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India Reports Dip in New Cases for First Time in a Week; Indian-Born Microsoft, Google CEOs Pledge to Aid India; Latin America Facing Shortage of COVID Vaccines; Russia Suspends Political Movement of Kremlin Critic Navalny; U.K. Start up Makes Virtual Train Station to Study Behavior; Testing Tokyo's Olympic Readiness; India's S.O.S. to the World; Myanmar Military Accused of Beatings, Torture in Crackdown; New Report Slams Israeli Treatment of Palestinians. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 27, 2021 - 01:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from studio 7 at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta.

At this hour, the international response to India's distress call. Overwhelmed with a catastrophic surge of the coronavirus, India's outbreak is driving COVID numbers worldwide to new highs.

The cavalry (ph) just is not coming. A crackdown by Myanmar's military goes unchecked, and CNN reports on the brutal tactics being used on unarmed civilians.

Plus, Human Rights Watch makes the case that Israel's treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid. The Israeli say it's all legal, fiction mixed with false accusations.


VAUSE: The spread of new COVID infections in India remains totally high, for the 6th straight, more than 300,000 cases were reported in just 24 hours. Compared to a day earlier which is a record high, the numbers are down slightly by almost 30,000. But so many new cases looking to overwhelmed hospitals which being forced to turn patients away because of shortage of beds, ventilators, medical supplies.

But the most serious problem right now is the lack of oxygen. On Monday, which just 40 minutes before supplies were exhausted, one hospital issued a desperate plea for help on Twitter. And a new prediction model for the University of Washington believes the outbreak could still be weeks away from peaking, and says by the middle of next month, India's daily death toll could be four times higher than it is right now, more than 13,000 dead each day.

Right now, there are so many dead bodies, many have been left the streets. Crematoriums are struggling to keep up.

We begin our coverage with CNN's Vedika Sud


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: These raging fires will continue all day through the evening, the surge in cases have been so much that there are waiting literally for these bodies to be put on the fire by family members. There's a queue outside, just waiting for the final rites to end for a family member who has died of COVID-19.

Body after body being brought into this crematorium in India's national capital in New Delhi, that has seen a huge surge, not only in cases but in fatalities as well. Family members pulling out body such as this one from ambulances, lined up in this crematorium ground and taking them for cremation. They've grown up these people, they live with them and now it's time to say their final goodbye.

NEERAJ PAL, NEPHEW (through translator): My uncle died at about 11:15 pm on April 24th. The hospital didn't inform us, when they called the help desk, we were told he was no more.

SUD: One of the most heartbreaking scenes I witnessed was when a 27 - year-old was picking up the ashes of his 49-year-old mother. His brother is still in hospital, recovering from COVID-19 while his father has just got home, after recovering from infection.

I'm standing right behind another crematorium, this time in South Delhi. What you can see it is above 50 people at work here. Then trying to get hundred platforms ready, this is going to be a makeshift crematorium because of the increase, the exponential increase in fatalities we believe that this makeshift crematorium should be ready in the days to come.

I'm standing outside of COVID emergency ward at a top hospital in New Delhi. It is here that a lot of people have been coming, and almost begging for beds and oxygen for their loved ones. If you look at all these cars starting from here, almost a dozen of them parked right outside this emergency ward. They are asking just for beds and oxygen, which they have been denied.

As of now, because there are no beds available, according to officials inside this hospital, they all have old people here, old women, old men, they're even younger people who are gasping for breath in these cars. They're just winning for the one lucky moment where they get a bet inside this facility.

SONIKA BABBAR, DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 PATIENT: I brought my father, here there are no beds, there are people in the corridors lying on the floor. The very first portion says, the PCR test, what is the infection rate? Am I getting oxygen cylinder? For which I wasn't aware of. I thought this is what the hospital would provide.

SUD: Relatives of patients suffering from COVID-19 have been waiting for ambulances also to take them home, but these ambulances have been so busy getting patients here out of crematoriums that has been extremely difficult for them to get the sick ones home after being denied a bed. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.



VAUSE: Hundreds of health workers from the WHO are now being sent to India, so too critical medical supplies.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The situation India is beyond heartbreaking. The WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals, and laboratory supplies.


VAUSE: And international efforts are now underway with much needed oxygen and other medical supplies on their way.

CNN's Ivan Watson has that part of the story.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A lifeline has just arrived in this hospital in India. A tanker filled with oxygen pulls through the gate to replenish the taps. The scale of the need across the country for a life-saving supplies like this is breathless.

DR. SHARAT, CASUALTY MEDICAL OFFICER, PENTAMED HOSPITAL: We need oxygen immediately. Persons are wondering here and there for oxygen, but there is no help.

