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India's COVID-19 Crisis; Thousands Rally in Support of Brazilian President; China's Vaccine Rollout Facing Challenges; Taliban Claim Responsibility for Deadly Blast; Sarajevo COVID-19 Crisis Harks Back to Bosnian War; Crossing the World's Longest Pedestrian Bridge; SpaceX Astronauts Return. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 2, 2021 - 00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, thanks for your company.

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, desperate for each and every breath, hoping that it's not the last, India's COVID crisis is nothing short of a catastrophe.

Sarajevo under siege, a country no stranger to war now battles another type of war with an invisible enemy.

And later, on the long journey home, 4 astronauts are back home to Earth this hour after a record-breaking mission.


HOLMES: And we begin in India where COVID-19 now spreading faster and farther than anywhere in the world. The country adding more than 300,000 new cases for the 11th straight day. The capital of Delhi has extended its lockdown to May 10. More than 6 million new infections have been added in the last month.

Think about, that 6 million and it's only getting worse. The country's health care system has nearly collapsed under the strain. Hospitals have run out about of everything they need to keep patients alive, especially oxygen.


HOLMES (voice-over): And so it was a welcome sight as about 100 tons of liquid oxygen rolled into a city south of the capital. It will provide some short term relief but far more is needed. Right now, India relying on tons of emergency international aid to see it through this crisis. One of the shipments was 150,000 doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which was only approved for use in India just last month.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong following all of this.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Michael, the world's worst outbreak of COVID-19 continues to burn across India. On Saturday, India surpassed 400,000 new cases of the virus for the very first time and we just learned in the last few minutes that India has recorded 3,689 deaths.

That is the single highest rise in the COVID death toll. This marks a 11th day of over 300,000 cases. Experts report that that number is most likely underreported because of the cremations and the woefully inadequate supply of COVID testing kits inside of India.

And those grim statistics as we just mentioned translates into gutwrenching stories of tragedy on the ground inside India, stories of families going from clinic to clinic, hospital to hospital, looking for any intensive care beds. Medical workers begging for basic supplies, like oxygen, like medicine.

Family members wearing hazmat suits as they grieve and mourn for their loved ones. Experts say that the best hope for India right now is its vaccination program. It started in January of this year; it has been woefully slow. Only about 2.1 percent of its total population of 1.3 billion people have been vaccinated.

We learned that even though they have widened their vaccination program on Saturday so adults 18 and up can be vaccinated, less than 85,000 people were vaccinated yesterday. So they have to rely on other countries, including Russia; 150,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccination have arrived -- Michael.

HOLMES: And more of these travel restrictions have been announced. India being pretty isolated in all of this.

STOUT: India is getting increasingly isolated as more travel restrictions and even temporary travel bans have been announced. The Biden administration has announced that, as of Tuesday, travel will be restricted from India going into the United States.

We also heard from the Australian government that anyone who travels from India to Australia could face jail time, including Australian citizens.

We know that strict travel restrictions have been announced by nations like Germany, U.K., Italy. And the number of nations that are just suspending travel, banning travel, that list is getting longer, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and New Zealand -- Michael?


HOLMES: All right, Kristie Lu Stout, thanks, in Hong Kong for us there.


HOLMES: Dr. Vidya Krishnan is a writer and a fellow at Harvard University.

Vidya, really appreciate your time. Your article in "The Atlantic" is in many ways a powerful indictment of the issues with health care in India, long term issues, which COVID just really exposed, not caused. Tell me what prompted you to write the piece.

DR. VIDYA KRISHNAN, HARVARD FELLOW: Well, I am from Delhi and I already knew from people on the ground that the health system was collapsing. This is the national capital of India and it's not one of those countries without resources. It's one of the richest cities, where the most powerful people in India live, including the prime minister.

And the fact that we were running out of anything from oxygen to beds to just about everything you can think of made it very clear to me that this is not an issue of resources, it's not an issue of money. It's an issue of what we as a country value and prioritize.

And under this current administration, it just seems to be unscientific thinking and all sorts of things that cumulatively affect our health policy. And that is the reason why I wrote that article.

