertson bringing us the very latest live from London. Many thanks as always.

Well later this hour, I will speak with Bill Browder, someone who knows the wrath of the Russian government all too well and who says, Putin is panicking as the situation with Navalny worsens.

Well, the European Union is also condemning Russia's expulsions of 20 Czech diplomats Monday in a-for-tat diplomatic row with Prague. That's two more than the 18 Russian envoys ordered to leave the Czech Republic. Czech officials accused Russian intelligence agents of a botched operation in 2014 that killed two people. And they are searching for the same two men who have been linked to the Novichok poisonings three years ago in the U.K.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAVEL ZEMAN, CZECH SUPREME STATE ATTORNEY (through translator): It was discovered that these persons who used false identities of citizens from Moldova and Tajikistan. After further investigation it was discovered that these persons arrived in the Czech Republic a few days ahead using cover documents of the Russian federation.

They were accommodated in Prague and then in Australia. Then it was discovered that these persons were connected to the poisoning attack in Salisbury in 2018.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): And the prime minister said the presence of Russian intelligence agents on Czech soil was absolutely unacceptable.

In Minneapolis, jury deliberations are set to resume today in the case of former police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is accused of killing George Floyd with excessive and unreasonable force by kneeling on his neck for more than 9 minutes. Floyd's death was caught in chilling video. It sparked nationwide protests and calls for police reform and racial justice.

While the jury deliberates over the landmark case, Minneapolis and other U.S. cities are bracing for the possibility that a not guilty verdict could bring anger and unrest to the streets once again. The National Guard has even been deployed in parts of downtown Minneapolis as a precaution.

CNN's Sara Sidner meantime has more on the dramatic moments in court before jurors were handed the case. And a warning, her report contains images that some will find disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER CAHILL, JUDGE, HENNEPIN COUNTY FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT: Members of the jury, I instruct you as follows. It is your duty to decide the questions of fact in this case.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After 27 days of trial from jury selection to closing arguments, 45 witnesses, and dozens of pieces of evidence, the murder trial against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is finally in the hands of a jury.

STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Use your common sense. Believe your eyes.

SIDNER: Chauvin, who was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third degree murder, and one count of manslaughter has pleaded not guilty.

SCHLEICHER: That force for 9 minutes and 29 seconds that killed George Floyd. That he betrayed the badge, and everything it stood for.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE LAWYER: I submit to you the state has failed to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

SIDNER: The defense tried to sow doubt about whether Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck was the primary factor in his death.

NELSON: You can't come in and say, George Floyd on one hand, George Floyd died of asphyxiation, but he has a 98 percent oxygen level. All right. His blood is oxygenated.

SIDNER: The prosecution reminded the jury of the expert medical testimony they had heard from the stand.

SCHLEICHER: Is that common sense, or is that nonsense? Not enough oxygen could get to the lungs, and that's what killed George Floyd.

GEORGE FLOYD, POLICE BRUTALITY VICTIM: I can't breathe, officer.

SIDNER: Over, and over again. They re-played the video of Floyd taking his last breaths.

SCHLEICHER: Somebody is telling you they can't breathe and you keep doing it, and you're doing it on purpose.

SIDNER: Last week, Chauvin pleaded the fifth, which is a defendant's right to avoid self-incrimination. His defense attorney, instead spoke for him.

NELSON: The 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds. It completely disregards it. It tries to re-frame the issue of what a reasonable police officer would do.

SIDNER: After weeks of laying out the case arguing that a heart condition, drug use, carbon monoxide from the squad car's exhaust, and potentially, stress induced excited delirium all could have contributed to Floyd's death. The defense implores the jury to see that there is enough reasonable doubt to acquit.

NELSON: He would observe the white foam around Mr. Floyd's mouth. He would consider the possibility that this person was under the suspect -- was under the influence of something.

[03:15:04]

SCHLEICHER: This is not the trial of George Floyd. He is not on trial. He didn't get a trial when he was alive. And, he isn't on trial here.

SIDNER: Before the jury began deliberations, some of the last words they heard was this rebuttal from the prosecution.

