Return to Transcripts main page


India's Healthcare System Drowning; Complacency Pays a Price; E.U. Sues AstraZeneca of Breach of Contract; Human Rights Watch Release Report on Israel's Abuses; Moscow Cutting Off Alexei Navalny's Power; India Reports Dip In New Cases For First Time In A Week; Tech Companies Sending Supplies, Resources To India; Turkey Announces Strictest Lockdown Yet; Brazil Warns Second Vaccine Doses May Be Late; Latin America Facing Vaccine Shortages; Standing Up To Myanmar's Military; Nigeria Kidnappings, Mass Abduction For Ransom On The Rise In Northern Nigeria; Tokyo Games Olympic Readiness; Ukraine Remembering Chernobyl Accident. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 27, 2021 - 03:00   ET




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

Just ahead here on CNN Newsroom, India's COVID crisis spiraling out of control. The World Health Organization says the situation is beyond heartbreaking.

A bombshell new report accusing Israel of committing crimes against humanity. I'll speak to one of the authors who says he was deported for his reporting on human rights abuses.

And less than three months ago before what's supposed to be the start of the Olympics. We get an inside look at Tokyo's measures to keep the games safe.

Thanks for being with us.

Well the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic is now in panic mode with rising daily case counts and death tolls. India did report a slight dip in its numbers today, but they -- it's still well over 300,000 new infections. And the true case count is most likely much higher.


SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WHO: There have been at least three national zero service done that actual number of people who had the infection as measured by antibodies is at least 20 to 30 times higher than what had been reported. Now while the testing capacity of India has increased dramatically, they are doing I think close to two million tests a day. That is still not sufficient because the national average now, I think the positivity rate is about 15 percent in some cities like Delhi, it's up to 30 percent or higher.


CHURCH (on camera): And as families lay their loved ones to rest, a new projection from the University of Washington shows it's likely the death toll could peak in a few weeks at 13,000 dead a day. And hospitals can't seem to keep up.


UNKNOWN (through translator): I brought the patient here and they didn't even admit him or treat him for hours. They also didn't allow me to come in. I was trying to contact him all day yesterday. He had a mobile phone but he was not responding to my calls. Today, I've got a call from the hospital that he has passed away. I haven't been able to talk to him since the day before yesterday.


CHURCH: The health system seems to be on the brink of collapse.

CNN's Vedika Sud visited a hospital and two crematoriums and has this report.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (voice over): These raging fires will continue all day and through the evening. The surge in cases been so much that they are waiting for these bodies to be put on the fire by family members. There is a queue outside just waiting for the final rights 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 of New Delhi that has seen a huge surge not only in cases but in fatalities as well. Family members pulling out bodies such as this one from ambulances lined up in this crematorium ground and taking them for cremation. They've grown up with these people, they have lived with them and now it is time to say the final goodbye.

NEERAJ PAL, NEPHEW (through translator): My uncle died at about 11.15 p.m. on April 24th. The hospital didn't inform us. When we called the health desk, we were told he is 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 come home after recovering from infection.

I'm standing right beside another crematorium, this time in south Delhi. What you can see is about 50 people at work here. They are trying to get 100 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 a COVID emergency ward at the 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 of these cars starting from here almost a dozen of them parked right outside this emergency ward.


They're 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. There are old people here, old women, old men, there are even younger people who are grasping for breath in these cars, they are just waiting for that one lucky moment where they get a bed inside this facility.

SONIA BABBAR, DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 PATIENT: I brought my father here, there are no beds. Those are in the corridors lying on the floor and the very first questions is that, show your PCR test, what is the infection rate. And am I bringing an oxygen cylinder? Of which, I wasn't aware of, I thought this is what the hospital would provide.


SUD (on camera): Relatives of patients who are suffering from COVID- 19 have been waiting for ambulances also to take them home but these ambulances have been so busy getting patients here or to crematoriums that has been extremely difficult for them to get the sick ones home after being denied a bed.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.

CHURCH: And as the true scope of the crisis in India has become clear we are seeing global pledges of support. Mexico's president says his country will cancel an upcoming vaccine shipment from India so they can keep those doses instead. The U.K. France, and Ireland are all sending lifesaving medical equipment to India. And that includes badly needed oxygen and ventilation supplies.

But in Italy, there is some concern because two cases of the Indian coronavirus variant have been detected in the Veneto region.

