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Indonesia Narrows Search For Missing Submarine; Alexei Navalny Ends Hunger Strike; U.S. To Resume Use Of J&J Vaccine With Warning. Aired 12-12:15a ET

Aired April 24, 2021 - 00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello everyone, welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I am Michael Holmes, appreciate your company.

Military search teams in Indonesia, zeroing in on where they think a submarine went missing on Wednesday is likely located. They are also analyzing an underwater magnetic object, they say, may have come from the vessel.

It is now been hours since the submarine's oxygen supply, likely, would have run out. But despite diminishing chances of survival for the 53 crew members, Indonesian officials have been encouraging people to remain optimistic. Ivan Watson, with the latest.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A desperate search off the coast of Indonesia, an armada of ships, hunting for a lost submarine and its 53 crew members.

This was the Indonesian Navy submarine in happier times, a diesel electric vessel, manufactured in Germany, in the 970s. Indonesian authorities say the last contact was before a predawn dive in the Bali Strait on Wednesday. The submarine, conducting naval exercises, firing torpedoes, when it went quiet.

The Indonesian Navy says it has at least 21 ships, now scouring the area for signs of the submarine. That fleet, bolstered by ships from Australia, India, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as U.S. aircraft.

ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: At the request of the Indonesian government, we are sending airborne assets to include Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol craft to assist in the search of their missing submarine.

Secretary Austin spoke to the minister of defense in Indonesia today, to ensure that he knew that this aircraft was coming and also to make an offer for any other additional support or assistance that the Indonesian government may have.

WATSON (voice-over): Experts in submarine rescue worry that the sub has not sent any distress signals.

ESPEN ENGEBRETSEN, INTERNATIONAL SUBMARINE ESCAPE AND RESCUE LIAISON OFFICE: Obviously, I'm quite concerned that the situation is very serious. And it is very difficult for the Indonesian Navy authorities to handle this.

The search process of a submarine is, obviously, very difficult. Submarines are, obviously, designed to not be found. So we stress that when something that does not respond or does not release signals, it's hard to localize.

WATSON (voice-over): An Indonesian naval spokesperson estimates that they would've only had 72 hours' worth of air for its crew, Indonesian officials say. They spotted an oil slick which, they suspect, came from the submarine. They have detected an object with strong magnetic resonance below.

On shore, family members of the crew conduct an agonizing vigil, desperate for news of their missing loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hopefully he is safe, my husband and all of the other crew members who are there can reunite with their family. Until now, there is no official news.

WATSON (voice-over): Indonesia's president is calling for people to pray for the 53 crew members aboard the missing submarine -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOLMES: Alexei Navalny says he has ended his weeks-long hunger strike amid concerns he was nearing death. The imprisoned Russian opposition leader, still is, not satisfied with the treatment he has received. Fred Pleitgen, now with details of Navalny's announcement and what lies ahead for him.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alexei Navalny essentially said there was 2 main reasons why he is ending his hunger strike. On the one, hand he said in a post on his Instagram account, that he believes that public pressure here, in Russia and indeed, from around the world, made it possible for him to be seen by independent doctors.

He said, there were two visits, two independent doctors and they essentially surveyed his condition. His doctors then, frankly, told him that he was going to die if he would continue his hunger strike. They said, there were already symptoms of possible kidney failure, there were neurological issues and possible heart failure in the future as well, if he continued his hunger strike.

So he did say that was, certainly, something that played into his decision. On the other hand, he also said that the public support was, really, something that moved him. There was even an organization here in Russia that went on a hunger strike, in solidarity, with Alexei Navalny.

He said that was, certainly, something that, as he put, moved him to tears and that he simply didn't want other people to suffer, simply because he is suffering, well and Russian incarceration.


PLEITGEN: Navalny did, say he does still want better medical attention and one of the things he said, right here, is, "I do not withdraw the requirement to admit the necessary doctor to me. I am losing sensitivity in parts of my arms and legs and I want to understand what it is and how to treat it.

"But taking into account the progress and all the circumstances, I'm starting to get out of the hunger strike."

Navalny added, he believed it would take time to get out of the hunger strike. He believes around 24 days, which is also the amount of days he's been in the hunger strike, simply, because he needs to get used to, again, taking in food and certainly, solid food as well.

Now all of this comes in one week, when tens of thousands of people took the streets, both in the Russian capital but of other cities, here, in Russia in solidarity with Alexei Navalny and, of course, especially the way he's being treated by Russian authorities, of course, being incarcerated in that jail, about three hours outside of Moscow -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.



HOLMES: Turning our attention to India, caught in the grip of a second coronavirus wave that is wreaking havoc on its medical system. With oxygen to treat patients in drastic short supply, India says it will import oxygen from Germany.