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: You were told that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (on camera): The jury got the case at about 4.15 Minneapolis time, and they deliberated until 8 p.m. They will continue to deliberate Tuesday.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.

CHURCH: Well fierce blowback and increasing anger over plans for a breakaway European Football League. A crisis brought on by the Super League. And the retaliation the founding clubs could face.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. Well, Europeans football's governing body is facing mutiny after a dozen elite and extremely wealthy clubs announced their plans to form an exclusive Super League. Six clubs are from England, three from Spain, and three from Italy.

The Super League plans to start out with 20 clubs and hold midweek matches with billions of dollars at stake in global television rights. The English Premier League, the most watched in the world, is among those fiercely opposed to this new venture. And so are its fans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALLUM PEARSON, MANCHESTER UNITED SUPPORTER: I think this is one of the saddest days in football, it's one of the saddest days in United States history. I was saying this to my friend the other day, football is one of the unique businesses where you can keep screwing, and screwing over the consumers, the customers, the fans, and you don't just lose customers, you are still currently gaining customers because there's so much passion and love for it.

ANDY TATE, MANCHESTER UNITED SUPPORTER: English football has been destroyed, rest in peace. We give it to the world, and it's been taken away from us by greed, contempt, American owners.

MALCOLM BUCKLEY, LIVERPOOL SUPPORTER: All this going into this new league, it's all for money, greed. I mean, that's all I have to say about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): The UEFA president describes the move as shameless and akin to taking football hostage. And he spoke to CNN contributor, Darren Lewis who is with us now from London. Good to see you, Darren. So, in that interview, UEFA's president was clearly very angry. What else did he reveal to you?

DARREN LEWIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Rosemary, he -- angry doesn't even begin to sum it up. I mean, he kind of articulated the fact that this really has been an ugly, ugly, 48 hours for the sport of football.

[03:20:01]

Articulated also by the fans that we've just spoken to a second ago. That when I spoke to him, he outlined the timeline behind this whole thing. He said that long before last week says he had spoken to a chap called Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of the Italian champions Juventus, and the Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward, and he said that he'd received assurances from both men that they would back UEFA's proposals for reform of the Champions League.

Only for Agnelli in particular to refuse to take his calls of the news of the Super League began to leaked out over the weekend, and then switch his phone off. And as you said before, you know, Rosemary, he talked about the 12 men in charge of those clubs effectively taking football hostage. Have a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CEFERIN (on camera): On Saturday I heard rumors about some Super League announcement, I called Agnelli. He says, it's a lie, this is not true, don't believe it. And then he says I'll call you in one hour and he doesn't pick up the phone anymore. He even turned it off. And then, I felt that something might happen the next day.

So, we are -- we were quite surprised but also the other 235 clubs are quite surprised because their chairman approved something, and then ran away. And he is still hiding probably somewhere. I don't know where he is.

LEWIS: You heard (Inaudible) as I understand it, you are a godfather to his child.

CEFERIN: Yes. This is more a personal thing and I don't want to enter into this. I just want to say that I thought we are also friends, but I was wrong. But for me, it's always better to be naive than to lie all the time. I might be naive.

LEWIS: How confident are you that you can find his plans?

CEFERIN: I'm confident we are doing the right thing. And because we are confident, we are doing the right thing, because we respect the fans, tradition, football, and football community, our society will win. In the end, we will win.

If 12 people meet and want to take football as a hostage just to full their pockets that are already so full, that it's hard to put anything in, they can't win. Long term, they can't win. We will win, and I am very proud of the football community, of the society, of the media, even which sometimes rare of politicians who reacted in a fantastic way.

The prime minister of Great Britain, president of France, and many prime ministers around Europe. The European Commission, European Parliament. The reaction of all the society is unanimous. We are united, and it's very good because in a way it's good that his happened. Now we know who is who, and we have to clear the situation once and for all.

LEWIS: And so you used the word snake. Just explain what you mean in that context.

CEFERIN: I don't know if it would be a true emotional expression, but a snake means that you don't know that it's hiding somewhere and then it bites when you don't expect it. So, we didn't know. You know, it's very hard to believe that somebody looks into your eyes 20 times and says, everything is fine. It's all a lie, knowing that he is lying.