Well, Dr. K. Srinath Reddy is president of the Public Health Foundation of India. he joins me now from New Delhi. Thank you, doctor, for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, doctor, as India battles this devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections surging cases are resulting in more than 3,000 deaths every single day with oxygen in short supply and the hospital system on the verge of collapse. How did it get to this horrifying point when the Indian government had to know how deadly this virus was?

REDDY: Unfortunately, by the beginning of January there was a widespread perception not those under the toll that we had passed the epidemic on a permanent basis because we had acquired herd immunity across the population. And in fact, it was predicted by some models that there would not be a second wave. They are clearly erroneous.

Of course, there were several of us who question against it and said herd immunity is not there and we need to be on guard. However, the interest in reviving the economy which have gone sluggish during the pandemic and even earlier had a little bit of slump and the fairly strong desire among people to get back to normal life.

That received this impression that the pandemic had ended very warmly, and therefore the society opened up with multiple large gatherings, deliberations, and weddings, and birthday parties, but more importantly, large gatherings for political rallies, elections at the local body level at the assembly level, as well as religious gatherings and so on.

And that give the virus, as well as the variants which are beginning to up here by then a safe passage to roam around it well and infect as many people as possible.

CHURCH: And doctor, the United States and other nations are sending help in the form of oxygen supplies, ventilators, PPE, test kits, and eventually millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses. And Russia will send its Sputnik V COVID vaccine in May. How critical is all of this? And how quickly could this help turn the situation around in India do you think?

REDDY: Well, the immediate response to it that we need to really implement with great vigor is to contain the transmission by preventing any super spreader events, that means all gatherings of any significant size whether outside in the public areas or within even close buildings. Those are stop completely. And only limited number of people to be moving and meeting, that would be the important element.

And of course, ensuring that people wear their mask definitely outside of home and wear it properly. Those are the important immediate measures. Vaccination does need to be stepped up to protect the people who are vulnerable and who are likely to have severe disease, at the same time trying to contain the transmission which is not an immediate benefit but will occur at what time.


But getting all of the equipment in place for immediate healthcare ensuring that the transmission is contained and that the people are vaccinated both from protection against severe disease, as well as overall benefit in containing the transmission. These are all things that need to be proceed -- it needs to proceed in tandem at the same time.

CHURCH: Doctor, let's talk about the vaccinations, because India is one of the largest vaccine producers in the world and had been exporting AstraZeneca doses to other nations. What does India need right now to ramp up its own production and get its population vaccinated? And why wasn't that done earlier when India had all the doses it needed but chose to export them instead?

REDDY: Well, the erroneous impression that gathered ground in January that India had completely past the epidemic and we are not going to have a second wave led to the impression that we could actually go slow and steady in our immunization program, going first with the health workers then with other -- with the other essential workers.

Then with people about 60 years of age and those with 45 years of age and comorbidities and so on. That graduated approach meant that we could use the vaccines that were being produced in India and two were already authorized for production. And what was considered to be a surplus of the moment was being exported outside both by way of donations, as well as by way of commercial export. That was considered to be an important part of our vaccine diplomacy as well.

However, the huge outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic meant that the great sense of urgency for us to know step up our vaccine production domestically both by way of scaling up the already approved vaccines, getting more vaccines into production lane, getting some of the vaccines that are produced abroad and already approved outside as imported vaccines.

And in general, having a better access to a much larger amount of vaccine stockpile. One of the limiting factors however, was that because of the Defense Production Act of the United States which was basically invoked by the Trump administration and was starting up by the Biden administration to conserve resources for the use of the United States itself meant that some of the raw materials that were required for vaccine production in India could not be obtained.

Now as of yesterday, the assurance that had been given by the Biden administration that they would be supplied so that the vaccine production in India would be unhampered.

CHURCH: Right.

REDDY: But at the moment, the vaccine production is looking under a lower side but it's now going to pick up pace.

CHURCH: Good news. And of course, oxygen is the number one priority right now. We hope that everything can be turned around very quickly. And we thank you, K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India for talking with us. Many thanks.

REDDY: Thank you.

CHURCH (on camera): Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied saying he would rather let the bodies pile high in their thousands than impose a third lockdown. The comments were reported in the Daily Mail newspaper. And Mr. Johnson was asked about them on Monday.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think the important thing that I think people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work. And they have. The numbers of deaths, the number of hospitalizations are currently are very low. That doesn't mean that we've got it totally leaked. It doesn't mean that COVID is over.