WATSON: Health facilities say they are in beg and borrow mode to keep the oxygen flowing, along with other critical supplies. Two hospitals in New Delhi tweeted over the weekend, there were less than two hours from running out of oxygen.

The military now stepping in, saying it will release oxygen to hospitals from Armed Forces Reserves. And retired medical military personnel will provide relief to the country's overburdened doctors and nurses.

One of India's top health official says, fear is driving some people to hoard essential drugs, and rushed to the hospital even if they have mild symptoms.

RANCEEP GULERIA, DIRECTOR, ALL MEDIA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES (through translator): There is an unnecessary panic among the public, and it is causing more harm than good. Anyone who is COVID positive even if their saturation is normal and they have no symptoms. They panicked. WATSON: But for many, people watching their loved ones gasping for breath and being turned away from treatment facilities, that are out of space, out of supplies, these are desperate times.

ANIMESH KUMAR, RELATIVE OF PATIENT (through translator): This hospital is not admitting him either. Oxygen in the ambulance is running out. We're standing here without oxygen, and a patient in the middle of the road without any hope.

WATSON: Dire circumstances that it caught the world's attention. Countries like the U.K., Ireland, Germany, and Saudi Arabia are sending aid, along with the U.S. which announced it would partially lift a ban on exporting raw materials for vaccines, which should help India ramp up production of its COVID shield vaccine, and more options could be on the way.

The U.S. said Monday, it plans to share its stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


WATSON: Former U.S. President Barack Obama says he's appalled by the heartbreaking violence against civilians in Myanmar. In a statement posted on Twitter, Obama said he supported efforts by the Biden administration and other countries to sanctions Myanmar's military. Obama lifted a trade embargo and most sanctions when the military began a transition to democracy, a decade ago. Now many of the sanctions are back in place.

Myanmar human rights organization says more than 700 people have died since the February 1st coup. Around 3,500 -- 3,400 have been detained. The military accuses beatings and torture so severe, at least one detainee wish for death.

CNN's Clarissa Ward visited Myanmar earlier this morning, and this is her report. And a warning, it contains some graphic images.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They gather outside the prison every day, mostly parents, desperately hoping for a glimpse of their children, proof that they are still alive.

They know that behind these walls, Myanmar's military junta is engaging in unspeakable cruelty against those who dare against democracy.

Now, in hiding, this 19-year-old is brave enough to share his story with us. He says he was detained after being stopped by soldiers who found photos of him at protest on his phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we got there, the commander tied my hands behind my back and used to small scissors to cut my ears, tip of my nose, my neck, and my throat. Then he let his fellow soldiers beating up that night.

WARD: He shares photos of the abuse, his back lacerated from whippings with a cable wire, his face swollen from endless strikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I even told him to kill me instead of torture me, it was that painful.


WARD: Myanmar's junta shows no shame about its cruelty, on state television. It proudly displays images of those arrested for so-called terrorist activity.

The face of this 31-year-old dance teacher is barely recognizable. Family members say, this is what she looked like before the beatings.

From the safety of neighboring India, this 23-year-old army cadet says the soldiers were only allowed to watch state TV. We have agreed not to reveal his identity for his protection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They tried to brainwash us. There are soldiers who only believed what the commanders told them. They don't think.

WARD: Two years into his military career, he decided to defect, haunted by the military's brutality after the coup. Every night he says they would set out on raids, armed with assault rifles and the names of protest leaders given by their informants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At one point, we went to arrest two leaders, one got arrested and one was trying to escape and we shot him on the spot. We were ordered to shoot when they escaped.

WARD: That night, he claimed he potentially broke his rifle so it wouldn't fire. But says, it was the cruelty to the families of the protesters that finally broke him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were crying when we raided their houses and beat them. The neighbors knew too, but no one dared to come out at night.

If someone was looking at us through their windows, we told them to come out and beat them too. The youngest when I saw, was around 10 or 11 years old, a boy.

WARD: Despite the ferocity have and the military is crackdown, Myanmar's pro-democracy movement is still very much alive. The young protesters ordeal lasted 3 long days, during the endless beatings he says he had one focus, staying alive so that he could protest once again.

Clarissa Ward, CNN.


VAUSE: Former U.S. Congressman Tom Andrews is the U.S. special rapporteur on Myanmar. He is with us this hour from Washington.

Mr. Andrews, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: You know, we just heard Clarissa Ward reporting from Myanmar, that many there are desperate for the world to know what's happening. It seems that the world is well aware, but many countries just don't care.

Here's the prime minister of Malaysia speaking after ASEAN leaders met with Myanmar's new military dictator. Here he is.