HOLMES: It's a powerful piece. In, it you write about India suffering from, in your words, "moral malnutrition." I was fascinated by that. Tell me what you mean.

KRISHNAN: Just to be clear, I said India suffered from moral malnutrition. But the story headline was here's what happens when rich people don't do anything. So I think it's a microcosm of what's happening in India's health care system where the apartheid in my country is based on caste and class.

What the pandemic has done has made it impossible to look beyond the class warfare. The rich have access to health care and the poor are dying. The oppressed castes do not have opportunity to the same facilities that the rich upper class have.

It's just the case of India but when you extrapolate it, this is true for the rest of the world. The oppressed races do not have access to the same health care.

HOLMES: That's an excellent point; it's not just India that has 2 tiered health care, if you like. It's something that is a global issue.

In India, many of the poor don't have many options. Have they, as many have said, been abandoned by their government in many ways, left to fend for themselves, while political rallies continue, while the political class does fine?

KRISHNAN: India's darkest hour right now, the only saving grace is Indian citizens helping each other. The Modi administration is entirely missing in action, so while you see photos of the health care system collapsing, the health ministry is missing.

The private people have to come out and ask for beds on Twitter. It shows there is no governance. In normally civil society (INAUDIBLE) the health ministry. But it's not just the health ministry that's missing. The entire central government that we have a federal structure and the entire administration is just missing, because they're not scared and panicked.

This is the result of a year of unscientific thinking, where they were promoting yoga and homoeopathy and ayurveda, cow urine, as a cure for coronavirus.

HOLMES: It is true, ministers were talking about cow urine and yoga to defeat the virus, that's exactly right. We have less than a minute left. But I want to get your thoughts.

If you were able to change things immediately going forward, what needs to happen now?

KRISHNAN: There's a lot of aid coming in now from everywhere in the world and there's a lot of goodwill coming in. But I cannot stress how two things need to happen immediately.

One is the pandemic response has to be moved out of the Modi administration to a nonpartisan committee, which is part of civil society, which has opposition leaders but most importantly has scientists.


KRISHNAN: The second most important thing has to be at this point to not enforce (INAUDIBLE) COVID technologies, because the pandemic is (INAUDIBLE) also in Brazil. All the (INAUDIBLE) nations, Black and Brown nations, are showing exponential curve in the mutant type (INAUDIBLE) who got vaccinated in the U.S. and are currently in India and have been infected by the mutant variants.

So if we keep having this conversation about patterns, the mutants are just spreading, every mutant variant is spreading everywhere like wildfire.

HOLMES: I wish we had more time. We don't, Vidya Krishnan, thank you so much for your time.

KRISHNAN: Thank you for having me.


HOLMES: A worrying perspective in many ways.

As we have been reporting, only a tiny fraction of India's population is fully vaccinated. And with the virus racing through crowded cities and towns, some health experts are saying the only good option is another nationwide lockdown. Here's what America's Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Indian Express.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: One of the things to be considered is to temporarily shut down, I mean literally lock down, so that you wind up not having more spread.

And no one likes to lock down the country, well, that's a problem if you do it for 6 months. But if you do it just for a few weeks, you could have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak.


HOLMES: That was Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking with the Indian Express.

From South Asia to South America, where the virus is also, of course, surging. As Rafael Romo shows us, doctors and nurses in Uruguay are being pushed to the limit.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Intensive care unit Dr. Monica Laudi (ph) says some patients are hard to forget.

"It's hard to cope with what I've seen. I can't get it out of my mind," she says.

Laudi (ph) works at one of the main hospitals in Montevideo, Uruguay's capital. The country is now dealing with a new wave of COVID-19 cases. And even though these doctors say they try their best, their survival rate at this hospital is not very encouraging.

"Eighty percent of those with a ventilator die," he says. The mortality rate for those without one is 50 percent.

For most of April, Uruguay, a country with 3.5 million, had the highest infection rate in the world. It still remains near the top and, according to Uruguayan Intensive Care Medical Unit Association, ICU admissions tripled in the last month.

This situation forced hospitals, both private and public, to increase the number of beds equipped with ventilators by 23 percent in an effort to avoid a collapse.

After working long shifts and days off for months, only one word can describe how health professionals feel.

