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U.K.'s Indian Diaspora Pitch In to Help During Crisis; India Suspends Export of Vaccines to Other Countries; Canada Approves Pfizer Vaccine for Children 12 and Up; Centrist Yair Lapid Tasked to Form Next Government; Interview with Ukrainian Foreign Minister; Chinese Rocket Debris Expected to Crash into Earth Soon; India Reports Record Number of New Cases, Deaths; U.S. Backs Waiving COVID-19 Vaccine Patents; Nepal's COVID Nightmare. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 6, 2021 - 01:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Studio 7 at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Hello. I'm John Vause.

Ahead this hour:

The U.S. president versus big pharma. The White House now supporting a waiver on COVID vaccine patents -- in theory, allowing any country to begin vaccine production.

India's COVID crisis might just be a preview of what is yet to come across the region. New infections already at record highs in many countries like Nepal. The hospitals are struggling to cope.

Ukraine's foreign minister opens up on strained relations with the Trump administration, Rudy Giuliani playing politics and the growing threat from Russia. A CNN exclusive coming up this hour.

As it often is at this hour, we have breaking news from India which continues to report staggeringly high numbers of new COVID infections and deaths. More than 412,000 new cases and just shy of 4,000 deaths in the past 24 hours. This is just for Thursday.

And this second wave only likely to get worse. A new model from the Indian Institute of Science predicts at least a total of 400,000 fatalities, almost new cases by early next month. That's about double the current numbers and would place India far above the U.S. in terms of total infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

So, many people are still taking risks and potentially spreading the virus. Crowds have gathered for religious festivals in the western state of Gujarat, mostly without face masks. Police have arrested at least 30 people for violations of COVID restrictions.

Medical supplies continue to arrive to help ease the suffering. Nine Indian navy warships artillery aid from Persian Gulf countries and around Southeast Asia. And in New Delhi, hospitals are going to court to petition for

desperately needed oxygen as supplies run short. Doctors and opposition politicians are blaming government mismanagement.


PRABHSAHAY KAUR, LAWYER: It's extremely unfortunate our central government and our state government cannot find it in themselves to bury whatever issues they may have with each other, politically or otherwise, and work together just to save people's lives. Even this extent of death and destruction can't beat them both together. It is very, very sad.


VAUSE: The Indian government has just approved an antibody drug treatment for emergency use on COVID patients. It's the same cocktail former U.S. President Donald Trump received when he was in hospital last year.

More details now from CNN's Vedika Sud reporting from New Delhi.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A projection model from the Indian institute of science estimates nearly 50 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 400,000 COVID-19 deaths could be recorded by June 11th this year. This means India could see more than two times the cases it currently has, and almost double the fatalities.

According to a study, a 15-day lockdown could bring down the numbers. While India is in the midst of a second wave, India's health ministry Wednesday said the country should prepare for a third wave, which they say is inevitable. The Indian government has strongly denied media reports of delaying distribution of global aid to the country.

The government says it has installed a streamline mechanism for allocating aid, nearly 4 million donated items have been distributed to 30 health care facilities according to the health ministry. Indian health officials on Wednesday reiterated that foreign aid to help tackle the country's brutal second wave is being sent to hospitals with an immediate need. Several hospitals across India's national capital region are still sending out emergency messages on social media for oxygen supplies.


VAUSE: Our thanks to CNN's Vedika Sud for that report.

And for more on this human catastrophe, Barkha Dutt, a "Washington Post" columnist and editor of the YouTube News channel Mojo is with us now.

Barkha, thank you for taking the time. We really appreciate you being with us.

BARKHA DUTT, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Thank you for having me, John.

VAUSE: So, India had a two-speed or two-tier health system before the pandemic. One which was held together by duct tape, another with some of the best-trained doctors in the world, first ranked medical attention if you have the money. There's also huge capacity for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, pharmacy of the world, all that kind of stuff.

That did little to slow this virus, mostly because it's lack of planning. That didn't help. But will happen to India's neighbors which compared to India was maybe with the exception of China, even have less capacity to cope with this kind of outbreak?


DUTT: Well, John, isn't it ironic that a country that produces 60 percent of the world's vaccines is currently struggling to get enough of our own citizens vaccinated to take us off the second wave of catastrophe that is unfolding, where Indians are dying on the streets of my city and cities like mine across India.

You know, what I want your audience to understand at this point is that we are confronted not with a natural situation where the second wave is hitting us, you know, in a way that we weren't prepared for it.

On the contrary, our government has shown a singular lack of humility, accountability, and truth-telling. Every Indian wants to know where the vaccines, where are the vaccines? Why haven't we ordered enough? Why did we purchase enough?

Why are we at our lowest vaccine rate ever when people are dying on the streets and hospitals are being denied oxygen? I think that's the question that most Indians are asking ourselves today.

VAUSE: Another question people are asking as where is the international aid? Planeloads of PPE, medical supplies, they start arriving a week ago. CNN's reporting that local and state officials say they've seen none of them.