CHURCH (on camera): The Daily Mail claims the prime minister made the comments in October shortly after agreeing to a second lockdown. Mr. Johnson did impose a third lockdown in January.

Well, across the channel, Europe is facing its own drama. The E.U. is suing vaccine maker AstraZeneca for breach of contract, accusing the drug maker of not delivering the doses it promised and now having a plan to distribute them in a timely manner.

For the latest on this lawsuit, let's turn to CNN's Cyril Vanier who joins us live from London. Good to see you, Cyril. So how is AstraZeneca responding to this lawsuit? And why is the U.K. getting the lion's share of vaccine doses while Europe clearly struggles?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, great to be with you. AstraZeneca says that the cases without merit and that they will defend themselves strongly in court. They are also saying that the production issues that dogged their European factories at the beginning of the year are being fixed, but it takes a while for that to translate into more doses actually being delivered.


You mentioned the U.K. That has been a major irritant for the European Union since the row broke out with AstraZeneca. Because on the one hand, Europeans were not getting. We're getting only a fraction of the AstraZeneca doses that have been promised since the beginning of this year.

On the other hand, Britons were getting pretty much all the doses that had been promised on schedule and delivered at pace. Now AstraZeneca would tell you there's a simple reason for that. The U.K. and the European Union are essentially two different customers with two different factories, two different supply chains. And that the investment in the U.K. had been made earlier and the production facilities and in the research for AstraZeneca, and that's why they're getting -- they got their doses on schedule.

The E.U. would tell you that they put hundreds of millions of euros on the table to ramp up production facilities and even when AstraZeneca was still conducting research into the vaccine and that therefore, they should have gotten the doses at the same time as the U.K. They would also tell you that their contract with AstraZeneca covered U.K. factories, and so if need be AstraZeneca should have taken doses from the U.K. brought in the E.U. -- to the E.U. to fulfill their contractual obligations on the continent as well.

It's now in the hands of the courts. The European health spokesperson said this, Rosemary.


STEFAN DE KEERSMAECKER, SPOKESPERSON, EU COMMISSION FOR HEALTH: What matters to us in this case is that we want to make sure that there is a speedy delivery of a sufficient number of doses that European citizens are entitled to. And which have been promised on the basis of the contract.


VANIER (on camera): So, what that means is Europe has run out of patience, they are done talking with AstraZeneca, they want results. It is unclear at this stage, Rosemary, whether a lawsuit can actually get results in terms of getting more AstraZeneca doses delivered to the continent faster. Rosemary?

CHURCH: A lot of tension, a lot of frustration there. Cyril Vanier joining us with the latest from London. Many thanks.

A new Human Rights Watch report has some scathing criticism for Israel. Just ahead, how it compares the treatment of Palestinians to apartheid.


CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. Well, a new Human Rights Watch report compares Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories to apartheid. The group says the government is committed to a policy of domination by Jewish Israelis. And Palestinians are subject to systematic oppression and inhumane acts.

It cites what it calls draconian military rule and growing Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories. The demolition of Palestinian homes and checkpoints and other restrictions on people's movement. The report says many of the abuses have no security justification.


Well, joining me now from Amman, Jordan, Omar Shakir is the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch. Thank you, sir, for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, your organization's report compares Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories to apartheid. But the Israeli embassy in Washington has now responded, saying this report is filled with lies and personally attacks you. And says this, we strongly reject the false accusations that Human Rights Watch is spreading about Israel. This is an organization known to have a long-standing anti-Israel agenda actively seeking for years to promote boycotts against Israel. So, what is your response to this?

SHAKIR: The Israeli government like many oppressive governments whose human rights abuses we document around the world, instead of engaging with the substance of our findings has chosen to attack the messenger. It's because they have no response to these findings.

This was a report two years in the making, 213 pages that founded the Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. These are universal legal terms identified in international treaties and Human Rights Watch spent two years undertaking investigation connecting the dots based on 30 years of research and we found the evidence overwhelming.

That Israeli authorities pursue a policy across Israel and Palestine to maintain the domination of Jewish-Israelis over Palestinians and combine with inhumane acts and systematic oppression against Palestinians in the occupied territory amount to crimes against humanity among the most odious crimes in international law.