"Overwhelmed," she says. That's the word. If there is a sliver of good news, it's that all of these doctors and nurses, as well as those in charge of maintenance and cleaning, are fully vaccinated.

But that doesn't make their jobs any easier, especially, they say, because their work entails walking a very fine line between life and death. Life outside these ICU walls is also getting increasingly hard to live, Dr. Laudi (ph) says.

"It always takes me a while to realize that I am no longer here and to embrace my life outside the hospital," she says.

Once out of the hospital, nurses and doctors at this ICU say something that especially bothers them is the fact that many people fail to realize that the pandemic is not yet over, crowding parks, shopping centers and stores that have reopened.

"It's 2 different worlds," she says. "People seem to be oblivious to our reality inside the hospital."

"Sometimes I wish people would come here and walk in our shoes so that they understand what is really going on," this ICU nurse says.

According to the Pan American health Organization, one in 4 global deaths from the virus has occurred in the Americas. Uruguay, together with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina have reported a sharp rise in infections.

Back in the intensive care unit, doctors and nurses remain focused on saving lives. They keep on trying their best because they know some of these patients may not be here when they return tomorrow -- Rafael Romo, CNN.


HOLMES: Uruguay's giant neighbor to the north, Brazil, struggling as well but that didn't stop thousands of Brazilians showing up in Sao Paulo to show their support for the president, Jair Bolsonaro.


HOLMES: Brazil has the second highest official death toll in the world. And Mr. Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for downplaying the severity of the pandemic all along. Former president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva is expected to run against him in next year's election.

Chinese leaders are offering India a helping hand, all while struggling to vaccinate their own people. CNN's David Culver shows us what they're up against.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the streets of Beijing, China's effort to vaccinate its residents is on full display. Shops in the capital city, using precious windows space to advertize something other than sales and business hours.

CULVER: This is what they're posting outside some of these places. You can see here, this is one sign and it says, 100 percent of the people who work inside the shop have been vaccinated.

CULVER (voice-over): Another sign, saying that 93 percent of those working in this Beijing bank have gotten one of China's COVID-19 vaccines as have 90 percent of this restaurant employees.

"Well, it's for my personal safety," this woman tells us, "as well as for everyone's safety, for the safety of people's lives," she says.

CULVER: There's another side of this. That is to encourage others, perhaps, consider it peer pressure a bit.

CULVER (voice-over): After the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China's centralized government mobilized into wartime mode, combating the virus. From lockdowns, mass testing, the strict measures, seemingly, are effective and still very much part of the daily lives here, especially contact tracing.

CULVER: This one, for example, will let me register. And it comes up, saying I have no abnormal conditions. I show that to the folks who work inside, they then let me in.

CULVER (voice-over): The same measures, in place for some ride shares. Before your car shows up the app tells you the driver's recent nucleic acid test results and shows you if they have been vaccinated, not to mention, the vehicle disinfected.

CULVER: As soon as you get into a rideshare, you need to scan the QR they post, right on the back of the chair here. The driver here, showing me his, his is good. All right. And that means we are good to go.

CULVER (voice-over): But while China was ahead in stopping further spread of the virus, it's struggled to vaccinate its massive population of 1.4 billion people; whereas by April 25th, the U.S. gave out nearly 230 million doses, vaccinating nearly 30 percent of its population.

China had only administered about 225 million doses, far below the vaccination rate in the U.S. It has led to a propaganda push.

CULVER: Across Beijing, we see posters like this one put, up two in fact right next to each other, this one saying, people should get the vaccine, so it's to create the great wall of immunity, as they put it.

Then, to make it easy, they provide on this poster, the QR code that people can use their smartphones to scan, set up an appointment time and to get to that appointment, some communities are even offering a free shuttle.

CULVER (voice-over): The effort to vaccinate now spreading to expats and foreign media, living here in China, including us.

This Beijing museum, turned into a vaccination center, private rooms setup for each injection. Covering the original outbreak in Wuhan to now, all a bit surreal.

CULVER (from captions): Feeling a bit nervous, uneasy...


CULVER (voice-over): Yes, I think it kind of hits you after covering this for more than a year.