DUTT: Well, you know, I think we know a lot of the aid came in on the 25th, and for 7 days, it just laid where it was at airports awaiting a plan as to how it should be distributed. If this is not criminal incompetence, if this is not shameful bureaucracy, I don't know what is.

And this as hospitals are losing patience in ICUs, including doctors, we've seen horrific videos. I've tabulated five incidents in the last 10 days myself where people are dying off from COVID, but because the high flow oxygen needed to treat patients is not reaching hospitals on time.

At the end of it, you have the foreign minister travel to London, having to isolate for the G7 because two members tested positive, and basically blamed societal attitude and defended the holding of elections to the spirit of carnage (ph), mass gatherings, religious congregations, it is absolutely appalling this kind of tone-deafness, this kind of lack of sensitivity, this kind of lack of, you know, coming -- coming and talking to you citizens honestly. We're not even getting that from the government at this point.

VAUSE: And just very quickly, because as this virus spreads beyond India's borders, will these countries around the region draw a direct line back to the Indian government as a cause of blame?

DUTT: Well, I think they might, but I think that Indians are more concerned right now with just getting through surviving the second wave. To me, it's absolutely bizarre that they are warning us about the third wave without giving us a plan to take us to the second wave.

I also urge the world right now, I understand in the short term, the globe is shutting its borders to India, but the virus has taught us over the last 15 months, it has a way of mutating, of jumping over borders. It's a porous being.

We are very glad to see the Biden administration actually wave off those patents, those intellectual property rights. But that's still a long haul, a medium haul.

In the short term, John, I do want your audience to understand we are in the middle of an unprecedented human catastrophe and we are going to see many more people die through the month of May.

VAUSE: So, there's no preparation for the second wave. There's a third wave coming. There's been no announcement of what the government is actually doing or prepared to do, telling the people want to do.

And among those who've lost their lives recently is your father. You wrote about his death in your column in "The Washington Post" on Wednesday, I think it was. Here is part of it.

I think my fathers twinkly eyes and broad smile, his liberal mind, feminist soul that gave his two daughters wings to fly, bringing us up as a single dad. My mum, a journalist, died when I was in my teens. Between my grief and rage and loss, I remember that my father used to say often: what cannot be cured, must be endured.

India has endured tragedy on a massive scale before, but never like this. How will it recover from something this -- of this scope?

DUTT: I think, in India, like my pain, millions of Indians are in pain. But that pain is turning to fury. It's turning to rage.

We want to know why we are being put to this. We want to know why our government is not speaking to us with either compassion or truth. And we want to see a plan.

And many people have given up faith in the institutions of civil administration to work. Many, including myself, now believe that we need the military to take charge of operations of supply chains, of war rooms. There's no coordination between the center and the state, and we cannot play within your lives anymore, more than we already have. VAUSE: Just very quickly, is there a lack of seriousness, or -- from

the government? How do you explain it?

DUTT: I think I explain it not as a lack of seriousness, but about a kind of brazening through, a powering through in a brazen, insensitive sort of way, basically believing that this is all about image management. Even in the midst of this crisis, there's been meetings on how to handle the Western media's coverage of this crisis farther than saving lives in the cities. So, I think the government has got its priorities all wrong.

VAUSE: Barkha Dutt, thank you so much. I'm sorry about the loss of your father and I hope you are coping okay. I know you tested positive there for the virus. So, we wish you all the very, very best.

DUTT: Thank you, John. Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: It's a pleasure.

DUTT: Take care.

VAUSE: When he was running for the White House, candidate Joe Biden said he would support lifting trade restrictions on COVID vaccine so they could be shared globally. On Wednesday, his administration made good on that pledge with U.S. trade representative.

The administration believes strongly international property protections but in service of ending this pandemic supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

The head of the World Health Organization was ecstatic, called it a monumental moment in the pandemic battle.

The proposal to waive the protection was made by India, supported by South Africa. Now more than 100 countries around the world support it.

This graphic shows how many countries don't have enough doses for their population.

In theory, giving their patents to other countries or the intellectual property will allow them to make their own versions of the vaccines.

Major drugmakers have lobbied against waivers. The head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of Americas issued this dire prediction after Wednesday statement from the White House.

In the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Biden administration has taken unprecedented steps that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety.

Joining us now from the great state of Tennessee, is Dr. William Schaffner an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Schaffner, welcome. It's good to see you.


VAUSE: So, almost immediately after the president Joe Biden supported waving patents on COVID vaccines, you know, the cries of protests and agony from big pharma could be heard around the world. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers said it was simply the wrong answer to this problem because it will not increase production, or provide practical solutions needed to battle this global health crisis. On the contrary, they, say it's likely to lead to disruption.

If you look at Pfizer, for example, which needs to store their vaccine it's 70 below freezing, and most countries which are short of vaccine supplies, that isn't possible on any significant scale. So, wouldn't the fact that, you know, it'd be a better option to share the formula with local manufacturers, who could then produce the amounts of vaccine which they want to distribute and their infrastructure can then deal with.

Is that not a practical solution?