CHURCH: What were some of those main abuses, and if Israel saying to you this is full of lies? Talk to us about the evidence you found?

SHAKIR: Absolutely. We found evidence based on case studies conducted across Israel and Palestine. We have over 850 footnotes in this report. Some of the abuses include the imposition for 54 years of draconian military rule on 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank, while the Israeli authorities govern Jewish-Israeli settlers living in the same territory under their rights respecting civil law.

It includes two million Palestinians in the Gaza strip effectively caged into an open-air prison. Fourteen years facing a generalized travel ban. It includes policies and the majority of the West Bank where it is 100 times more likely that your home gets demolished if you're Palestinian then you get a building permit.

And it includes 4.7 million Palestinians in the occupied territory that are deprived of basic civil rights or any say over the government that rules over their lives.

CHURCH: So, what are you hoping to achieve by releasing this Human Rights Watch report on Israel's treatment of Palestinians?

SHAKIR: Prominent voices for years have warned that apartheid lurk just around the corner if the trajectory Israel's rule over Palestinians did not change. Israeli authorities have turned that corner. The threshold has been crossed. Apartheid is the reality today for millions of Palestinians. It is the time for the international community to recognize the reality for what it is and take the steps necessary to solve this grave situation.

You can only solve the problem when you correctly diagnose it. A 54- year occupation is not temporary. A 30-year peace process cannot dismantle systematic repression. What is needed now is international action to end apartheid and persecution.

CHURCH: And what would you say to those who say you were expelled from Israel in 2019. So, in a way you are coming from a position here with this report where people would say you are biased.

SHAKIR: Human Rights Watch unfortunately is been kicked out of other countries. I, myself, for Human Rights Watch was barred entry from Egypt, we've been barred access from Sudan, from Cuba. We accused none of those countries of apartheid. This follows the very same methodology we conduct in 100 countries across the world. We found crimes against humanity just last week in China. Last year,

we found apartheid and persecution in the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state. This is the building up of years of Human Rights Watch work. We are, with the statements by Israeli groups, Palestinian groups pointing to growing recognition of this crime. This is not the first nor will it be the last first detailed study finding that Israeli authorities are committing of the crimes of apartheid and persecution.

CHURCH: Omar Shakir in Israel and Palestine director at the Human Rights Watch, many thanks for talking with us. We appreciate it.

SHAKIR: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen says she was subject to sexism on a recent trip to Turkey.


Speaking with the European parliament, Von der Leyen says she was left standing while the European council president, a man, was given a seat next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She says she simply expected to be given the respect her position deserves.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I am the first woman to be president of the European Commission. I am the president of the European Commission. And this is how I expected to be treated when visiting Turkey two weeks ago. Like a commission president. But I was not. I cannot find any justification for what I was treated in the European treaties. So, I have to conclude that it happened because I am a woman. Would this have happened if I had worn a suit and a tie?

In the pictures of previous meetings, I did not see any shortage of chairs. But then again, I did not see any women in these pictures neither. Honorable members, many of you will have made quite similar experiences in the past, especially the female members of this house. I'm sure you know exactly how I felt. I felt hurt and I felt alone as a woman and as a European.


CHURCH (on camera): And you can see here that Von der Leyen was eventually given a seat at a nearby sofa.

Well, meanwhile, the Turkish president is slamming U.S. President Joe Biden for calling the mass killings of Armenians during World War I genocide. In a speech Monday, Mr. Erdogan called the remarks baseless, unsubstantiated, and contrary to facts.

Joe Biden on Saturday became the first U.S. president to officially recognize the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman empire as a genocide. Turkey's leader warns the move strains already fraught relations. At a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia, sources

say the White House is working out details of a possible European summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin which could happen in the next few months. A likely talking point between the leaders jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Moscow's chief prosecutor has suspended Navalny's nationwide political movement and wants a court to decide whether his organizations will be labeled as extremist troops.

CNN's Sam Kiley has the details now from Moscow.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A Russian has successfully appealed to a Moscow court to hear 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 movements headquarters in 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 that was very loud across the country last Wednesday with demonstrations in many, 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 is now 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 fill candidates in September's elections.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Moscow.

CHURCH: As India spirals downward into a COVID humanitarian disaster, nations around the world are stepping up to help. The international response to India's global distress call when we come back.

And Turkey announces its toughest COVID lockdown yet. We are live in Istanbul, next.