It's really hard to understand. I was -- I was surprised, as I said before, you know, I was a criminal lawyer for years and I've met many tricky people that I even represented, but I have never seen something like that. Ethics doesn't exist in this group.

LEWIS: There's also cynic out there, Mr. President who think the game was never pure. But why would you see yourself as a better person to run football than a Florentino Perez or the people in charge of the European Super League?

CEFERIN: Look, I don't think it's about me or Florentino Perez. I'm a football administrator and I have to know all the time that football is about football players and about fans, not about me. But you know the difference between UEFA and this -- it's hard for me to call it Super League, because it's all but super.

UEFA redistributes 86 to 89 percent of all the money back to the grassroots, to the youth football, to women's football. We have a great foundation for children that helps all around the world.

[03:25:08]

We build at pitches around the world to help children. We are developing football. We are not a profit organization. And you know, I'm fighting here but my situation would not change. With this so called, or self-proclaimed Super League, it's all about money. Profits, taking money, not sharing with anyone. And they don't know anything about solidarity. They are -- they are shameless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS (on camera): Now, Rosemary, what happens next? Well you may have heard the reference to a chap called Florentino Perez during Mr. Ceferin's words there. He is the president of Real Madrid, and he will now be the guy running the Super League.

And what he has said overnight, and I mentioned before, this is a developing story. He has said that players competing in the Super League will not be thrown out of international competition. That is at odds with what Mr. Ceferin was telling me yesterday. The next step is that he will have talks with lawyers today. He is a lawyer himself, as he said, to ensure, if he can, that all the players taking part in the Super League are not allowed to compete in any UEFA competition which could mean this summer's European championships, it could get ugly still what he's faced. CHURCH: Yes. Absolutely. And you really get this sense of betrayal

that's being felt by the UEFA president. Extraordinary interview there. Darren Lewis, many thanks. I appreciate it.

LEWIS: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, after a record-breaking one million cases in five days, parts of India including the capital, are now under lockdown. We will have more on the desperate search for oxygen and hospital beds.

Plus, we'll look at the effects of tightened COVID restrictions in Thailand as the country deals with a third wave.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Russia has moved opposition leader Alexei Navalny to a prison hospital. A supporter say his health is failing. Navalny started a hunger strike three weeks ago demanding to see his own doctor. His press secretary says he is at risk of kidney failure and heart problems. Russian prison officials saying Navalny has been prescribed vitamin therapy and is in satisfactory condition.

Well joining me from London, Bill Browder is the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and the head of the Global Magnitsky Justice campaign. Thank you so much for talking with us.

[03:30:00]

BILL BROWDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT (on camera): Great to be here.

CHURCH: So, Navalny has been move to a prison hospital as he continues his hunger strike. But while Russia plays down any health concerns Navalny's lawyer says his condition is deteriorating and only getting worse. How worried would President Vladimir Putin be about the situation right now do you think?

BROWDER: Well, President Putin is in a terrible situation of his own making. Alexei Navalny is effectively made him hostage in the situation. Because Vladimir Putin can't in his own mind, he know in his own eyes, cannot look weak in front of the Russian people, because he is afraid of other people like Alexei Navalny in taking over his power.

And so, he kind of can't back down in his own mind, and at the same time if he doesn't back down and if Alexei Navalny comes to die there will be unbelievable consequences both inside and outside of Russia for Navalny's death. And so, Putin is really stuck in a terrible place and Alexei Navalny is probably, if things don't change going to die.

CHURCH: That is a real concern. I mean, of course Navalny situation along with the expulsion of Russian spies and the Czech Republic as further isolated Russia. The U.S. as we know is warning of consequences if Navalny should die in Russian custody. You have said that you are very concerned and you seem to think that that is a likelihood. So, what with those consequences be do you think?

BROWDER: Well, first of all, I should say that there should be consequences now. Not after. He's being tortured. They tried to kill him with Novichok eight months ago. They arrested him for violating parole because he was in a coma, recovering from his Novichok poisoning. So, there should be consequences now and very serious consequences now.