SCHAFFNER: Well, my understanding is not only do you have to share the intellectual property, that's the patents, but you also have to provide some technological transfer, to show those countries how they can actually manufacture the vaccine. And then, the notion would be that supply would be increased down the road as more countries are able to get into the manufacturing game. At least that's the hope. And it's certainly the humanitarian impulse.

VAUSE: Meantime, in London, after a meeting a foreign ministers from the G7, there was a joint statement, they promised to work on promoting partnerships between companies and encouraging voluntary licensing and tech transfer agreements, the ones you are talking about, but on the mutually agreed terms.

This statement seems to be kind of weak tea compared to the extent of the crisis in countries like India, Nepal, Pakistan, other places around the world.

SCHAFFNER: Yes. Well, of course, it's the beginning, right? In addition, there are other countries that are beginning to share vaccines as well as things such as oxygen supplies that India needs right now, this evening.

So, I think there are multiplicity of things that can be done. Some are short term, medium term, and long term. Actually, down the road, this could be a precedent if you look down the road far enough for the next pandemic. So there won't be this holding back. There is now a precedent for sharing intellectual property with countries around the world.

VAUSE: We are moving to that point, but not only have a small number of the wealthiest countries seen here on the map shaded in green, stockpiled more than 80 percent of global vaccine, but also refusing to share information with poorer nations so they'd be able to produce their own supplies and significant numbers. So, as you say, moving to a point where maybe there would be this

universal sharing, but right now it seems not only unethical to do both, but very much not in the best interest of those richer nations to not share the information about vaccines.

SCHAFFNER: Well, that's exactly correct. You know, it's in our best interest also. We need to dampen this outbreak, this pandemic around the world.

Every time the virus multiplies, it can mutate. If he mutate, you create a variant. Variant can evade the vaccines and come back to the richer countries and create, once again, another round of infections.


So, it's not our humanitarian interest, it's in our practical interest to help those countries dampen their outbreaks. So they don't come back to bite us.

VAUSE: Meantime, in other news, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's first quarter earnings are out and what do you know? Saving lives and getting rich, $3.5 billion dollars in revenue came from COVID vaccine alone, with a proper margin in the range of 20 percent. That means almost a billion dollars net profit. To put it another term, that's $10 million a day, every day for three months. The money just keeps coming in and it would generate around $26 billion by year's and.

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson both received public funding, Pfizer did not. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca promised to produce millions of doses and silhouette cost. Moderna which did receive public funding, hundreds of millions of dollars, simply get it, we want the money.

So, at the sort of different levels I think they behave sometimes, but is Pfizer the bad guy in all of this?

SCHAFFNER: Well, Pfizer has done a terrific job in developing the vaccine and getting it out. There isn't any doubt. But they've also reaped the benefits, right? The financial benefits.

I don't think they can pose now as the international good guys and be the bad guys at the same time by kind of withholding this intellectual property and their technological knowledge when obviously we're facing a global crisis. I don't think they're board of trustees, their board of directors would be very happy with that.

VAUSE: It's a long way from the company which during World War II distributed penicillin to U.S. soldiers.

Dr. Schaffner, it's great to see you. Thank you.

SCHAFFNER: My pleasure.

VAUSE: A struggling economy and a pandemic restrictions have combined to cause an explosion of anger in Colombia. Dozens reported dead after a days of violent clashes between demonstrators and police. The protests originally began over tax increases, a plan the

government long since abandoned. But now, demonstrations have broadened into a wider movement against inequality, growing levels of poverty during the pandemic and a brutal police crackdown on protesters which Amnesty International has called alarming.

Police say more than two dozen police stations in Bogota have been attacked. At least one set on fire.

Stefano Pozzebon has more now from the Colombian capital.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice-over): For the eighth straight day, protesters have flooded the streets of Colombia.

JENNIFER PEDRASA, COLOMBIAN PROTESTER: Twenty-one million people were in poverty, and that is something we cannot ignore.

POZZEBON: For people like 25-year-old National University student leader Jennifer Pedrasa, what started as a protest against the now recalled tax reform plan introduced by President Ivan Duque that opponents argued will disproportionately affect middle and lower income families has turned into a rallying cry of anger not only against inequality, but also against police brutality and handling of the pandemic response.

PEDRASA: Instead of listening to our arguments the government decided to send the police and the national army to our protests and that is something we cannot accept because the protest is a fundamental right.

POZZEBON: Videos of anti-riot policemen using tear gas and batons to push back protesters going viral on social media, with the Colombian government sending in the military to the city of Cali, the site of the worst violent clashes so far. At least 24 people have died, hundreds more injured in clashes across the country as tensions flair seemingly with no end in sight.

Demonstrators and human rights groups are now calling for an inquiry into the protest death. With Amnesty International releasing footage on Wednesday showing what it says is live ammunition being used on unarmed protesters.

CNN has reached out to the Colombian government seeking response to Amnesty's footage. But complicating the issue violent retaliation from demonstrators, protesters torching these Bogota police station with people inside, injuring at least 15 officers.