CULVER (voice-over): We received China's Sinopharm vaccine, though the company claims it's 79 percent effective, it has yet to publish detailed clinical trial data.

CULVER: So that's it, that's the COVID-19 vaccine?


CULVER: We're done.

And after receiving our second dose of the vaccine, our health kit was updated. I will show you what it looks like. In our smartphone app, you can see, it shows that we completed our immunization series, as they put it.

It allows us to show a certificate to officials, should we be questioned about our vaccination status.

Meanwhile, the question is raised, why is it that the vaccine rollout is struggling here in China?

There are a lot of factors playing into that. For one, China has been dealing with some of the concerns over transparency and a lot of skepticism with vaccine makers are not disclosing a lot of the clinical trial data. Another factor is that, for some of the folks here, they feel like, why get vaccinated when it is almost near normal?

It feels like life pre-COVID. In fact they, in many cases, live in this bubble that feels quite safe. And then, the third factor, playing into all of this, is vaccine diplomacy. That is, China prioritizing, early on, to export a lot of its vaccines and not keep them for its domestic population.

All of that, combined with trying to vaccinate 1.4 billion people is posing a challenge --


CULVER: -- David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, vaccinations finally started in the northwestern part of Syria, held by rebels. That is according to the manager of the medical initiative, trying to get those shots into arms.

Health care and humanitarian workers are among those getting priority and the group hopes to administer vaccines in hospitals and medical centers across Idlib province, as well as the north in Aleppo. The rebel held areas, able to get these coronavirus shots through the COVAX program, led by the WHO.

Still to come, on the program, clashes in the heart of Europe as May Day is marked around the world.

Plus, fierce fighting in Myanmar's border areas between the military and armed ethnic groups. A rebel leader, exclusively sharing his perspective to CNN, on the unfolding situation. We will be right back.



HOLMES: Welcome back.

Protesters. Around the world, turning out on May Day, to call for social equality and better working conditions. I want to show you the scene in Berlin, where police and demonstrators, clashed.


HOLMES (voice-over): Several fires, as you can see, were set. There are some reports that demonstrators threw bottles and stones at officers. At least 5,000 people, showing up for the rally, even though social distancing rules are still in effect.



HOLMES (voice-over): And, this is what Honduras looked like for May Day. Hundreds of workers, marching in cities around the country, demanding more vaccines against COVID-19. They accuse the government of acting too slowly against the pandemic.


HOLMES: Now in Israel, Sunday is a national day of mourning for the dozens of people killed in the stampede on Friday at a religious festival. Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, asking people to come together for the sake of the families and to pray for the well-being of the injured.

Mr. Netanyahu says that a thorough investigation will be instructed to ensure a disaster like this doesn't happen again.


HOLMES (voice-over): We have some scenes, showing the moments for when the joyous celebration turned to chaos; 45 people, crushed to death. More than 100 others, injured.


HOLMES: Now the Taliban, claiming responsibility for Friday's deadly blast in Afghanistan. Afghan officials say that a vehicle, loaded with explosives, detonated in Logar province, killing at least 21 people, wounding 91 others.

This, coming, of course, as the U.S. starts to withdraw troops from the country. Another of the wounded describes the blast happening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was at my tailor shop with others. We wanted to break our fast when, suddenly, a blast took place and shattered all the doors and windows of my shop. [00:25:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't remember what happened next.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, rescue teams are responding to a fire in Kabul, injuring 10 people. They say it began when a fuel tanker igniting and that blaze spread to other tankers. It's not clear why the initial one caught fire.

Pro-democracy protesters, in Myanmar, defiant as ever, three months since the military seized control in a coup.


HOLMES (voice-over): You can see, determination there. Heavy rain, not deterring this group in Yangon. Weather is far less of a concern than security forces often are, of course. Protests, have been brutally suppressed for months.

An advocacy group saying, more than 750 people have been killed, more than 4,500 detained.


HOLMES: The crisis in Myanmar, going far beyond clashes with protesters, since the coup, fighting has broken out between the military and armed ethnic groups in border areas. CNN spoke exclusively with the leader of the rebel army about the crisis in Myanmar. Paula Hancocks with that.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Late last month, ethnic armed fighters staged a surprise attack, and a intense gun battle ended with the fall of one of Myanmar's military guard posts in Karen state, along the border of Thailand.