MUHYIDDIN YASSIN, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We tried not to accuse his side too much, because we don't care who is causing it. We just stressed that the violence must stop. But he agreed that the violence must stop. For him, it's the other side that's causing the problems. If that's the case, we hope that he will find a way to stop it.


VAUSE: Almost sounds like a license to whatever they, want when you put it another way. Just because the prime minister doesn't care, it doesn't mean he doesn't understand.

ANDREWS: Well, that's right and it's just absolutely remarkable to hear him say that, and, of course, it's controversial obviously. You have someone like him, even in attendance. But, you know, someone from ASEAN, they say, look, we need to talk, at least we have to engage.

And law enforcement officials will say, you know, you may not like a person, but if they're holding somebody hostage or a group hostage, you sometimes have to talk to them. In this case, Min Aung Hlaing is holding 54 million people hostage. And so, the idea is to try and do anything to move the needle as it were.

I think clearly, the proof in this excessiveness is not going to be in the document for the piece of paper that was timely consensus, but what happens on the streets of Myanmar, and if in fact the killing stops, if in fact the terror of the neighborhood stops if indeed the abductions stop, and people are released. Only then will we know if this event was a success.

VAUSE: This generation of protesters in Myanmar had been using social media to express anger at the military. That frustration now seems to be directed at the U.N. There was this tweet which got some hits on Twitter. Just 700 people killed in 70 days, take your time U.N. We've still got millions left.

Is that where right now? This sort of niqab calculation that it's all about the body count, right now, the Biden camp is insufficient. And if that's the case, what does it have to be, 7,000, 70,000, 700,000 dead, what number are we looking at? ANDREWS: Well, no more, no more. He needs to stop. The United Nations

needs to take action. Look, the U.N. Security Council could take a resolution, put it before the body having a debate and go up and down.


They could establish coordinated sanctions. They could establish, they could refer Min Aung Hlaing and others to the International Criminal Court for investigation or prosecution. There are many options that are there. But you need the political force to exercise those options.

And just because the United Nations up to this point, including the security council, has not taken action, does not mean that the rest of the world is off the hook. I believe the countries in the world should be imposing tough focused coordinated sanctions, there should be an international arms embargo. If it can't be done to the United Nations, then governments can work together, coordinate and cooperate together and link those sanctions together is that they have the greatest possible impact on the junta.

The junta has a very, very large military. They're prominent. But they have to feed that military, they have to equip that military, it takes money to do that. And so they are also vulnerable.

And I think if the international community could focus on action, then it has before it the means to cut off the access to the money and resources and the weapons that the junta needs in order to sustain itself and continue what it's doing.

VAUSE: One of the R2P, the U.N.'s responsibility to protect, this principle was agreed to after a string of failures by the U.N. to intervene in the worst conflicts around the world. Part of the principal declares responsibility of the international community to protect when a state is manifestly failing to protect its population. Every U.N. country agreed to R2P in 2005. And now what, it's meaningless?

ANDREWS: Well, of course, R2P says number one, states have responsibility to protect our own people. Two, if they can't, then the international committee must come in and provide that protection. But what happens if the state is actually attacking its people? and that's the case in Myanmar, what then?

Clearly, R2P should be imposed here and should be recognized as a responsibility for all the nations in the international community who care about the responsibility to protect and care about the people of Myanmar. There are options available to the international community that have not yet been exercised, and I think that we as an international community need to do so.

VAUSE: Tom Andrews, thank you for being with us. Tom Andrews is the U.N. special rapporteur for Myanmar. Thank you, sir.

ANDREWS: It's my pleasure, John. Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: Still to come, the legal case that Israel's treatment of Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid. More on that in a moment.


VAUSE: Well, for the first time, a major international rights group has laid out the case the Israel's treatment of Palestinians is apartheid and a crime against humanity.

A report by Human Rights Watch claims Palestinians are subject to systematic oppression and inhumane acts, says the Israeli government policies are designed to ensure Jews domination. It pointed to what it calls draconian military rule, and growing Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories, as well as demolition of Palestinian homes, checkpoints and other restrictions on movement, and claims these policies cannot be justified on the basis of security.


With me now is Eric Goldstein. He's the acting executive director of the Human Rights Watch for the Middle East and North Africa division.

Eric, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: Yes, this apartheid case against Israel, it's said to implode over the year. This year in January, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem also published a report arguing that the key Israel uses to implement Jewish supremacy is engineering space geographically, demographically and politically. Jews go about their lives in a single, contagious space where they enjoy full rights and self-determination.

In contrast, Palestinians live in a space that is fragmented into several units, each with the different set of rights given or denied by Israel, but always inferior to the rights according to Jews.