President Duque, while on one hand calling for a national dialogue, also firing back, putting the blame on rioters and criminal elements within the protest crowds, while facing criticism even from inside his own party, including his mentor, former President Alvaro Uribe.

IVAN DUQUE MARQUEZ, COLUMBIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Nothing justifies the fact there are arm people protected by the legitimate desire of the citizenry to hold civic marches go out and shoot defenseless citizens and cruelly attack our policeman. We Colombians are better than this. We reject violence and respect the laws.

POZZEBON: Celebrity activists are also weighing into the fray. Latin star J. Balvin saying on Instagram: We need help, Columbia needs help, SOS.


Colombian pop star Shakira amplifying the protesters calls with a tweet, saying bullets will never be able to silence the voices of the one who suffers. And we must not be deaf to the clamor of our own.

And Columbian singer, songwriter and actor Maluma posting on this Instagram, we are living sad, painful moments. Intolerance and uncertainty have taken over our lives, he said.


POZZEBON (on camera): Violence erupted once again in the streets of Bogota. This square just behind my back in front of the Supreme Court and Congress, it's finally been cleared by the protesters are saying they will be back tomorrow and the day after until their demands are met.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


VAUSE: Britain's Royal Navy is now patrolling the coast of the island Jersey amid concerns of a possible blockade by French boats as tensions rise over post-Brexit fishing rights.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged his unwavering support for the self governing island. France has threatened to cut electricity out of the jersey government, put new restrictions on fishing vessels. Jersey's minister for external relations says he wants to heal the relationship as soon as possible.

Still to come in Nepal, a burgeoning crisis that looks terrifyingly familiar. COVID cases are soaring, hospitals bursting at the seams. Very people are vaccinated. We'll head a town along the Indian border where people are fighting for their lives.

And a little later, CNN will speak exclusively with Ukraine's foreign minister ahead of the sit-down talks with the U.S. secretary of state. Look at what the urgent issues are which they plan to discuss.


VAUSE: India's second pandemic wave has predicted to only get worse in the coming weeks. And now comes right of a possible third wave. For health experts right now, they believe misery in India could be a preview of what has yet to come across South Asia. Cases in many countries are already way up.

The steep spike in Sri Lanka has the government expanding pandemic restrictions. More than half of the country's districts are under some kind of lockdown, that includes the capital.

And Nepal once again hit a daily record for new infections. Military is building a makeshift hospital and the army may recall retired medical staff to help deal with a flood of new COVID patients.

CNN's Anna Coren covering all of this, the very latest, live from Hong Kong.

Anna, if videos unable to cope with this pandemic in the second wave, many neighboring countries have little chance against it.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, absolutely, John. It really is quite frightening. Of course, the focus has been on India, but the outbreak there pouring across the border into Nepal. Aid organizations describing a human catastrophe and a sounding alarm bell.


This is a country of almost 30 million people, you know, very impoverished. And cases as you mentioned reach record infections, record deaths. In the last month, infections have risen 57 times. And the test actually conducted, there has been a positivity rate of 44 percent.

Now, as we know, testing would be very limited. So, once again, a massive undercount. Hospitals overflowing. There is a desperate shortage of everything required to treat COVID patients. The prime minister of Nepal is pleading with international donors to come to their aid to prevent a worsening humanitarian crisis.


COREN (voice-over): In a hospital in the Nepal city of Nepalgunj wedged up against India, people are fighting for their lives. Nearly 300 beds are filled with COVID patients. And health officials fear the catastrophe unfolding across the border could be heading to Nepal.

DR. PARAS SHRETHA, SENIOR PHYSICIAN, COVID-19 ICU WARD OF BHERI HOSPITAL: We have lack of doctors, the main power. We have no more beds left now in hospital. It's very hard to manage patients.

COREN: Shintaz Ali (ph) lost his 21 year old daughter Anisha (ph) to COVID. Now, his wife is infected and battling for her life in ICU.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's been 7 days since I lost my daughter. She was beautiful and very active. Doctors, nurses, and everyone loved her.

COREN: Her death now one of many. According to the hospital, up to 4 people die from COVID here each day.

Frontline workers are not immune. Dozens of medical staff have also been infected.

SHRESTHA: I'm really worried I might get infected with COVID. COREN: This hospital is one of only two assigned for COVID patients

in Nepal's Banke District, which has been seeing around 400 new cases a day. Of the 4,000 active cases, UNICEF says that 90 percent of the people are in home isolation.

The government blames the porous border with India as the reason for the spike.

Jamuna is one of 13 border crossings currently opened for Nepalis returning from India. Up to 1,500 people are making the crossing each day

DR. SAMIR KUMAR ADHIKARI, MINISTRY OF HEALTH JOINT SPOKESPERSON: Once the cases were increasing in India, gradually the cases being in turn (ph) to Nepal. It's very hard to stops all the mobility within the two country.

COREN: The government says initially districts along the border saw a spike of cases. But now, they are exploding throughout the country of almost 30 million people. Nepal has seen a rise of more than 1,200 percent in average daily COVID cases since mid April. And nearly 40 percent of the country's cases come from the capital.