The Karen National Liberation Army, taking eight soldiers prisoner, their leader speaking exclusively to CNN saying they're treating them humanely, treatment they wouldn't expect if the tables were turned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): I see the Burmese dictatorship is very evil, so I cannot feel, I cannot stay like that. So I want to tell all people my country here we need to cooperate together.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): The military has not acknowledged that any soldiers are missing but through state-run media accused the KNLA of violating the 2015 cease-fire, a cease-fire that ethnic groups say ended when the military seized power.

The military did say, there would be repercussions and within hours, airstrikes began on a terrorized population. Children's photos still hanging on the wall of this destroyed school,

a broken lesson schedule listing maths, English, science, a symbol of a routine that has been shattered. The villages have already fled, so no one was hurt in this airstrike. But most are now too scared to go home, in case the fighter jets return.

Humanitarian groups, believing that more than 20,000 are displaced in Karen state alone, hiding in the jungles.

This mother says, "My children have diarrhea and now, so do the adults. There is no clean, water or food."

This man says his 6-year-old son was killed in an airstrike. They buried him where he died.

He said, "When the fighter jets game, his grandmother took him far away from the home. The jet, dropped its bomb at the spot they had fled to. My son was injured and then died."

Some have tried to cross the border into Thailand but say they were pushed back by the Thai military. The border is closed, due to COVID- 19.

Humanitarian aid groups are calling on the government to allow them to cross. Thailand says it will provide aid but will not take sides. It has become a familiar sight in some of Myanmar's ethnic areas, deserted villages, livestock roaming free and fields, neglected. Planting season should start within weeks.

If it doesn't, the United Nations' warnings of rising hunger and desperation, will be exacerbated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): If we cannot destroy this government, we must feel we are not secure all the time. So we need to try to stop the regime like this. We need to destroy the dictatorship.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Fighting, this week is so close to the border, it can be seen from Thailand. Burning guard posts, lighting up the night sky. Then, dawn breaks on another day if violence in Myanmar -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Bangkok.


HOLMES: Several people dying in Colombia, as protests escalate over a planned tax hike.


HOLMES (voice-over): You can see there, thousands marching in several cities on Saturday. Clashes between police and demonstrators, breaking out in several areas. Protesters, demanding the government withdraw the tax plan. It called for increasing taxes on individuals, businesses, food and utilities. Also, eliminating some exemptions.

The president has since walked back parts of that plan.


HOLMES: As we've been telling you, India in the grip of a brutal second wave of COVID-19.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): I am so angry, because of disorganization.



HOLMES: The latest, after the break, along with an in-depth look at the heartbreaking struggle on the ground in New Delhi.




HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

India has reported the highest increase in daily deaths of the pandemic so far, nearly 3,700 in a single day. Officials also reporting over 392,000 new infections. Its 11th day that India's new cases topped 300,000.

The ongoing cases are filling up hospitals and causing shortages of critically needed supplies, including oxygen. The capital territory of Delhi has extended its lockdown for another week. This is for the second time, by the way. Aid meanwhile continues to roll in from the world.

These boxes filled with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Russia donating 150,000 doses arriving on Saturday. CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward has more from New Delhi. We must warn you, there is some graphic content.


WARD (voice-over): In Delhi now, you are never far from heartbreak. Almost everyone in this city has been visited by grief.

At this crematorium, the loss weighs heavily in the smoldering air and the dead are piling up.

WARD: There are bodies literally everywhere you turn here. I've honestly never seen anything quite like it. And the organizers say that, pre-COVID, they might cremate 7 or 8 people in a day. Today alone, they have already cremated 55 bodies. And it's not even lunchtime. WARD (voice-over): Just months ago, India's leadership boasted that

the country had effectively defeated COVID. Now it has set global records for new cases as a terrifying second wave ravages the country.

Jatinder Singh Shunti (ph) says he and his men don't even stop to take breaks. And still they can barely cope with the flow.

A volunteer approaches. They have run out of tables for the bodies, he says, then adds that his mother died from COVID the night before.

WARD: You must be tired?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Very. But this time is not for the rest.