But the policy tool that the west can use is something called the MagNitsky Act. It is named after my lawyers Sergei MagNitsky, who died in prison in Russia in very similar circumstances. Where he was sick, denied him medical attention, they tortured him and they killed him. And there is now this legislation, Magnistky Act, which imposes -- these are sanctions and (inaudible) for human rights violators and (inaudible). And Alexei Navalny made it very clear before he went back to Russia that if anything were to happen to him he gave a list of 35 people for Putin's cashier, he's (inaudible), the people who look after Putin's money.

And that list, the 35 people is in the hands of U.S. government, the E.U., the Canadian government and the British government. Now I believe that all of those governments should use the MagNitsky act right now and sanction the first five people on the list that show Putin that we are all serious.

And if more bad stuff happens to Navalny, then another five, and then another five, because Putin only responds to real consequences. Words mean anything. Putin is only worried about the real adverse effects of him for his actions. And that is I think the policy that should be used.

CHURCH: Right and of course we don't know what consequences the U.S. is specifically referring to there. But why would Joe Biden be talking about having summits in third countries with the Russian president when we are looking at a situation like this? As you say Navalny was poisoned. And now he is dying in a prison hospital. So, why is the U.S. talking but not taking any action?

BROWDER: Well, Putin has been -- he's a very clever man and he has manipulated the situation. And as you have probably seen in the midst of this slow motion assassination of Navalny, Russia has amassed 160,000 troops on the Ukraine border and he's done that specifically and clearly as a distraction and as a negotiating ploy. And it has worked. Because at the same time as we are all just in terror about what's happening to Navalny, the United States and other governments are saying, oh my God, Russia is going to invade Ukraine.

And so we are saying we need a summit to de-escalate and prevent them from invading. And Putin is just playing us like nothing. And this is how he operates. And so, I mean, yes, we don't want Russia to invade Ukraine, but it is a separate issue. Navalny is a separate issue. He is the main opposition candidate to Vladimir Putin and Putin is torturing him and assassinating him in slow motion.

[03:35:02]

CHURCH: In front of the whole world. Bill Browder, thank you so much for talking with us. We do appreciate it.

BROWDER: Thank you.

CHURCH (on camera): Well, Pakistan's government and protesters from a far-right Islamist Party have agreed to ask parliament to expel the French ambassador. The move comes after violent clashes led to the deaths of four policemen. The Party had called for businesses and transportation to shut down in what have been called anti blasphemy protests. But Pakistan's interior minister says the TLP has agreed to call off demonstrations.

Ties between powers in Islamabad have taken a hit since the end of last year. It is linked to president -- French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Macron paid tribute to a history teacher who was murdered for showing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

Well, global COVID cases have climbed for an eight straight week, despite vaccinations picking up worldwide. The World Health Organization says more than 5.2 million cases were reported around the globe in the last seven days. The most in one single week. With an alarming rise among younger adults. And deaths increased as well for the fifth straight week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: It took nine months to reach 1 million deaths. Four months to reach two million. And three months to reach three million deaths. Big numbers can make us numb. But each one of these is a tragedy for families, communities and nations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): And India is seeing a terrifying surge in COVID cases. The country is now reporting a sixth consecutive day of more than 200,000 new cases. And the government is limiting election rallies to 500 people after coming under fire. The capital in New Delhi is under lockdown, joining at least 13 other states imposing restrictions and curfews. The health care system is crumbling with a shortage of ICU beds, oxygen and key medicines. But all adults will be eligible for the COVID vaccine from May 1st.

CNN's Vedika Sud has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (voice over): Bodies piling up in crematoriums. Graveyards running out of space. Hospitals filled to the breaking point. Some patients left with no choice but to share a bed. Dozens are being treated in ambulances. India known as a powerhouse for vaccines some states say they are running low on supplies.

India's health care system is collapsing under the crush of COVID-19. Dr. Jalil Parkar is a frontline worker in a top Mumbai hospital that had to convert it's lift lobby into an additional COVID-19 ward. Parkar says there's an overwhelming increase in cases and patients. JALIL PARKAR, SENIOR PULMONARY CONSULTANT, LILAVATI HOSPITAL: The

volume is humongous. It is just like a tsunami or I can say more than a tsunami.