In an effort to curb the spread, authorities imposed a 2-week lockdown in Kathmandu last Thursday. Before the lockdown went into force, thousands fled the city to return to their villages, an exodus health officials believe could spark a national emergency.

ADHIKARI: It can carry the viruses to the village, and it can spread the virus to the senior citizens in the village.

COREN: For Nepal's already struggling health system, officials fear this surge in COVID cases could be detrimental.

SHRESTHA: If the number of cases are going to increase, the health system, the hospital are going to be collapsed.

COREN: For Shintaz Ali (ph), he has little time to mourn his daughter. As he prays for his wife's recovery, it's his 3-month-old granddaughter and her future that he now must focus on.


COREN: Just an update on Shintaz Ali's wife who is in ICU. We contacted him this morning. His wife is stable. So, some good news for a family that is grieving.

Now, John, as we know, Nepal is heavily reliant on the tourism industry and the climate community. In particular, there have been outbreaks at Mount Everest, cases reported there. And just recently, Mount Tulageri (ph) close by to Everest, 19 people have had to be evacuated from that mountain, climbers as well as staff because of an outbreak of COVID there, John.

VAUSE: Anna, thank you. Anna Coren, live for us, bad news from Nepal. Thank you, Anna. So, Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong has been sentenced

to another 10 months in jail for taking part in last summer's Tiananmen Square vigil. The event is held every year to commemorate the 1989 crackdown new, but police banned the event in 2020, citing the coronavirus outbreak.


The 24-year-old was among more than two dozen activists charged with participating in the unauthorized assembly. Along with three others he pleaded guilty and was already serving 17 months in jail for his role in two other unauthorized assemblies in the protests in Hong Kong two years ago.

Still to come, thousands of miles away from India's COVID crisis, Indian doctors living in the U.K. are still doing whatever they can for family and friends back home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the moment I am looking after five, six, seven, nine -- 11 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds like a full-time job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm spending seven hours on the phone every day.


VAUSE: Also, rising cases, a shortage of hospital beds in Osaka could force Japan to extend a state of emergency, raising new questions about the Summer Olympics. Live in Tokyo in a moment.


VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us, everybody. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Well, the outlook for the coming weeks in India is for more misery, more suffering, more lives lost. On Thursday more than 412,000 people were infected. This is in 24 hours. Almost 4,000 died.

India's Institute of Science predicts the number of confirmed cases and the death toll could double within the next five weeks. They're now recommending a 15-day lockdown.


K. VIJAYRAGHAVAN, PRINCIPAL SCIENTIFIC ADVISER TO INDIAN GOVERNMENT: A phase 3 is inevitable, given the high levels of circulating virus. But it's not clear on what time scale this phase 3 will occur. Hopefully incrementally, but we should prepare for new waves.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Well, they may be thousands of miles from home, but that does not mean they're thousands of miles away from this latest crisis in India. Doctors from India working in the U.K. are now finding unique ways to help their family and friends back home.

CNN's Scott McLean has details.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For two straight days, they've been peddling in the shadow of Britain's largest Hindu temple. They're a long way from India but the coronavirus crisis there isn't far from anyone's mind. It seems everyone here knows someone trying to find oxygen or medical help, even some who've died without finding either.

ROSHNI SONEJI, CYCLING TO RAISE MONEY: You know, when you are talking to your relatives, absolutely. You do feel really helpless. But I think that's where, in any way possible, that we could help.

PRAFUL DEPALA, CYCLING TO RAISE MONEY: Myself and the wife had COVID. My father, who's in his eighties had COVID. And he was in hospital for 20 days. So I know the value of oxygen since there are no oxygen. So it's a very personal thing for me.

MCLEAN: Nearly 800 cyclists pedaled a virtual relay to Delhi and back, raising more than $800,000 to help provide equipment, hospital beds, and oxygen to people in India. All from just three temples in the U.K.


MCLEAN (on camera): The ties between the U.K. and India are endless. In fact, India is producing many of the vaccine doses that have made the U.K.'s vaccine rollout such a success.

It's been so successful, that some are now calling on the British government to slow down that rollout, to send doses to India. The government though, so far, has said no.

LAYLA MORAN, BRITISH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP: Will the minister now commit to both increasing the money the U.K. gives to COVAX, much that as we need to do more. But to also start sharing vaccine doses through COVAX now, today?

DR. TUSHAR AGRAWAL, SURGEON: What a vaccine does is it prevents COVID. Now, we are already passed that stage. We are at a stage where people are not getting treatments. I think that should be the immediate focus.

MCLEAN (voice over): That's exactly the focus of Indian born doctors Tushar Agrawal and Abhay Chopada.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you feeling all right?

MCLEAN: Surgeons by day, but using any spare moment to treat friends, family, and total strangers in India through remote medical appointments from their homes in London.

(on camera): Neither of you begrudge the British government for saying we don't have enough to share right now?

AGRAWAL: Not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Grudging is not the right thing to do for anyone.