CHURCH: The number of new coronavirus cases in India has fallen slightly, for the first time in weeks. The country's death toll from the virus is skyrocketing. Overwhelming hospitals, already running low on oxygen. India accounts for almost half of the world's new infections in the past 24 hours. Even crematoriums are struggling to keep up. And a key research group predicts more than 13,000 deaths a day, by the middle of next month.

Business leaders are stepping up to help India, including the Indian born CEOs of Google and Microsoft. CNN's John Defterios, joins us live from Abu Dhabi with more on this. Good to see you, John. So, just how significant is this help coming from Silicon Valley, and what impact could it potentially have on the ground in India?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (on camera): Well, there was an outpouring of support, as you're suggesting here, Rosemary by about a dozen CEOs, including the latest Tim Cook of Apple saying, they will deploy the resources they have available. Of course, India is very important when it comes to global software, and I.T. consulting. So, this resonates back into the country, and the struggle that it has -- taken right now.

But clearly, the two homegrown talents that run Google and Microsoft, Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella of course, this resonates right through the country and they both took to Twitter yesterday saying that they are heartbroken and devastated by the caseload, the strain on the hospital system, and what this could mean for the Indian people themselves.

Google race for example, $18 million internally, and then its going to provide grant to UNICEF, which is the U.N organization working on the vaccinations and the distributions in the developing world itself. But, both of CEO's said that the thing they do best is communications strategy and reaching out to the network.

So this is to inform the Indian people on vaccinations, PCR tests, health safety. But you have to think about it in the context of these giants which have a market cap better than $3 million combined that would be Google and Microsoft. These are the Indian GDP, which is $2.8 trillion. But at some point, people may say these Indian CEOs should personally contribute to the country they are from.

And even had the corporate titans of Silicon Valley and the United States and Europe and Asia, weigh in, and try to do more for India because of the crisis we see to now. But the gestures are a good one, Rosemary, and because there are so well respected back in the country, it does hit home. That's for sure.

CHURCH: Yes. That is significant for us. And India was poised to be the fastest growing major economy this year. What impact is the second wave likely to have?

DEFTERIOS: Well, so far, this is what I find quite interesting about the twist that we see with most of the leading financial houses of India.


That growth target for the International Monetary Fund just a couple of weeks ago, was 12.5 percent. We haven't seen that downgraded in a substantial way. In fact most in India say they can still hold 10 to 12 percent, this fiscal year, March 21, to March 2022. Because Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forward $160 billion, kind of late last year to jump start the economy, and not anticipating the second wave.

So, the real question, what happens to agricultural production, manufacturing going forward for 10 major state of India represented by 80 percent of GDP. But not in lockdown, the Prime Minister trying to keep the economy open right now. There is a huge question mark as you noted in the lead in here, with the caseload above 300,000. What is going to mean for the health system and the ability for commerce to keep up.

So, we have to watch this very carefully over the next month. I have a tendency to think that they are going to have lower those estimates in the second half of this year, because of the challenge they are face with, Rosemary, right now.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. John Defterios joining us live from Abu Dhabi, many thanks.

On Thursday, Turkey will enter its strictest lockdowns since the pandemic began. After nightly curfews, and four weekend lockdowns failed to stop a slew of new infections. While daily cases have been falling, Turkey is still 6th in the world for a total infections at more than 4.5 million. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, joins me now from Istanbul with more on this. Good to see you Jomana. So talk to us about just how strict this going to be, what is going to mean for people across Turkey, as they go into this lockdown?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Rosemary, this is going to be the strictest lockdown that we have had since the start of the pandemic here. In Turkey, the government has really avoided any sort of a full lockdown, they had their own versions of a partial lockdown, on and off, throughout the pandemic. And they've been really concerned about a full shutdown, and the impact that is going to have in the country's already fragile economy. But it now at a point where they have no other alternative. They have had to announce this complete lockdown of the country that begins on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. local time, and through the remainders of the holding on the month of Ramadan through Eid al-Fitr holiday and the country is expected to open up again starting on May 17th.

Now, this is the strictest lockdown basically, Rosemary, people will not be allowed to leave their homes, except for certain hours during the day, only on foot, essential shopping only. Businesses will be required to, non essential businesses will be required to shut down, all schools will be close. And travel in different parts of the country, and you cannot travel from one city to the other without obtaining a government permission and that can only be issued in emergency situations.