So, how does this all fit in with what's in your report, this 200-plus page lengthy report?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, our report looks at apartheid as a legally defined crime. We're not making analogies to any other countries, like South Africa, and that crime has three elements. One is the intent to for one people to dominate over another people, a system of severe oppression and domination, and inhumane acts that are committed toward that end.

And we found that those conditions are pressing, especially in the occupied Palestinian territories, and we can give many examples of severe discrimination.

VAUSE: So even before this report was actually released, there's been a lot of criticism by many within Israel. The Israeli law professor Gerald Steinberg wrote in "The Jerusalem Post" that this, even though he denied it, that this is an attempt to link Israel to apartheid in South Africa. The regime was characterized by cruel and systematic, institutionalized dehumanization.

In contrast, and notwithstanding the ongoing conflict, Israel's non- Jewish citizens have full rights, including voting for Knesset, which is the parliament. Worse, exploiting the apartheid image in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a cynical appropriation of the suffering of the victims of the actual apartheid regime. Richard Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court, wrote that.

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid and to the 1998 Rome Statute. Unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel.

So how do you respond to that criticism?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, I think the Palestinians wherever they are, have rights that are inferior to the rights of Jews. But it's different. Inside Israel, it's true that Palestinians have citizenship, and can travel about freely. But they still suffer severe discrimination, vis- a-vis Jews.

But the situation is most dramatic in the occupied Palestinian territories. And there, people have been -- for two generations -- deprived of their basic civic rights.

VAUSE: On a more granular level, there is a piece in "The Times of Israel" where it points out the phrase Palestinian terrorism is nowhere in your report. The report mentions Hamas 13 times as a political party, never admits that Israel, the United States, the European Union, and others have designated Hamas a terrorist organization, as required by international law.

Says the report overlooks altogether other active Palestinian terrorist organization, such as Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As far as HRW is concerned, this article says, apparently, there is no Palestinian terrorism to discuss.

Their argument is that this report ignores the security threat Israel is facing, which is why these particular policies are put in place, and it's counter to what the HRW report says, which is that security measures do not counterbalance the security threat.

And again, can you respond to that?

GOLDSTEIN: Of course. First, Human Rights Watch has, repeatedly, condemned acts of terrorism, targeting of civilians, by groups, including Hamas, called them crimes against humanity, rocketing into Israeli towns in the south as war crimes.

So, repeatedly, we have made our position clear, that these are acts that are impermissible under international law. In this report, though, we are focusing on the rank discrimination that Palestinians face, and if you take just one example of a policy implemented on the grounds of security, the wall, the building of the security barrier during the second Intifada to stop infiltrations of suicide bombers, which is a completely legitimate motive, the Israeli authorities built this wall deep inside of the West Bank, so as to encompass, not only settlements, but plenty of land for settlements to grow, and expand.

Meanwhile, Palestinian farmers in nearby villages found themselves completely cut off from their land. There are farmers now who have to leave their land fallow, because they can't get permission from the army to access that land, to cross the wall, three or four times a year, at most.


How is this a policy that is all about security?

VAUSE: Eric, it's a lengthy report. There's a lot in there to get through. We don't have the time for right now, but thank you for going through those issues for us. We appreciate it.

Eric Goldstein there for the Human Rights Watch.

GOLDSTEIN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Appreciate it.


VAUSE: Israel says the report, though, is filled with lies. The Israeli embassy in Washington says: We strongly reject the false accusations that Human Rights Watch is spreading about Israel. It goes on to say this is an organization known to have a longstanding anti- Israel agenda, actively seeking for years to promote boycotts against Israel.

Well, as India spirals downwards into a humanitarian crisis caused by COVID, nations around the world are finally stepping up to help. The international response to India's global distress call, when we come back.

Also, a shortage of supplies and vaccines is threatening to devastate pandemic stricken economies in Latin America as well. We'll have more on that after the break.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM with me. I'm John Vause.

Well, India is reporting a slight decline in the number of new coronavirus cases for the first time in a week. COVID cases have hit a global high for five straight days, overwhelmed hospitals running out of, beds, medicine, ventilators and oxygen. Thousands died amid a devastating second wave.

A new projection from the University of Washington says the daily death toll will likely rise the next few weeks, taking it more than 13,000 dead a day.

CNN's Anna Coren is following all this live from Hong Kong.

And this goes back to the situation with what we are, now with the concerns are and it seems oxygen, oxygen, oxygen, oxygen.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's all about oxygen, that is what is keeping people alive.