MCLEAN (voice over): The patients they are seeing remotely have had little or no success getting in-person medical attention in India.

AGRAWAL: At the moment, I'm looking after five, six, seven, nine -- 11 people.

MCLEAN (on camera): Sounds like a full-time job.

AGRAWAL: Well, I'm spending seven hours on the phone every day.

MCLEAN (voice over): Reassurance is key, telling people when they should or should not venture out to India's overrun hospitals.

DR. ABHAY CHOPADA, SURGEON: I could see what his heart rate was, what his oxygen saturation was, what his respiratory rate was. Effectively, you are saying, you don't need to leave your home.

AGRAWAL: This is the time that you need oxygen.

MCLEAN: Dr. Agrawal has already told several family members to go to the hospital, but they can't find a bed. Three others have died in just the past week.

(on camera): It must be more draining, given that it's your own family?

AGRAWAL: Exactly. Yes, it makes you feel a little more helpless because, you know, what's the point of you being a doctor if you can't even help your own family?

MCLEAN (voice over): Feeling helpless, but trying to do their part.

Scott McLean, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: Well, the fallout from India's human catastrophe is slowly and surely being felt around the world. With domestic supplies of vaccines running low, India has now stopped exports to developing countries which are part of the WHO's COVAX program.

CNN's David McKenzie reports now on how that will impact many countries across Africa.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The awful consequence of a COVID-19 tsunami. It's forcing the Indian government to ban all vaccine exports to COVAX -- the global vaccine alliance -- so it can give patients' doses to its own people, immediately impacting at least 19 million COVAX doses.

The crisis in India is causing a crisis here, Kenyan and other African nations were lives depend on COVAX are running out of vaccines. And tour guide, Martin Mutisya (ph) is one of the very last Kenyans to get his first AstraZeneca shot.

MARTIN MUTISYA, KENYAN TOUR GUIDE: It feels a big moment, feeling excited. I think I just have to wait and see what happens.

MCKENZIE: Kenya got around a million doses from COVAX, produced by India's Serum Institute. Kenya's supply dries up in days.

I am concerned because there are supposed to be two shots, I am concerned. But if it doesn't happen what is our scenario.

UHURU KENYATTA, KENYAN PRESIDENT: I want to assure you that nobody who has taken their first dose is going to miss out on their second dose.

MCLEAN (on camera): Does this worry because it seems that it could be a scenario that the second doses don't come in time?

RUDI EGGERS, W.H.O. REPRESENTATIVE KENYA: So (INAUDIBLE) it worries me and very clearly, the second doses will not come in time.

MCLEAN (voice over): A senior humanitarian official familiar with COVAX's plan told CNN that the Indian vaccine supply isn't expected to resume until June at best or even later.

And the millions of AstraZeneca doses promised by the Biden administration won't be enough or come soon enough.

Neither will Moderna's vaccine. Up to half billion doses will be supplied to low and middle income countries, but not until later this year.

(on camera): Right now there isn't equal access, so what is the impact of that?

DR. WILLIS AKHWALE, CHAIR, KENYAN VACCINE TASK FORCE: The impact of that is that maybe we are going to prolong this pandemic much longer than it would have happened if there was equal access.

MCLEAN (voice over): Researchers at Duke University tracking dose availability say the vaccine freeze could have catastrophic consequences with some African countries facing yet another wave of the virus.

ANDREA TAYLOR, DUKE GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: They did put a lot of eggs in this (INAUDIBLE) basket and that was a strategic error given that what has happened in India was entirely predictable. It should not have caught any of us by surprise.

MCLEAN: COVAX maintains it's trying to diversify its supply, but it maybe too late.

David McKenzie, CNN -- Johannesburg.



VAUSE: And according to the W.H.O. a new variant of the coronavirus especially the double mutation first detected in India is why this wave of the pandemic appears to be spreading with unprecedented speed and claiming more lives.


MARA VAN KERKHOVE, COVID-19 TECHNICAL LEAD, WHO: The factors that are driving the increased transmission are virus variants, and we have another a number of virus variants that are circulating. Some are of concern in a global level. Some of them are on our radar. We call these variants of interest.

We have a vaccine rollout, which is very uneven. It is incredibly inequitable around the world and their slow rollout even in countries that do have the vaccine. And we have a lot of fatigue.

Governments want to open up societies which we all want, but if they are opened up too quickly and you increase social mixing, the more people come in contact with each other. If the virus is there it will circulate. It will take off.

That combination is very dangerous. And 16 months, 17 months into a pandemic, having the highest numbers of cases reported each week is not the situation that we need to be in.

But we do need to learn where we can. We need to course-correct where we can. And we need to have the hope that with all of the tools the public health tools plus the vaccines, we really have a shot at controlling COVID.


VAUSE: COVID cases also on the rise in Japan and CNN's Blake Essig is now with us live in Tokyo.

Blake, we are looking at a situation where they could be extending the state of emergency in a number of areas not just the capital and also a dire situation in Osaka, the city there with hospitals reaching capacity.