Now, the reason this is happening, Rosemary, as for the past couple of weeks, the government did put in a partial lockdown in place, reinstating night time curfews extending that lockdown over the weekend. And the numbers started to go down after we saw a serious spike in cases, reaching unprecedented levels this month of more than 60,000 cases being reported on a daily basis.

More than 300 deaths a day. And so, those numbers, with a partial lockdown, began to drop. It didn't seem like that this was going fast enough as the government wanted it to go. We heard that pretty much from President Erdogan yesterday saying that they have got to do this now. He's saying at a time when Europe is entering what he describe as a phase of reopening, we need to rapidly cut our case numbers below 5,000. So that we are not left behind he says, because he warned, it would be heavy costs for sectors like tourism that has already been hit hard.

So, they really want to try and bring their numbers down, of course Rosemary, before the tourists season begins here in this country, eyeing tourist coming in from Europe and places like the United Kingdom, something that was really impacted last year. So, we have to wait and see if these measures do bring the numbers down to where President Erdogan is hoping they would, below 5,000 cases a day.

CHURCH (on camera): Alright. Jomana Karadsheh, joining us from Istanbul, many thanks.

In Brazil, there are concerns, second doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be administered on time. The country's health minister says delivery delays of a key vaccine ingredient are causing the problem. Last month, the health ministry told local governments to administer all of vaccines available without holding any of that for second doses.

Now at least six Brazilian state are reporting low vaccination rates due to supply shortages. And in Brazil, another parts of Latin America, COVID cases are rising. And hospitals are facing the shortage of crucial medical supplies, especially vaccines.

Our CNN's Matt Rivers reports, they are now widespread calls, for wealthier nations, to help.



MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As we watched 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 remains 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 combine make up for well over half the population of Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. In Mexico, less than 70 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 ingredient used to make the CoronaVac vaccine, there could be delays in people receiving their second dose of the CoronaVac in that country. That's why as we move forward, were going to see continued calls from different countries in this region. Four countries like the United States to share their supply of the vaccine.

And we have seen China and Russia try and step in giving out different contracts for their vaccines across this region, but there had been delays in the delivery of a lot of those supplies. And so as a result call 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.


CHURCH (on camera): Coming up, the terrible cost of standing up for democracy in Myanmar.


UNKNOWN: 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 protests on his phone.


CHURCH (on camera): Clarissa Ward reports on the people challenging the military.


CHURCH (on camera): Disturbing new development out of Myanmar, where fighting has erupted along the border with Thailand. The rebel Karen National Union says, it has taken control of an outpost operated by Myanmar's military. Myanmar human rights group said, more than 700 people have died since February's coup and around 3,400 are detained.

When CNN's Clarissa Ward visited Myanmar earlier this month, she heard firsthand accounts of beatings and torture. A warning, her report contains graphic images.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN 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 to defend 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 protests on his phone.

UNKNOWN: When we got, the commander tied my hands behind my back and used small scissors to cut my ears, tip of nose, my neck, and my throat. Then he let his fellow soldiers beat me 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.

UNKNOWN: I even told them to kill me, instead of torturing me, it was that painful.

WARD: Myanmar 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 the 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 to not reveal his identity for his protection.

UNKNOWN: They tried to brainwash us, there are soldiers who only believe 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, in the names of protest leaders, given by their performance.

UNKNOWN (through translator): 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 intentionally broke his rifle so it wouldn't fire. But says it was the cruelty to the families of the protesters that finally broke him.

UNKNOWN (through translator): They were crying when we raided their houses, and beat them. The neighbor's new to, 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 to. The youngest one I saw was around 10 or 11 years old, a boy.

WARD: Despite the ferocity of the military's crackdown, Myanmar's pro-democracy movement is still very much alive. The young protesters ordeal lasted three long days during the endless beating he said he had one focus, staying alive, so that he could protests once again. Clarissa Ward, CNN.


CHURCH (on camera): And as the death toll mounts. And more reports of human rights abuses emerge, activist are criticizing the lack of effective action so far. A U.N. official says there are ways to stop the Junta, but it will require a global response.


TOM ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: The U.N. Security Council could take a resolution, put it before the body, we have a debate and vote, up or down, they could establish coordinated sanctions. They could establish, they could refer (inaudible) and others to the international criminal court for investigation and prosecution.