You know, John, I spoke to a doctor in Delhi who said I've been practicing medicine for 50 years and never in my career have I seen this, people yes, have died. They died of disease, of illness, but never from a lack of oxygen. He said it is breaking my heart.

And as we've been reporting, hospitals are turning people away, unless they bring their own oxygen cylinder and their families can top up with supply.


So the international aid that is coming in, the U.K. has just flown in one shipment of medical aid -- ventilators, oxygen concentrators, PPE, you know, you name it. Everything that is required, they've got another eight planeloads coming in this week.

Other countries from around the world will be taking part in this international aid effort. But as we've been reporting, John, people need it now.

And that dip in numbers, you know, we shouldn't be getting excited about that. It could be the result of the lockdown and restrictions that have been imposed on cities and states, making testing much more difficult.


COREN (voice over): As smoke rises over a pile of ashes, another family huddles over the remains of their loved one. A son, says farewell to his 49-year-old mother who died of COVID a day ago, while his twin brother fights for his life in hospital.

Another body, draped in marigolds is led into the crematorium. An assembly line of death and misery on an insurmountable scale. But health experts believe, the real numbers could be much higher. The acute shortage of oxygen across the country is the main killer as hospitals, already overcapacity, turn away patients who don't have their own oxygen cylinders and supply.

DR. SCL GUPTA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BATRA HOSPITAL, DELHI: But here if somebody dies, you know they died because of a lack of oxygen. You cannot describe that feeling, but you feel like crying. You're feeling so helpless.

COREN: Unable to get an ambulance, this family takes their brother to hospital in a rickshaw. His feet, protruding. But, like all the others they visited, it has no available beds, let alone enough oxygen.

"I tried almost all the hospitals," he says. Everyone told me they had no oxygen supply. So, I came here, and they shooed us away at the gate, saying they don't have any oxygen."

The wait outside, excruciating. But help never comes. He shakes his brother, but it is too late.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the second wave as a storm that has shaken the country. and announced the construction of more than 500 oxygen generation plants. But that is cold comfort for the families who feel their government has abandoned them and left them to fight this pandemic on their own.

When critics say the government should have been preparing and stockpiling for the inevitable, it dropped its guard, allowing social gatherings, religious festivals, and political rallies to be held. Some the prime minister himself attended. Giving the virus the chance to spread and mutate.

In the capital of New Delhi, there is more than 30 percent positivity rate and half the cases by the start of this month with a more contagious variant that is afflicting younger people and has now been detected in the U.K. and Switzerland.

For radio host Stutee Ghosh (ph) whose father contracted COVID, she pulled him out of hospital because she feared he would die there. For every 200 patients only one doctor was available.

She bought an oxygen concentrator on the black market for an exorbitant price, allowing her father to be cared for at home. But she says if you don't have money and privilege, what hope do you have in saving your loved ones?

STUTEE GHOSH, RADIO HOST: If, God forbid, you are in a position where you cannot pay and you have doctors who are breaking down on social media in front of the camera saying patients will die. Patients are being turned away because there is no oxygen. Who will answer this? This is a failure.


COREN: And John, just to give you an idea of the level of anger not just amongst the people and lawmakers who have been criticizing the government, the high court of Madras has criticized the electoral commission for holding rallies throughout this second wave, saying, it was irresponsible, and that they should be facing murder charges, John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Anna thank you. Anna Coren for us live in Hong Kong. Thank you.

Well, India is the world's biggest producer of vaccines and now with infection spreading unchecked, the government has ordered restrictions on exports. But India's inoculation campaign has been slow and troubled. Only 5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, well behind the U.S. and Europe.

Lawrence Gostin is the faculty director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. He joins us this hour from Washington D.C.

Lawrence, it's good to see you, It's been a while.

LAWRENCE GOSTIN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Yes. it's great to see you too.

VAUSE: Ok. So right now, there is an urgent need in India for pure oxygen supplies, as well as PPE, but that shouldn't really overshadow the need for vaccinations in the medium term. And that's where this issue of, you know, waiting vaccine patents comes into play.

How did we go from a waiver which would be issued by the World Trade Organization to speeding up vaccination production for countries like India and everywhere else around the world?

GOSTIN: Yes, I mean what we need, is we need to first transfer the know-how, you know, the patents of intellectual property, and also have partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and governments -- you know, public-private partnerships.


GOSTIN: And that way, what we can do is we can help a country like India ramp up its production. It's already producing AstraZeneca vaccines, and it's got a long history of producing vaccines. It's the largest vaccine producer in the world.

It's technically very capable, but it does need the intellectual property rights and it also needs the funding and the production capacity which we could help with same way we've done in the United States with the Defense Production Act. We've managed to ramp up production in the United States. There is no reason we can't do that in India and other, you know, middle income countries with high technical capacity.