What more is happening?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes John, you know, medical experts tell me specifically in western Japan that the medical system has completely collapsed in Osaka. According to the government Web site, the hospital bed occupancy rate has maxed out 103 percent, nearly 3,000 people are still waiting to be hospitalized and since the fourth wave of infections started back in March, at least 17 people have died from COVID-19 outside of the hospital.

In Hyogo (ph) there are also people dying outside of a hospital waiting to be -- to be seen. There are currently about 2,000 people waiting for hospital beds and Hyogo. Now nationwide, despite the case count going down, the number of patients with serious symptoms is climbing setting a new record nearly each day this week.

The majority of serious cases has focused on the densely populated areas of Japan like Hyogo, Osaka, and Tokyo.

Now, in Osaka to deal with the number of people waiting, the government has opened up two medical centers for those people who can't find beds. The vast neighboring prefectures to accept patients with severe symptoms and to put out a recruitment notice for nurses.

A state of emergency order was declared in Osaka and several other prefectures nearly two weeks ago, but in Osaka and Hyogo, there are now talks of extending the current state of emergency order by a month and that decision is expected to be made tomorrow.

Now, all of this happening with less than three months to go before the Olympics. In fact, just yesterday, a test event was held in Sapporo, the same day a medical -- a state -- excuse me a medical state of emergency was declared. So a record number of cases were reported earlier in the week.

And while organizers remain determined to hold a safe and secure games, infectious disease specialists that I've spoken with have told me that they simply do not think it is possible the idea of bringing in tens of thousands of participants from all over the world with variants continuing to form.

It's just a horrifying -- a horrifying thing that could potentially happen here in Japan, John.

VAUSE: Yes. Blake, thank you. Blake Essig there.

I guess we're going to find out if they hold the Olympics and no one comes, what will it be like. Thanks, Blake.

Canada is taking the lead on approving the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 and up. The country's vaccine rollout is ramping up but the supply is still low so children probably will not be vaccinated for at least a few weeks now.

Paula Newton has all the details.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Canada says it is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in children as young as 12. Now, this could really be a game-changer here, especially as this country continues to deal with a punishing third wave of this pandemic.

You know, the vaccine rollout, it's been slow, they've been lacking doses. A lot of that is about to change especially with so many doses of Pfizer now coming into the country over the next couple of months.

An issue here though is still the AstraZeneca vaccine. And Canada is now reporting three -- three fatalities of those rare blood clots that could be linked to the vaccine. It happened in three individuals that had just been vaccinated.

You know, health authorities here stressed, look, this is an incredibly rare occurrence. And given the fact that the infection rates all over Canada really, in most places in Canada is still so high, they are saying that, look, when you look at the risk benefit analysis, it is still better to get any vaccine that has been offered.


NEWTON: That has raised some controversial points here in Canada, especially as we see those rare events. And at least one province here, New Brunswick, is saying they want to review AstraZeneca and they will not rule out halting its use altogether.

Paula newton, CNN -- Ottawa.


VAUSE: An Italian court has convicted two American students of murdering an Italian police officer in a botched drug deal two years ago.

Both men were sentenced to life in prison, the strictest punishment under Italian law. Police say the officer was stabbed at least eight times when he tried to recover a stolen backpack from one of the accused. They claim it was all self-defense.

The officer was just married six weeks before he was killed. The widow says she hopes the convictions will help others who are seeking justice.


ROSA MARIA ESILIO, WIDOW OF MURDERED OFFICER (through translator): This verdict is the result of a long and painful process that will not bring Mario back to me. It will not bring him back to life and it will not give us back our life together.

Today is the first step towards a new justice and Mario will be an example for those who need justice.


VAUSE: Defense lawyers say they are planning an appeal.

Up next CNN has an exclusive interview with the Ukrainian foreign minister, what he says about the investigation into Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and what he was doing in Ukraine.

Stay with us, please.


VAUSE: Well, the seemingly impossible job of forming a working coalition in Israel is now with the leader of a centrist opposition party. Yair Lapid has just four weeks to cut a deal with politicians from across the political spectrum, all with their own ideologies, demands and huge egos.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed -- tried and failed, I should say -- to form a coalition. Lapid has not ruled out a unity government. In fact he says Israel needs that political stability after the past two years which saw four elections.

The Knesset is divided between those who are for and those who are against Netanyahu. And the longest serving Israeli prime minister had this prediction if his political rival should succeed.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): It's a simple truth. It will be a dangerous left-wing government, a lethal combination of a lack of way, incompetence, and irresponsibility.


VAUSE: Here is the rub. If Lapid fails to form a coalition government, Israel could see a fifth election in the next few months.

Israel's most -- America's, I should say, most senior diplomat is about to sit down with his Ukrainian counterpart just an hour from now. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is in Kiev, as a sign of support for Ukraine which is facing Russian aggression on the borders.

Ahead of that meeting, CNN's Matthew Chance sat down with the Ukrainian foreign minister for an exclusive interview.



