Return to Transcripts main page


India at Epicenter of Asia's Worsening COVID Crisis; Bogota Mayor Calls for Young People to be Heard by Government as Protests Continue; Lebanon's Rising Food Prices Make for a Rough Ramadan; Argentina Battles Oxygen Tank Shortage; U.K., France Resort to Gunboat Diplomacy in Jersey Dispute. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired May 7, 2021 - 00:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Coming up, India bracing for a third wave of the coronavirus as its neighboring countries are hit with a surge in cases.


With food prices rising and an economy near collapse, it will be a grim Ramadan in Lebanon.

Plus, troubled waters off the island of Jersey. Small fishing boats and British warships, all of this, a post-Brexit feud. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause at CNN's world headquarters. In the hour ahead here, we'll have extensive coverage of Asia's COVID crisis. It seems the human catastrophe in India was just the beginning.

A deadlier and more contagious version of the coronavirus now spreading at unprecedented speed across the region. Hundreds of millions of some of the most vulnerable people in the world are now at risk. Most are not vaccinated and live in countries where healthcare systems were struggling long before the pandemic. And that means it's now just a question of how many will die before this is done.

We begin with the headline from India this hour and CNN senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson -- Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, India has broken another grim record. It has recorded more than 414,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and more than 3,900 deaths. That marks the tenth day in a row with a death toll in India of over 3,000 people -- John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Back to you in a moment.

Now, countries which share India's border are now on the front line of this crisis. CNN's Paula Hancocks, live in Seoul with that side of the story. Paula, what's the lead? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the head

of Nepal's Red Cross says that what's happening right now in India is a horrifying preview of what could be Nepal's future if they don't get a handle of this latest outbreak. But as one of the world's poorest nations, it does appear ill-equipped to deal with this crisis.

VAUSE: Paula, thank, you.

The Tokyo Olympics just months away as infections again surge in Japan. Hospitals are filling, and CNN's Blake Essig is in Osaka, which appears to be ground zero. Blake, a headline.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, nationwide, the case count here in Japan does seem to be going down. And that's the good news.

But the bad news here is that the number of patients with serious symptoms is climbing. In fact, a new record has been set nearly every day this week, pushing Japan's medical system to the breaking point.

VAUSE: Blake, thank you. Back to all of you in a moment.

Now India's numbers are staggering. More than 21 million infections. As Ivan Watson mentioned, more than 400,000 new cases. Almost 4,000 deaths on Thursday.

Now the pain and loss is ripping at the country's very social fabric. CNN's Sam Kiley reports doctors and nurses who are trying to save lives are now the focus of anger from so many who are growing increasingly desperate.


SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frantic, knocking on the door to an intensive care unit for COVID patients. There's confusion among relatives and police.

When they push inside, what they find is horrific. The ICU has been abandoned, except for its patients. And they're all six dead, before the doctors left.

A voice says, "Everyone ran away. There are no medicos here. There's no one here, no doctor, no guard. How can doctors run away, leaving patients? There are crimes been committed here. How can you leave them?" He yells at a police officer.

There's been no crime. There has been a tragedy. Medical staff were ordered out of the ICU and to hide when the oxygen ran out.

(on camera): It's little hospitals like this that really form the backbone of the public health structures right across India. They're very much on the forefront of the COVID pandemic, dealing with the patients. But also dealing with the emotional fallout.

(voice-over): It's that fallout that caused them to briefly flee. Here's why. (SHOUTING)


KILEY: Four days earlier, bereaved relatives of another deceased COVID patient attacked staff, forcing calls to the police from doctors. When the oxygen ran out in the ICU a couple of days later, another attack on the doctors began.

DR. SWATI RATNORE, MEDICAL DOCTOR, KRITI HOSPITAL: Fifteen people attacked us. We were sitting. And then I asked, I requested my doctors and staff, you please run away and hide on the third floor until I manage the situation, because I don't want to get them hit at any cost.

KILEY: COVID cases have soared past 20 million in India, with the official death toll climbing towards 4,000 a day. Many people have died through lack of oxygen.

There is growing anger at state and national governments. But it's often medics who bear the brunt.

RATNORE: Please help us, understand us, love us, respect us, because everyone can be on the ICU bed any hour of the day. You have to need doctors to supply the oxygen to the patient. If you hit them, then who will take care of your patients?

KILEY: Her staff are back at work and the ICU again filled with patients. There is ample oxygen here, at least for now.

But as scientists are warning of a third Indian pandemic wave before the second has even peaked, anger and fear will continue to grow.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Gurugram.


VAUSE: Now to Ivan Watson, live in Hong Kong with more on the situation in India.

The concern now is not the second wave, but a potential third wave. Do we know what's being done ahead of that? Is the government even capable of looking beyond this immediate day-to-day crisis?

WATSON: It's still scrambling to deal with the growing numbers, with no real sign or understanding of when the peak of this deadly second wave is going to happen.