VAUSE: About a hundred countries have been pushing for this waiver since October. With the United States, the E.U., U.K., Switzerland, Japan, Norway, Canada, Brazil and Australia opposed to this.

All this just seems to be in stark contrast with the position held by Joe Biden last July when he said he would ensure intellectual property laws would not prevent other companies globally from mass producing COVID vaccines.

He was a candidate for president at the time and here he is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely, positively. This is the only humane thing in the world to do. So the answer is yes, yes, yes, yes. And it's not only a good thing to do, it's overwhelmingly in our interest to do it as well.


VAUSE: What is the downside to doing what is absolutely, positively the only humane thing to do here?

GOSTIN: Well, there really isn't any downside other than protection over profits of pharmaceutical company. I'm not a pharmaceutical company basher, in fact, you know, I admire what U.S. ingenuity has done, and what our pharmaceutical industry has done.

They have done it with taxpayer money, but nonetheless, there is no downside because we are in a once in a century pandemic. The global health emergency couldn't be more. And there's a fire raging in India.

And it's blissful ignorance for us to think that that fire won't spread eventually to the United States. and we're having more and more variants that are showing up in India every day. They will find their way to Europe, the United States, the U.K. And it's absolutely in our national interest to help them.

VAUSE: There does seem to be a counter argument here that the patent waiver is not the issue but rather it's production capacity. One of those in favor of that argument is the Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. He spoke to SkyNews over the weekend. Here's part of what he said.


BILL GATES, MICROSOFT: There's only so many vaccine factories in the world. And people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. So moving something that had never been done, moving the vaccine from say, a J&J factory into a factory in India -- that is novel if only because of our grants on our expertise that can happen at all.

The thing that's holding things back in this case is not intellectual property. There's not like some idle vaccine factory with regulatory approval that makes magically safe vaccine.


VAUSE: You know Lawrence, I'm not really sure where Gates was actually going with this argument?

GOSTIN: We do know how to do this. We've ramped up lots of vaccine campaigns in the past. We've done it in the United States. They did it in the U.K. in Europe for COVID vaccines. There is no reason at all why a country like India couldn't do the same thing that we've done here in United States.

It's sheer hubris to think that we can do something, but we can't help them do the same thing. I've often said, you know, you can -- we can donate, you know, 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as President Biden has said. And then you'll save you know 60 million lives.

But if you actually transfer the know-how and the technology and ramp up production so that India can produce its own vaccines., you can save a country, not 60 million lives, the whole country of 1.4 billion people.

And you can also save the world, because India has promised they're our major hope to being the engine to vaccinate the world. The United States is not doing that. So far the U.S., has been pretty much hoarding its vaccines whereas India has been in the business of exporting the vaccines until it got into a catastrophic situation itself with the COVID-19 pandemic.

VAUSE: On the issue of the AstraZeneca stockpile in the U.S., there is what sound like double talk coming from the White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday. Here she is.



JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Just to be, clear we have -- right now we have zero doses available of AstraZeneca. We are talking about what the FDA needs to go through a review, right, to ensure the safety and it's meeting our own bar and our own guidelines. And we expect there to be approximately 10 million doses that could be released if/when the FDA -- if or when the FDA gives its conference (ph) which could happen in the coming weeks.


VAUSE: I could be wrong. That sounds like the kind of wordplay which the former Trump administration will be proud of.

GOSTIN: Well, you know I'm not proud of that -- that idea. India is in huge trauma at the moment. And to say that, you know, we don't have a vaccine when they're self-evidently sitting on our shelves -- and to say that we're going to wait weeks before we try to help them put out the fire.

I do think that is unconscionable and it's wrong. You know, we are acting like the AstraZeneca vaccine is not a safe, effective vaccine. The U.K. regulators, the E.U. regulators, the regulators in India and many countries around the world, have approved it. It's been administered in tens and hundreds of millions of doses around the world.

It's proved to be highly safe and highly effective and countries are clamoring after it. So how the United States thinks there's a safety problem, I just don't know. And what additional review we could possibly do, when it's already been vetted by stringent regulatory authorities, it really is beyond me.

VAUSE: Lawrence, we're out of time but thank you so much. It's good to see you.

GOSTIN: It's really good to see you too. Thanks.

VAUSE: Well, major business leaders, including the Indian born CEOs of Google and Microsoft are also trying to help. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted, "Amid a devastating rise of COVID cases in India, our thoughts are with the medical workers, our Apple family, and everyone there who are fighting through this awful stage of the pandemic. Apple will be donating to support relief efforts on the ground. CNN's John Defterios is live in Abu Dhabi with more on this.