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ahead of the secretary of state's visit his Ukrainian counterpart who's putting his best fists forward. There are uncomfortable issues in the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship like the activities in Ukraine that Rudy Giuliani, former President Trump's personal lawyer ahead of the 2020 U.S. election -- issues Ukrainian officials would prefer to ignore.

(on camera): Do you believe he may have been engaged in criminal behavior?

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, I'm not a lawyer to make my judgment on the criminal nature of his behavior or the --

CHANCE: How would you characterize it?

KULEBA: -- or the absence but he was definitely playing politics, and he put the situation at risk for Ukraine. And for Ukraine's relationship with United States. And we did our best to avoid that trap and to maintain that bipartisan security with bipartisan support from the United States.

CHANCE (voice over): But Ukraine is again under withering scrutiny with the FBI investigating the former New York City mayor with alleged actions regarding Ukraine.

(on camera): Can you tell us has the FBI or any other investigating agency in the United States approached Ukraine for assistance with that investigation into Rudy Giuliani?

KULEBA: Not to the best of my knowledge, I'm not aware of any formal legal process that has been initiated, recently.

CHANCE (voice over): Even if there was, Ukraine has for years desperately avoided being drawn into the toxic U.S. political battle.

In fact, as the U.S. Secretary of State paid his first visit here, Ukrainian officials want their own battles to be the focus, especially with a Russian armada assembling off their Eastern Seaboard. The Kremlin insists they're naval drills posing no threat.

CNN has learned Ukraine has a shopping list of weapons it wants from Washington, including air defense stems and anti sniper tech. Crucial say officials, with so many Ukrainian troops being gunned down on the front lines. The question is, will Secretary Blinken and President Biden, who says he wants to find a stable path with Russia offering Putin a summit later this year summit, risk inflaming Russia-Ukraine tensions.

(on camera): In the Obama administration when Biden was the vice president they didn't even provide lethal weaponry to Ukraine for fear of provoking Russia. What do you think has changed? Has anything changed?

KULEBA: My impression is that the Obama administration is about the past and Biden administration is about today. And this administration is more committed, more result -- more resolute in containing Russia.

CHANCE (voice over): How far that U.S. resolve extends in Ukraine will soon be put to the test.

Matthew Chance, CNN -- Kiev.


VAUSE: When we come back, find out why you need to keep an eye on the sky for the next few days.



VAUSE: Well, mission accomplished, the real time, not the end of Iraq wartime for George Bush. For the first time ever, SpaceX's Starship Mars prototype has nailed landing. The SN15 (ph) rocket launched from South Texas on Wednesday going 10 kilometers in the air before descending safely onto a landing pad.

Five spacecraft have attempted this landing before, but this is the first time it's been done successfully. The earlier prototypes ended in disappointing explosions which looked really cool during the landing.

Starship is the launch vehicle SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes will carry the first human being to Mars. Plenty of people to go.

Around and around and around it goes, where the massive piece of Chinese space chunk lands, nobody knows. The U.S. is tracking debris from a Chinese rocket as it falls from the sky out of control. Space agencies, as a rule, try not to leave great big pieces of junk in orbit that could fall back to earth. But not this particular rocket.

And it's not the first time either. Last year, a huge chunk of space debris, again from a Chinese rocket passed over New York City and landed in the Atlantic Ocean.

CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, we're looking for the space junk. Keep an eye up, right? Where is it going to be?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There is plenty of it. There absolutely it, you know and this is going to be the big question here as we kind of get to the final few hours on Saturday into Sunday on exactly where this particular debris of this rocket is going to end up.

And you take a look, it is a mess out there in space, upwards of some 4,000 portions of satellite, decommissioned satellite, of course. They have rocket boosters, shelves, even parts of tools that are left behind.

Of course, every so often, you get asteroid and meteors that approached the earth and as they do they often come in as a more oblique angle, meaning at a pretty sharp angle here to where the atmosphere consumes a vast majority of that particular object.

Now, this particular rocket is quite a bit larger than most asteroids on approach towards the earth. So of course, there is concern that portions of it will survive reentry and make it back on land.

So you take a look, you take these 4,000 pieces out there of space junk, equates to about 9,000 tons of space junk or about 720 school buses.

This particular rocket comes in at about 20 tons, the largest, the heaviest since 1991 to reenter our planet's atmosphere. The concern is, of course, with it being the size equivalent to about 15 sedans, that parts of it are going to end up somewhere on land, somewhere on earth. You noticed top 5 larges we've had on record. Of course, you take a look at the orbital path of this and here you go, wide area of approach and astronomers think that within the last hour of approach or so, we'll get a good idea of where it ends up.

But you'll notice, anywhere from Los Angeles, New York City, Mexico City, Lagos, Nigeria, Beijing, or even Sydney -- it's fair game here. Keep in mind, 70 plus percent, John, of our planet are oceans so this could end up and likely will over the water or very close.

We'll watch it here closely over the next couple days.

VAUSE: So in other words, they got -- haven't got a clue where it's going to end up? Thanks, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Yes, exactly.

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

Please stay with us. Rosemary Church will take over after a short break.

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