SUD: Thousands have taken to social media desperately looking for beds. Oxygen supplies and medicines, all of which are running out. Ignoring the alarming surge millions attended the Kumbh Mela festival, one of the largest festivals in the world. Despite strict guidelines and a truncated schedule thousands of devotees have tested positive in India's northern city, (inaudible).

AMBRISH MITHAL, CHAIRMAN AND HEAD OF ENDOCRINOLOGY, MAX HEALTHCARE: On the one hand we are struggling to increase beds increase oxygen supplies, increased drug supplies to those who need them to save lives. On the other hand, we have gatherings all across.

SUD: Festival patrons are finally moving out after a belated appeal by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even after surpassing 200,000 new daily cases, all politicians across party lines had been sending a mixed message by campaigning for state elections with thousands in attendance. People queuing up to vote floating basic safety guidelines. Migrant workers are fleeing big cities after local governments announced partial lockdowns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everything is shut. How do we earn to survive? We'll come back once things are better.

SUD: This deadly second wave has India facing a health emergency like never before. Many are asking, did India let down its guard? Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH (on camera): And like India, Thailand is also struggling with another wave of infections. Cases dipped slightly on Monday after days of record highs with strict new measures now in place.

[03:40:08]

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Bangkok. Good to see you, Paula. So, Thailand experiencing this third wave of cases right now. What is the government doing to try to control this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Rosemary, there is a number of things that the government has put in place and while this is the worst outbreak that we have seen in this country since the pandemic began, it is of course all relative, nothing like what we've been seeing in India for example. More than 1,400 cases were reported for Monday. It's been up to more than 1,700.

But what the government is doing at this point is they say with these latest outbreaks started in the entertainment district. So, that was the first area that they shut down. Bars, nightclubs, massage parlors, all ordered to close. Restaurants close early, they are not allowed to sell alcohol. And schools for example, they are now having in-person -- sorry not

in-person classes, they are now having online classes for school children. Really trying to keep people at home. They are also asking many people to work from home not that is mandatory but they are asking Thais to do that. And we are seeing a much quieter situation on the streets of Bangkok. So, it really doesn't appear as though people are heeding the advice to stay home.

Now, also they are putting plans in place because hospital beds are filling up. For example, a couple of days ago, we went to a sporting arena on the outskirts of Bangkok. And it has been converted into a field hospital. They can have about 500 COVID patients in that one facility alone.

And we know that this is being replicated across the country. So they are hoping to have more than 20,000 extra field hospital beds. Some hotels they're going to use as hospitals as well. Just for the asymptomatic patients to try and ease the pressure on the country's health care.

CHURCH: Alright. Many thanks to our Paula Hancocks bringing us that live report. I appreciate it.

Well, the Europeans medicine agency will rule later today on the safety of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. It has been put on hold in the U.S. and Europe over concerns of rare but severe blood clots. Last week vaccine advisers to the U.S. CDC said they needed more information before making any decisions about the J&J vaccine. The European Union authorized it for use on March 11th, but the rollout there has yet to begin.

Well, coming up next on CNN Newsroom as the global economy recovers oil prices are climbing as well. The concerns remain over the third wave of the COVID pandemic in parts of the world. Back with that in just a moment.

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CHURCH: A suspected poacher was trampled to death by a herd of elephants. It happened Saturday in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

[03:45:04]

The country's parks department says three suspected poachers were attempting to flee park rangers when they ran into a breeding herd of elephants. Authorities found one suspect badly trampled and he later died from his injuries. They arrested a second suspect and they're searching for the third.

Oil prices climbed on Monday supported by a weekend U.S. dollar. Brent Crude is above $67 a barrel. While West Texas Intermedia is around $64 a barrel. Analyst say, the biggest threat to continuing oil price strength would be large-scale new waves of the coronavirus causing demand to tumble again. The international energy agency raised expectations for the recovery in oil demand last week as the world economy continues to recover from the pandemic.

Emerging markets editor, John Defterios is live for us in Abu Dhabi to put all of this into perspective. John, good to see you. So, prices had run higher now, but what did it take to get this recovery in place and can it hold?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (on camera): Yes, these are key questions, Rosemary. It was a painful pandemic for the oil industry, a shock like no other. And in fact this is the one year anniversary when we went negative, if you will.