So John, you know, we're looking at what -- almost a dozen big tech companies are offering up what seems to be some significant help here. But is this more about symbolism, it's a show of support, or will this aid from companies like Google, Amazon and Apple -- will it actually make a significant difference here?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: You know, it's interesting that Silicon Valley is speaking out, John because India is a key driver here. Some of the software we use around the world that reached into California, of course and up to Seattle as well where Microsoft is based.

But I think you are correct. This is less about the money being put on the table and more about the empathy and shock, particularly for the two Indian CEOs with Google and Microsoft, Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella of Google and Microsoft.

They both took to Twitter in the last 24 hours saying they are heartbroken and shocked at what they see in their homeland, if you will because of the vaccination program that's now rolling out in a bigger way. But the shortage of medical beds and of medical oxygen.

So again if you look at the context as a scale of the companies and what's being put forward here, Google said raised $18 million internally. It will also provide a grant for UNICEF, as you know, John which is leading this COVAX charge and the distribution of vaccinations taking place in the emerging markets, the developing markets of the world and India being one of the biggest of them.

But Microsoft said something quite interesting here. They said it's going to use the tools available. And some of the other tech companies said the same and that is passing information, where they can get vaccinations, where is the testing taking place in India, where the supplies are, and also contribute to this program here of getting medical oxygen devices out to the Indian people.

But at some point, they're going to say if you look at the market cap, for example, of Microsoft of $1.8 trillion, and Google at about $1.5 trillion -- combined, they are bigger than the GDP of India, which is below $3 trillion overall.

So it is the right message to go out. They're saying we have the tools to get the communication out but the money from the corporate world and those CEOs themselves, the personal wealth, is not of the scale people probably are thinking in a country that is going through such pain at this stage.

VAUSE: Yes. A lot of pain. India was expected to be the fastest growing major economy this year. That was before the impact of the second wave. So what are those expectations now?

DEFTERIOS: Well, it's amazing how things can change so quickly, John. It was just that the IMF/World Bank meetings that the organizations were saying that India should grow 12.5 percent this year, after a major, in fact record contraction last year of 8 percent.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had put forward $160 billion stimulus package, kind of early into the challenge of COVID-19, and that did help get this recovery underway.

But I think that many of the houses, John, if I can be so blunt here, are underestimating how long this wave could last. [They're expecting a short wave and they're pointing to the vaccinations.


DEFTERIOS: There's been about 100 million vaccinated in the country of a population, as you know, of more than 1.3 billion.

So, the major houses suggesting growth should hold up between 10 and 12 percent, I don't see that, because 60 percent of this economy is based on consumption and we saw a retrenchment in the last month when the cases started to spike.

You also have to think about the agriculture sector which plays a very large role; also manufacturing. The 10 states that really drive the economy remain open, John, but if the caseload does not lighten in a significant way here, I think a lockdown is going to be the biggest challenge going forward and put that growth in jeopardy.

VAUSE: Yes, a lockdown which the prime minister said the country can't afford, but we'll see what happens.

John, thank you. John Defterios in Abu Dhabi.

The E.U. is suing vaccine maker AstraZeneca for breach of contract. At the center of this dispute is a commitment by the company to make best reasonable efforts to deliver 180 million doses in the second quarter and a total of 300 million by the end of June.

Last month, AstraZeneca fell way short of that target, said it would deliver about a third. Despite that the drug maker argues the lawsuit is without merit.

Hospitals in Latin America are also facing a shortage of crucial medical supplies, especially vaccines.

And as CNN's Matt Rivers reports there are now widespread calls for wealthier nations to help.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As we watch what is happening in the United States right now where it looks like the supply of different vaccines is maybe beginning to outpace the demand for those vaccines, it is the opposite that is happening right now in Latin America, where there remain critical vaccine shortages in just about every country across this region.

Consider what's happening both in Mexico and Brazil, which are two countries that combined make up for well, over half of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, as a whole.

In Mexico, less than 17 million doses in total had been administered so far. And in Brazil, less than 5 percent of the population there has been fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

We also heard from the health ministry on Monday, where they said that due to a shortage of supply and the active ingredients used to make the coronavac (ph) vaccine, there could be delay in people receiving their second dose of the coronavac in that country.

That's why as we move forward, we're going to see continued calls from different countries in this region for countries like the United States to share their supply of the vaccine.

We have seen China, and Russia try and step in, giving out different contracts for their vaccine across this region. But there had been delays in the delivery of a lot of those supplies. And so as a result, calls for the United States and other countries to share their supplies of vaccines, only going to increase, in the near future.