As you're pointing out, there was an adviser to the government who's warrant of this third wave, and he's warning the government to start preparing. But it's still under pressure to try to deliver the mandatory, the so necessary supplies for helping people through the current crisis.

For example, you've had the supreme court, which has issued this edict that the government needs to provide at least 700 metric tons of oxygen to the capital, Delhi, per day. And you've got the chief minister of the city saying that they're only receiving about half of that. So that's one of the challenges that they're facing.

We are seeing more and more states around the country either establishing lockdowns or extending them. Banning the wedding ceremonies, for example, that are such an integral part of Indian culture and society through part or most of the month of May.

We are also seeing signs, anecdotally at least, that some of the vaccine hesitancy that had been prevalent not too long ago is fading as scenes from one southern town of crowds of people lining up to try to get their vaccines, and states that had to delay their expansion of its vaccine program. Uttar Pradesh has announced that it is moving forward on being able to administer vaccines to anybody over the age of 18.

And in the meantime, John, we have so many examples of these improvised and ad hoc efforts to try to help a society in real crisis. I want to take a moment to listen to a rickshaw driver in Delhi, in the capital, who's providing an ambulance service to patients and relatives of patients. Take a listen.


RAJ KUMAR, AUTO-RICKSHAW AMBULANCE DRIVER (through translator): New Delhi is choking under COVID-19. And I'm providing this auto-rickshaw ambulance service to help the public. If anyone wants to come and go from the hospital, if any patient who is not getting the ambulance service or the relative of any patient who wants to go to their home.


WATSON: John, back to your question of is the government ready. It has been coming under criticism. The Indian health ministry put out a statement denying reports that some of the donated assistance that was coming from overseas is being held up in customs, saying that some 3,000 oxygen concentrators that had been shipped in are not, in fact, according to the health ministry, being held in a customs warehouse, but have been distributed.

Those are the types of comments and statements we're getting from different government departments, John.

VAUSE: OK, Ivan.

Well, from the latest in India, Let's head over now to Paula in Nepal. She's covering the story on Nepal. This is a country which is at the northern border of India. It's seen a very significant surge in the number of coronavirus cases.

The rate of the spread there right now, Paula, is the same pace as India was just a few weeks ago. So if in India, it was a case of failing to prepare, Nepal seems to be unable to prepare, because it doesn't have the same vaccines and the medical supplies.

[00:10:04] HANCOCKS: That's right. John. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. It doesn't have a sophisticated healthcare system. It doesn't have the lifesaving resources that could help it battle this kind of outbreak.

Now many experts are saying it was probably inevitable that this was going to spread to Nepal, given that -- that large porous border that it shares with India. But there has been criticism that the government could have done more to try and control it ahead of time.

So what they've done at this point is that they have stopped international flights. They've stopped domestic flights, as well. But that border is still effectively open with India. There are 15 of the borders, the land borders still open.

And when people come to that border, only Nepalese citizens can come through. They have a test there and then. And if they test positive, then they're put into a quarantine center.

But the fact is experts say that the virus is already spreading significantly within the country. So this was a measure that was put in place too late.

But just to give you an idea of what they are up against, John, the sort of ill-equipped healthcare system that they do have. They have, according to official figures back in May, just over 1,500 ICU beds and 480 ventilators. That's for a nation of some 30 million people. They could be about to deal with what India is dealing with now.

Now, the government has tried to remedy that. We know there's 20,000 ventilators and oxygen cylinders that they have ordered from overseas. We don't know at this point when exactly they'll be coming into the country, but certainly, there is a scramble to try and -- and cope.

We see images coming out of Nepal of the hospital beds in the corridors, with patients on, some outside the hospitals, as well, because there's simply no room left outside.

And as I said, the head of the Red Cross in the country is saying that this could be a horrifying preview of -- of what could happen in Nepal, what we are seeing right now in India, saying that people are dying every minute -- John.

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks, appreciate that.

And we may soon find out what happens if they hold the Olympics and no one turns up. Tokyo Games less than three months away, but right now, the government there is predominantly worried about whether or not a state of emergency will be extended into Tokyo and other areas. A decision on that expected sometime today.

CNN's Blake Essig is live with us now from Tokyo. So Blake, this is a situation which is now sort of focused on the city of Osaka, where there are -- the hospitals are filled. There seems to be overcrowding already with -- in terms of COVID-19 patients. Why Osaka and how does that impact the rest of the region? ESSIG: Well, John, it's virus variants. Look, Japan's medical system

in some spots has completely collapsed, specifically in western Japan: in Osaka, in Hyogo. People are dying at home. There are thousands of people waiting to be hospitalized or enter a care facility.

Medical experts say that the problem is hospitals are already struggling to deal with the sheer volume of sick patients, lacking enough beds and adequate staff.

and with Olympics set to take place in less than three months, experts feel that the Olympics could take the entire Japanese medical system as a whole past its breaking point.