WARD: Do you believe the government figures, the death tolls, the COVID figures that they're giving?

Or do you think the real figures are much higher?

WARD (voice-over): The numbers that you're seeing on television are the numbers of people who are dying in hospitals, he says. They are not factoring in the people who died at home in isolation. If those numbers are added, the actual number will go up by 3 times.

To keep up with those mounting numbers, the crematorium has been forced to expand, creating an overflow area in a neighboring car park.

Shiam Sharma (ph) is saying goodbye to his 45 year old younger brother.

SHIAM SHARMA (PH), BROTHER OF COVID-19 VICTIM: Last night I was thinking that his health is improving last night but suddenly the phone of doctor came on my mobile phone that your brother has expired.

WARD: Do you think his death could've been prevented?

SHARMA (PH): Yes, yes, I think we can save him in a better health hospital.

WARD (voice-over): India's health care system is at a breaking point; unable to cope with the scale of the crisis, its people to fend for themselves. This crowd has been waiting for 6 hours for the chance to get some oxygen. They can't rely on the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): My mother.

WARD: Your mother?

How old is she?


WARD: is her oxygen very low? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): She's in very critical condition.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions) -- and we are trying since morning but we are not getting the oxygen anywhere.

WARD: How many places have you been to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): 19.

WARD: 19?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since morning, since 6:00 am.

WARD: Have you tried taking her to the hospital?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are no beds.

WARD: There are no beds?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Before four days we have tried so much but we didn't get any beds.

WARD (voice-over): Pria Shavastiva (ph) was lucky enough to find her mother a place in a hospital, only to find out there was no oxygen.

PRIA SHAVASTIVA (PH), DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 PATIENT: (INAUDIBLE) and I am so scared whenever I think of my mom.

WARD: Are you angry?

SHAVASTIVA (PH) (from captions): I am so angry because of the disorganization. Our government is so careless, they even don't care about what public is suffering. They don't know what India is suffering. And there are so many people who are standing over there and fighting for this thing.

WARD (voice-over): Her mother is now in critical condition. Like many here, she feels completely overwhelmed.

For those who can't source their own oxygen, this is the only option, a drive-in oxygen center by the side of the road. A woman arrives unconscious in a rickshaw. Several hospitals have already turned her away. They simply didn't have the beds. Now she is relying on the kindness of strangers. Her sons work desperately to try to revive her.

WARD: This isn't a hospital or even a clinic. It's a Sikh temple. But for these people who have already been turned away from so many hospitals, this is their last chance at survival.

The leader of the Sikh charity that runs this facility says it gets no support at all from the government. He says he already had COVID twice. But he and his volunteers continue to work 24 hours a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): We want to save their lives. This is our heart's voice.

WARD: It must hurt your heart to see the way your people are suffering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Yes, madame, many times we cry also. What is going on?

WARD (voice-over): It is impossible to escape the tragedy of this vicious second wave. Coronavirus is ravaging the old but it has not spared India's young. The prime minister has announced that everyone over the age of 18 can get the vaccine. But with less than 2 percent of the country inoculated, that offers only a distant hope. So India's capital continues to burn.


WARD (voice-over): Suffocated by the rampant spread of this deadly virus, the city and a country brought to its knees, praying for respite -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, New Delhi.


HOLMES: Says a lot about the system and the situation in India, that people have been turning to social media to get help, finding hospital beds and things like oxygen. And they are using social media to tell their stories.


HOLMES (voice-over): This is an extraordinary photograph. This doctor went viral on Twitter after posting photos of himself in protective gear for work and then, when he took that gear off, soaked in sweat and adding the message, proud to serve the nation.

In his thread, the doctor wrote that health care workers are working hard and away from their families and at risk from being close to COVID patients. He also said getting a vaccination is the only solution and, at the end of his message, "Stay safe."

In Sarajevo, COVID-19 taking lives at an alarming rate, in fact at a pace not seen since the Bosnian War almost 3 decades ago. We will find out why.

Also, how a weekend of packed concerts is helping British officials get ready for a busy summer as the country's getting ready for reopening. We will be right back.