Matt Rivers, CNN -- Mexico City.


VAUSE: The Kremlin appears to be ramping up pressure on supporters of the jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. The operations of his protest movement are now officially on hold, ahead of a court decision which is expected to rule it's an extremist group, and declared illegal.

CNN's Sam Kiley has details now, reporting from Moscow.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A Russian prosecutor has successfully appealed to a Moscow court to have the whole movement behind Alexei Navalny, effectively suspended. This is part of ongoing proceedings to have his movement designated as an extremist organization.

Now, the movement's headquarters and various offices, right across Russia, are being ordered to cease their activities. And on social media, his supporters have said, that they are ending all of their posting in support of Mr. Navalny, following this court ruling.

Now this is part of an ongoing campaign, effectively to stifle his movement, but it was very loud, across the country last Wednesday, with demonstrations in many cities, in support of Mr. Navalny's then- hunger strike, demanding access to independent medical authorities to look after him, while he languished in prison.

He's not suspended that hunger strike or ended that hunger strike, but now, his movement faces a temporary suspension, but part of a campaign being orchestrated, through the Moscow courts, by the prosecutors here, to render it a prescribed organization. And if that goes through, and every indication is that it will, then it will be impossible for Mr. Navalny's movement to operate at all inside Russia. And particularly impossible for it to be able to prosecute any efforts at all to field candidates in September's elections.

Sam Kiley, CNN -- in Moscow.


VAUSE: We will be back in about 90 seconds. You are watching CNN.



VAUSE: When life was put on hold because of the pandemic, the transportation industry began to reimagine the ways in which we move.

This week, CNN's Bianca Nobilo is exploring how technology is playing a pivotal role in the future of travel with a special called "ROAD TO THE FUTURE".

She visited one of London busiest train stations to see how a tech startup is working to rebuild trust in public transportation.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With travel slowly starting to build back up in the U.K., tech start-up, Open Space are hoping their digital twin technology can help put people first in the way stations like St. Pancras International operate. But how does a virtual train station actually work?

NICOLAS LEGLATIN, CEO, OPEN SPACE: We first make a copy of the physical building, by scanning the building. And from that, we plan a monitoring infrastructure that counts and tracks people locally. That information is then stored on our servers, and our algorithm process that information.

NOBILO: In layman's terms, using anonymized bird's-eye camera footage the Open Space technology can track and simulate the way the public interacts with the building, which routes they favor from one platform to another, where the bottlenecks form, and crucially, for this era, the areas where social distancing will be difficult.

(on camera): The COVID pandemic has given a new relevance to this technology. When you were designing it, did you have any idea that it could have this application?

LEGLATIN: The pandemic has very much changed the problem that the operators have to deal with. It is so much overcapacity or large number of people using in a sense. It's about bringing customers back to infrastructure, building back confidence.

NOBILO: With all this modeling at your fingertips every day, can you anticipate how design might change to adapt to human behavior?

LEGLATIN: I think one of the key opportunities is for the building to adapt to the experience, a building should fundamentally encourage and reinforce the experience, yes. A building is a bit like a living entities, you know. It experiences different behaviors, different patterns of movement -- in the morning, in the evening, in the winter, in the summer.

It's for the buildings, the build environment becoming more dynamic and responsive to the needs of people.


VAUSE: How to make the Olympics pandemic proof? After the break, we'll head to Tokyo's Aquatic Center and how athletes plan to interact with supporters (ph).



VAUSE: Just three months now until the start of the Tokyo games and organizers have restarted to test events with athletes to see how prepared they are.

CNN's Blake Essig has more.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We are at the Tokyo Aquatic Center, one of the venues which will be used for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. With less than three months to go before the start of the Olympics, this is one of the first test events being held since the games were postponed more than a year ago.

(voice over): Test events like this serve as a dress rehearsal for Olympic organizers, an opportunity to work out the kinks ahead of the games. In this case, only a limited number of Japanese athletes are participating.

Here in mid zone, only 12 journalists are allowed in at any time. As a result, because of COVID-19, this virtual set up is one option being considered, to allow equal access to athletes.

When it comes to antivirus measures, it is clear, Olympic organizers are still figuring things out. This is the media room, inside of the Aquatic Center, where social distancing doesn't seem to be an option.

(on camera): While, it hasn't been decided, this is what the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games could look like. Empty arenas with no fans and athletes competing to the sound of music, which does help mask the silence.

Despite a fourth wave of infections growing and Tokyo being placed under a third state of emergency order, Olympic organizers and the Japanese government remain committed to holding the games, as scheduled, this summer.

Blake Essig, CNN -- Tokyo.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with Robyn Curnow after a short break.

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