Let's bring up the charts here and that shocked that we saw, at least for 24 hours ago, below zero dollars a barrel on the WTI. The U.S. benchmark itself. And then to see it go all the way up above $60 a barrel, as for zero to 60 in year is pretty impressive. But it was -- it took a lot of work, let's put it that way, Rosemary.

The OPEC Plus producers, led by Saudi Arabia, Russia, major (inaudible) like the UAE, Nigeria, Iraq had to slash almost 10 percent of supplies. Normally they kind of tinker on the edges, maybe at 1 percent, but this was radical, because we saw demands in some markets around the world, Rosemary.

Because the airline travel grounded to a halt. We saw road transport drop significantly. Shifts were not going out of the volumes that they were before. As we dropped a 20 to 30 percent. So, it led to that response by OPEC players, but what is interesting is that there is still cutting. They don't feel overly confident in what's going to happen in the second half of the year.

So the deepest cuts were nearly 10 million barrels a day, were hovering around 7 million barrels a day, Rosemary. They have eaten up the glut, but they are being very tentative on when to put more and more oil back on the market. They are putting 2 million barrels a day between May and July. But that still not a complete recovery in the works here, despite what the IEA was suggesting.

CHURCH: Yes. And John, how does the third wave of the pandemic play into this and of course, the move to renewable energy by the Biden administration?

DEFTERIOS: Yes. I think editorially, I like to call it the very tricky window. How to manage both those forces. Number one, the European Union eats up about 20 percent of daily supplies which are hovering 100 million barrels a day, prior to the pandemic. So, 20 percent of that comes from the E.U. alone.

Then you add India, which has saw that case load surge to 1.5 million of the last week. It imports almost 5 million barrels a day or about 5 percent of supplies. So, 25 percent is kind of in jeopardy, because of the third wave of the pandemic. And you bring a fantastic point on up here, Rosemary.

Because, where in the midst of this transition and we have the weight of the U.S. administration saying, we are going to invest $2 trillion to move out of oil and gas and into the renewable sector. And if you have demand of about 100 million barrels a day pre-pandemic to hit the targets for co2 emissions for the Paris climate agreement you need to get down to 30 million barrels. So, something radical is going to happen, we just don't know how fast, Rosemary.

CHURCH: A lot going on there. John Defterios bringing us the very latest from Abu Dhabi, many thanks.

Well, coming up a red letter day for NASA on the Red Plane. The ingenuity helicopter takes flight on Mars. How they did it and what's next, that's when we come back.

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CHURCH (on camera): Volcanic eruption on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent are now affecting air quality in the region. Sulfur dioxide from the La Soufriere volcano has spread across the Caribbean and parts of South America after the latest eruption on Sunday. The volcano has covered much of the island and ash and caused widespread power outages. The U.N. has released $1 million to help in the emergency response.

Well, it was a dream come true for NASA engineers. The Ingenuity helicopter rose above the Martian surface, Monday and flew. It was short and sweet less than a minute. NASA will raise the bar in Ingenuity's next flight and they fully expect the little gut to crash up there. But as Michael Holmes shows us right now they are thrilled.

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UNKNOWN: We can say that human beings have now flown a rotor craft on another planet.

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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is the little helicopter with a very big mission. NASA's mini chopper named Ingenuity became the first aircraft to achieve powered controlled flight on another planet.

MIMI AUNG, INGENUITY PROJECT MANAGER, NASA: Beyond this first flight, over the next coming days, we have up to four flights planned and increasingly difficult flights challenging flights. And we are going to continually push all the way to the limit of this rotor craft.

HOLMES: A short hop that is the combination of many hits and misses. Ingenuity has so vast survive the frigid Martian nights after separating from the Perseverance Rover. Relying on its solar powered batteries to fire up internal heaters, but an initial spin test to its rotors delayed as schedule flight attempt due to problems with the timer.

NASA says the helicopter later successfully completed the tests spinning it blades at 2400 revolutions per minute. The speed it needs to take off. Scientist say having a bird's eye view of the terrain could revolutionized the way we study new planets.