There are many options that are there. But you need to politically vote 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 that countries of the world should be imposing tough, focused, coordinated sanctions. There should be international arms embargo.

And if it can't be done through the United Nations, the governments could work together, coordinate and cooperate together and link those sanctions together so that they have the greatest possible impact on the Junta. The Junta has a very, very large military. They are proud of it. 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.


CHURCH (on camera): U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar, Tom Andrews speaking to CNN earlier.

In Nigeria, the bodies of two more kidnap students have been discovered, making it a total of five Greenfield University students killed by their abductors. 20 students and three staff members were kidnap from the school last Tuesday. It's the latest in a (inaudible) of kidnapping by armed groups looking for ransom money. Nigeria's president is calling them barbaric terror attacks. CNN's Stephanie Busari, has our report.



STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN PRODUCER (voice over): Fear, is a currency Nigeria's blooming kidnapping industry trades on. This video filmed by kidnappers and posted online to pressure families into paying ransom. In rural northern Nigeria, incidents like this are become all too common.

But, in the (inaudible) family also, no more than most, what it feels like. In February, 15 year-old Habiba was asleep in a bed when the kidnappers came.

UNKNOWN (through translator): They fired guns, some of them came into to the school, they came and took us away. Taken from her dormitory in (inaudible) State she and 278 of her schoolmates were made to walk all night through the forest to the kidnapper's camp.

What they found there was unimaginable, four of her own family members who had also been snatched from their homes, including she says, her sister, and father.

HABIBA ILIYASU, KIDNAP VICTIM (through translator): I cried but my sister told me to stop crying, because when you cry here, you got beaten. But was to be no joyful reunion.

UNKNOWN: I would look at here, because I was afraid, because she is my daughter. And as a result Hamhar or Hamni.

BUSARI: (Inaudible) says, he was regulatory bitten by his kidnapper. One attack him with a machete.

UNKNOWN: He wanted to cut of my hand.

BUSARI: He tells us they demanded around $25,000 be paid in ransom for his family's freedom. There's been a recent surge in kidnapper's targeted schools. Nearly 800 children had been taken in the past four months. International outcry over the (inaudible) kidnappings by Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, in 2014, help make schools a lucrative target.

Many of these criminal gangs known locally as bandits, are not agitating for political, or religious ideology. The motive is simply is to make money, and lots of it. These gangs target every day Nigerians, and many of the countries road networks have become no go zones for commuters.

SHEHU SANI, FORMER NIGERIAN SENATOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Just in the last 5 years, even at rough estimate, over $100 million have been paid by either individuals or organizations, to terror groups or to bandits for ransom. And thousands of people have also been killed.

BUSARI: Nigerian authorities, have long denied paying ransom to kidnappers. But recently, the president spoke out blaming local governors for quote, rewarding bandits with money and vehicles. Many say, the federal government, also, has a part to play in improving security in rural areas.

For the Iliyasu family, a moment of relief when first Habiba and her schoolmates were released. And then shortly after following more than three months held in a forest her father was allowed hope. Like many others across parts of Nigeria, they now live in fear for (inaudible) to pay for their freedom. Stephanie Busari, CNN, in Northern Nigeria.


CHURCH (on camera): And much more ahead here on CNN Newsroom, do stay with us.


CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back everyone. Well, less than three months now until the start of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and organizers have restarted test events with athletes to see how prepared they are.

CNN's Blake Essig has more.



BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 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.

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 the (Inaudible) zone, only 12 journalist are allowed in at any time. As a result because of COVID-19, this virtual set up I O'NEAL: option being considered to allow equal access to athletes.

When it comes anti virus 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.

What 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 its 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.


CHURCH (on camera): Ukraine has marked 35 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Commemorations were held Monday, to remember the victims of the world's worst nuclear accident. 31 people died in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, millions more were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation across Europe. And tens of thousands were forced from their homes. Ukraine wants Chernobyl designated as a UNESCO world heritage site which could mean more funding and more tourists.


OLEKSANDR TKACHENKO, UKRANIAN CULTURE MINISTER: As importance of Chernobyl zone is far away comes out from Ukrainian borders. (Inaudible) because it's not on their both memory memoirs, its commemoration, but it's also about history, about rights of people.


CHURCH (on camera): The abandoned nuclear plant was becoming popular with adventurous tourists before the pandemic. And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church, I'll be back with more news in just a moment. Do stay with us.