It's expected to arrive within one week. This, as officials say, a hospital fire in western India killed 15 COVID patients. Initial reports blame the fire on a short circuit in an ICU air conditioning unit.

Just two days earlier, 24 patients died at another hospital. Anna Coren, tracking developments, working live from Hong Kong.

Tell us about the severity of this oxygen shortage and the impact of it.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, simply, it is catastrophic. There has just been a tweet from a major hospital in Delhi. This is what hospitals are having to resort to. Going on social media, pleading for help and not just private citizens but major hospitals. Let me read you this tweet. It was issued an hour ago.

"We have less than two hours of oxygen supply. We are desperate and tried all members of local officials but are unable to connect. However, 135 COVID-19 patients with many on life support."

This is a major hospital in New Delhi. You can only imagine the situation in other cities and towns around the country where there is this acute shortage of oxygen supply. Now India, it is one of the largest producers of industrial and medical oxygen. What it is lacking is the cylinders to get the oxygen from the factory, to these hospitals.

It also lacks the transport, the infrastructure. This is where India is, seriously, suffering.

The numbers speak for themselves. We are expecting further numbers in the next few minutes from the health ministry. Yesterday, a new record for India and the world, 330,000 daily infections. More than 330,000 daily infections and more than 2200 deaths. According to all of the experts, Michael, that number is only going to rise.

Half of the cases, we understand, in Delhi, patients are testing positive to mutations, this variant that was detected in India, also seem to be targeting younger people. We know that various countries, around the, world have canceled flights from India. The fear that this is going to spread.

This is obviously a catastrophe for India but the fear is, this could also set back all of the progress that many countries around the world have also done, if these mutations and variants, that are suddenly appearing in India spread around the world -- Michael.

HOLMES: A virus that does not know borders. Anna Coren, in Hong Kong, appreciate it.

Parts of western Australia, now in a three-day lockdown. Perth and the Peel region to the south of the capital, entering lockdown after 2 people tested positive for the virus. That led to long grocery lines, that you can see at store like that.

Residents, only allowed out for the essentials and must now wear masks in public once again. The lockdown, remaining in place until midnight, Monday night.

A White House official says, the U.S. has 9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, ready to go, after the government, on Friday, lifted a temporary pause in its use.

The suspension was put into place amid reports of a rare type of blood clots in a few patients who receive the shot. Johnson and Johnson says, it now has updated its vaccine label to include a blood clot warning.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, European drug regulator backing continued use of AstraZeneca vaccine. That shot had faced similar scrutiny as well as the Johnson & Johnson one, after several reports of blood clots. Melissa Bell, with more from Paris.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The European Medicines Agency, believes that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks. Confusion welcomed by the European Commission today, said that the AstraZeneca vaccine was an important part of the portfolio. The commission, also announcing that it was on target to meet its vaccination deadlines by this summer.

It says, there is now 2.5 million injections, being given every day in the European Union and that the pace of its vaccine rollout has been improved. The commission, also saying, the proportion of people in Europe have had at least one dose of vaccine, now, just over 24 percent. Fully vaccinated, just over 9 percent.

Here in France, meanwhile, the numbers continue to improve. Ever so slightly, the French prime minister says, he believes the peak of the third wave is now behind us. Some loosening of internal travel restrictions and early May.

Germany, meanwhile, a controversial law will come into force on Saturday, allowing the government to impose lockdowns on states where the incidence rates are too high. Until now, it was down to state leaders to decide that. The figures in Germany, continuing to rise slightly, although authorities say, they are now likely not rising as fast as they were -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


HOLMES: President Biden, closing out his two-day climate summit with a message of economic prosperity if the global community shifts from fossil fuels, to renewable energy in the years ahead.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today's final session is not about the threat that climate change poses, it is about the opportunity that addressing climate change provides. It is an opportunity to create millions of good paying jobs around the world.


The president, also said the tackling the climate crisis can lead to greater international cooperation. He noted Russia's willingness to work with the U.S. on cera 2 (ph) removal, despite differences on other issues.

We have been watching the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, now in orbit, as it prepares to dock with the international Space Center. The Endeavor capsules, launched on Friday, picture perfect. Later, its 4 astronauts had an unexpected close encounter, a possible collision with a piece of space debris, as the crew is getting ready to sleep.

SpaceX says, the astronauts put on their spacesuits out of, quote, "an abundance of caution." Turns, out the unknown object was further away than thought. We have live coverage of the docking, that will be in about 5 hours or so, from now. I'm Michael Holmes, stay tuned for "MARKETPLACE AFRICA," I will see

you here in a bit.