MICHAEL WATKINS, DIRECTOR, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, NASA: What the Ingenuity team has done, has given us the third dimension. They freed us from the surface now and forever in planetary explorations so that we can now make a combination, a course to our driving on the surface and doing reconnaissance on inaccessible places for our rover.

HOLMES: Flying on the red planet presented some difficult engineering challenges, because of the low gravity of Mars and an atmosphere that is 1 percent the density of earth. NASA engineer sent along a good luck charm attached to Ingenuity is a piece of fabric from the wing of the Wright brother's flyer which carried the first powered controlled flight on earth. Michael Holmes, CNN.

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CHURCH (on camera): Joining me now, Josh Ravich, Ingenuity's mechanical engineering lead at jet propulsion laboratory. And he joins me now. Great to have you with us.

JOSH RAVICH, INGENUITY'S MECHANICAL ENGINEERING LEAD, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY (on camera): It's great to be here, thank you so much for having me.

CHURCH: And first of all, congratulations. How does it feel to make history completing the first helicopter flight on Mars?

RAVICH: Thank you so much. You know, I don't know if I fully process the emotions yet, it's been a long day. Maybe tomorrow will be better, but yes, I mean, it feels great. The team has been working for years towards to this moment. And now it's here, so, yeah, I don't know how can really can get too much better.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. I mean, six years in the making. It's incredible, the world got to see images of this historic flight. 180 million miles away, captured on camera by the nearby rover. Showing the nearly 40 second flight, the helicopter hovering about what 10 (inaudible) or around three meters then landing and Ingenuities camera captured its own shadow on the surface of Mars. What was the most exciting moments of this history making event for you?

RAVICH: Well, I mean, besides successfully taking off and landing. Actually that shadow was kind of a surprise to us. You know, we flew at, you know, mid day, I think 12:30 Martian time and you know, we are just amazed. We haven't really seen that shadow in any testing just because, you know, we tests indoors or you know, not at the right time of the day.

[03:55:08]

And just to see that there -- it was very shocking and really quite stunning in a way.

CHURCH: And when look at all of those pictures, certainly from the rover, when you're looking at the helicopter and you get that expanse of the surface of Mars, what are you thinking when you look there? What are you looking for?

RAVICH: Gosh, I don't know, I mean it's just -- yes, so vast, it's almost familiar in a way but very different in a way. And to see a lonely little ingenuity out there. It kind of been dwarf by the landscape. I mean, it's amazing. As far as what the mission is looking for, you know, of course the ability to see the ground, sense the ground, avoid all the rocks you see in those images, luckily we did quite well.

CHURCH: And the four more chopper flights are planned, right? So, what is expected of Ingenuity for those flights and what is the end goal here?

RAVICH: Yes, so, the next few flights, flights two and three are going to be kind of pushing -- pushing what we did today, a little bit further. So, go up to instead of three meters height, about five meters height. For flight three, we might translate a bit further off, you know, maybe a few tens of meters down range and then come back.

Then flights four and five are actually a little bit in the air right now. We are trying to figure out if we can, you know, really push the limits of all the vehicles. So we're looking at things like how high can we fly? How fast can we fly? How far can we fly? Some of that is going to really -- be decided after flight's two and three are done.

And the end goal for this mission, of course is to get that engineering data to really, you know, validate our models and simulations on earth. To see, well, can we actually operate a vehicle successfully in the Martian environment? And that feeds forward into, you know, future missions, whether they were manned missions, robotic missions, scouting ahead for terrain you know as well.

Assessing difficult to reach places down ravines, cliff walls, mountains, you know places you can't go with a rover human. You can do some science there, we can do you know, exploration, you know, it is a lot of possibility for the future.

CHURCH: It is extraordinary. And as you are speaking to us, of course, we are looking at the images there, and still trying to wrap my head around the 180 million miles away that you can sort of see in these images. Just extraordinary. Josh Ravich, Ingenuity's mechanical engineering lead at NASA's jet propulsion laboratory, thank you so much for joining us and congratulations again.

RAVICH: Thank you.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church, I'll be back with more news in a moment.

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