HOLMES: Hospital scenes in Sarajevo the, capital of Bosnia Herzegovina, are looking all too familiar. Almost 3 decades ago, 11,000 people died there during the Bosnian War and now people are dying of COVID-19 at nearly the same pace. CNN's Scott McLean reports.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the hills of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina's war dead are marked in row after row of uniform white graves, where the markers of one war end begin the headstones of another kind of war.

Last month, this cemetery in central Sarajevo could not keep up with the pace of burials, as a steady stream of caskets arrived from hospitals that were overwhelmed with victims of COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You couldn't see your enemy and a lot of people are dying because of that virus. That is really a war.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Dr. Ismet Givronka Petonovic (ph) is caring for the casualties of that invisible enemy, a quarter century after treating the gunshot and shrapnel wounds of the Bosnia war, a bloody conflict that raged for more than 3 years, killing thousands, leaving much of the country in ruins and bitterly divided along ethnic lines.

Today Sarajevo's been largely built but the country's ethnic divisions, invisible from above, are still entrenched down below in the system of government that requires Eastern Orthodox Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Catholic Croats to share power.


MCLEAN (voice-over): Some observers say the complex system designed to end the violent conflict and enshrined in the country's constitution has made it harder for the government to end this health care crisis, with regional governments struggling to coordinate a response.

During the, war 11,000 people died in Sarajevo alone but in recent months the pandemic has been taking lives at an equally shocking pace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) completely surrounded, a lot of injury and a lot of troubles but also in the last three months, in compared, it was also a very similar, so difficult situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Best doctor, best husband, best father, best brother, best son you could imagine.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Mediha Slatina's (ph) husband was an ER physician. In November, he battled the virus from a hospital bed for 16 days before succumbing. She not only lost her husband but also her father and mother-in-law all within the same week.

MEDIHA SLATINA'S (PH), WIDOW OF COVID-19 VICTIM: I don't know what to say. It was very hard, it was very difficult period of my life and we are still recovering.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Facing a record high spike in cases in March, local governments imposed curfews and restrictions. But the fragile economy can't afford to stay closed for long. At the first sign of declining case counts, shops and cafes reopened. Some now even serve indoors

Sarajevo's mayor is frustrated by a lack of vaccines. The government seemed to pin its hopes on the COVAX initiative and surplus shots from the E.U. that haven't materialized.

BENJAMINA KARIC, SARAJEVO MAYOR: I think that the worst possible thing is that this could be stopped the same way as the war could be stopped during the '90s. So I think that now we can buy vaccines, we have money to buy vaccines but we do not have a system.

MCLEAN (voice-over): It was only January before the government began negotiating directly with vaccine producers, falling well behind the European average, just as the country records more deaths in the first few months of 2021 than in all of last year.

Last month, help came from an unlikely source: tens of thousands of Bosnians streamed across the border to Serbia after it offered foreigners the chance to take the shot for free. But it will take a lot more than just goodwill to finally stop the virus and this invisible siege on Sarajevo -- Scott McLean, CNN, London.


HOLMES: British researchers are conducting an interesting experiment, allowing music fans to gather for a sold-out event without any COVID restrictions. As CNN's Cyril Vanier reports, it is the latest in a series of concerts that the government is studying to help officials plan how events might return the summer.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Would you just look at these pictures coming out of Liverpool in the U.K.?

Partying, almost like the last 14 months never happened. Thousands of people indoors, no face masks, no social distancing and authorities are fine with this. There were two day raves in a row on Friday and Saturday in Liverpool. The revelers all needed to show negative COVID tests to get in.

And they're also being asked to test again 5 days after the event to monitor any potential COVID infections. Also what the pictures don't show you is that scientists were there, measuring air flows in the room, because that is a factor in spreading COVID.

Nightlife in the U.K. has been shut for more than a year but it is expected to reopen in less than two months, along with large, live events, such as sports for instance.

So how do you prevent all those from becoming COVID superspreaders?

Well, these raves were part of a series of experiments to work out how to safely bring back crowds.

Liverpool also hosts a concert on Sunday, the Brit Awards, the musical awards here, will have a live audience this year. And in sport, there will be fans at soccer's FA Cup final, mid May.

The good news is that early results similar experiments abroad have been positive. In Barcelona, Spain, for instance, a concert brought together thousands of people, weeks ago and, according to the organizers, there have been no signs of an outbreak since then -- Cyril Vanier, CNN, London.


HOLMES: A group of intrepid explorers will be coming home in the next few hours from 200 miles above the Earth. We will have the latest on the return of the SpaceX Crew One, coming up.

Also, the reviews are in, the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge welcomes visitors. We will bring you reactions from the first brave souls to brave this incredible height.

Not me.





HOLMES: Talk about having some nerve, some folks, brave ones, are finally getting to walk across the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge. One resident in a town in northern Portugal, where it's located, overcame his fears.


HUGO XAVIER, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): I confess, I was a little afraid. But it was worth it because it is extraordinary, a unique experience and one that I highly recommend. It is indeed an incredible adrenaline rush, to be there, so high, to feel the bridge shaking a little, to look down and see the running river, it's incredible.


HOLMES: The rewards for making that scary walk are some pretty spectacular mountain views. And then, the river, yes, way down there and some pretty greenery and flowers along the way.

The bridge is 175 meters high, cost almost $3 million to build, took 2 years to build and locals hope that it will help the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four astronauts from the International Space Station are on their way back home, right now. Just a few hours ago, the SpaceX Crew One undocked from the ISS with 3 Americans and one Japanese astronaut on board. They are the first crew to reach the International Space Station on a

SpaceX Crew Dragon. If weather conditions remain good, the capsule Resilience, which is carrying the crew, should splash down literally, a few couple of hours from now, just off the coast of Panama City Beach in Florida.

We'll be bringing it to you as well.

Now the returning astronauts spent 5 months in the orbiting laboratory. It's the longest time in space by a crew launched aboard an American built spacecraft. Here is a little more about their mission.


HOLMES (voice-over): Space is supposed to be vast unless you are one of the 11 space explorers, posing elbow to elbow recently, on the International Space Station.

For NASA and SpaceX, it's one crew starting and another one ending, adding 2 cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut, who arrived on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in April and it was, officially, a full house in the floating space lab.

For over a week, the 11 stellar roommates bunked together in a place NASA said is the size of a six room house. The number record of people aboard the ISS is 13 set back in the space shuttle era. Still, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet (ph) from Crew Two, says it was a tight squeeze.

THOMAS PESQUET, CREW TWO (through translator): Six sleeping spots for 11 members of the crew, that means 5 camp out. There are people scattered around the entire module. We try to be mindful. People have been trained on that.

HOLMES (voice-over): Wiggle room will return to the ISS, with the departure of SpaceX Crew One. Astronaut Shannon Walker says she is proud of what her team accomplished since they arrived last November.

SHANNON WALKER, ASTRONAUT: I think about all of the science that we did and the repairs that we made and, boy, did we make some good repairs --


WALKER: -- we got it rewired.

HOLMES (voice-over): Crew One's return is the first night splashdown of the U.S. crewed spacecraft since 1968. But Walker says, her time aboard the space station is something she won't soon forget.

WALKER: What really is going to remain with me is the camaraderie and the friendship and the time that we've spent together.


WALKER: The laughing that we do over dinners, the movie nights that we've had, had truly made this very special.

HOLMES (voice-over): And if any returning astronauts feel a little nostalgic, they only need check out the images posted by Crew Two's Shane Kimbrough for a peek at the Earth's few Earthlings get to see firsthand. Crew One's completed mission is the first of 6 crew rotations to the ISS by NASA and SpaceX. Plans that should keep the ISS a busy place for years to come.


HOLMES: There may be no better sign to show things are getting back to normal or semi-normal in the United States, than the Kentucky Derby. Saturday's event didn't disappoint.

Crowds, gathering at Churchill Downs, to witness Medina Spirit nab another win for trainer Bob Baffert. Clearly, I was watching CNN's Andy Scholes, who was there.


HOLMES: And a happy birthday to Princess Charlotte, turning 6 today, May 2nd. Have a look at the photograph there, all decked out. Her mom, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, taking the photo over the weekend.

Happy birthday.

I'm Michael Holmes, I see you back here in an hour, "LIVING GOLF," up next.