Now the International Olympic Committee isn't mandating vaccinations, and here in Japan still less than 1 percent of the population has received two doses of the vaccine.

The concern from infectious disease specialists has to do with variants and what could happen when tens of thousands of people from all over the world come together for the games.

Now, doctors are already struggling to keep pace with the current number of cases. I was told that there's a -- if there is a significant increase in severe cases like what we're seeing in India, that it's not impossible to see a similar situation happen here in Japan.

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

And as I had mentioned earlier, nationwide, despite the fact that the case count is going down, the number of patients with serious symptoms is climbing. And officials say virus variants are becoming dominant, with cases among younger people in their thirties and forties who are getting seriously ill also on the rise.

Now a state of emergency order was declared in Osaka, Tokyo, and several other prefectures just two weeks ago, and a decision, as you had mentioned just a few minutes ago, John, is expected later today regarding whether or not to extend and expand that state of emergency order for about a month.

VAUSE: When they decided to postpone the Olympics last year because of the pandemic, then-Prime Minister Abe said it would be a shining moment, a reason to celebrate humanity emerging from this crisis.


Clearly, that is not the case right now. International visitors are not turning up for the games. This will essentially be athletes and locals competing.

What is the feeling on the ground there right now? Is there a feeling that possibly, it's too late to cancel, to delay again? Do the people of Japan actually want these games to go ahead?

ESSIG: You know, John, these games for a long time now, and more so now than ever, remain deeply unpopular here in Japan. And it's really easy to understand why.

You know, when talking to people, not only medical professionals but also just people on the streets, the idea that the Japanese government, Olympic officials are putting the health, safety, and well-being of the Japanese public at risk to hold these games in the middle of a pandemic, just really doesn't sit right with the people that live here.

Again, I've talked to infectious disease specialists who have told me that as -- as Japanese citizens, they want to hold these games and have them be successful, but as infectious disease specialists, there's no way that these games should take place.

The idea, again, of bringing tens of thousands of people from all over the world, as variants are popping up all over the place, bringing them into the Olympic Village, where, yes, some will have vaccines, and they're going to have -- they have their -- their playbook, with COVID counter measures put in place to track these athletes and whatnot.

But you have roughly 70,000 volunteers who haven't been vaccinated here in Japan, who will be going in and out of that bubble on a daily basis, going back onto public transportation, interacting with the public.

And so the possibility for an Olympic-sized super-spreader event is -- is a real possibility. And that's what concerns people.

Again, the health, safety and well-being of the Japanese public, it seems, is being pushed aside. You know, whether it's for financial reasons to move forward with the games, political reasons, again these are all things that you hear from people all the time.

But again, the big concern here is that these games look like they are going to happen, even though the vast majority of people don't think that they should.

VAUSE: Blake, thank you. Blake Essig there in Tokyo. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, and Ivan Watson in Hong Kong. Thanks to all three of you for starting us off this hour.

Well, as this crisis continues, there are ways you can help those in India cope with the COVID outbreak and also around the region. Please go to our website, And there you can find out just what you can do.

Still to come, across Colombia, often violent protests have been escalating for more than a week now. The mayor of the country's capital city among those now calling for change.

Also ahead --


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the economy collapsed, his monthly salary of 400,000 lira was more than $260. Now just over $30, little more than $1 a day.


VAUSE: With less money and prices rising, it will be a painful Ramadan for many in Lebanon. We'll find out how they're coping when we come back.



VAUSE: More than a week of violent demonstrations in Colombia have left at least 25 people dead, and a vigil was held Thursday night in their honor. Hundreds have been hurt, as well. They're speaking out against police brutality. And the mayor of the country's capital has additional reasons why so many have turned out on the streets.


MAYOR CLAUDIA LOPEZ HERNANDEZ, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA: At this moment they have high levels of poverty, high levels of unemployment. This is an extreme unequal society. And they want to be heard. They want to be heard at the table with the president, not only with political parties, or other social forces. The young themselves, they want to be empowered and heard, and their voice has to be heard at the national level at the national government.


VAUSE; For more now we head to Bogota and Stefano Pozzebon, who has the very latest.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Infections remain high in Colombia after nine consecutive days of protests. And yet again, these (UNINTELLIGIBLE) protesters took to the streets, protest against the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and also to protest against police brutality.

Here we are at a nighttime vigil to mourn the victims of these marches.

And on Thursday, the Colombian interior minister said that at least three policemen were issued arrest warrants for their alleged involvement in the death of three protesters. But when CNN asked him if he would welcome an independent, international body, perchance the United Nations, to look and investigate the actions of the Colombian police, which is one of the key demands of the demonstrators who are taking part in this national strike, the interior minister refused to answer. And the roots of this conflict run deep in Colombian history and all

across Latin America, which is why it's not just demonstrators but government officials, as well, who are making bold calls for action to address the inequality that is fueling these protests.

CNN spoke on Thursday with the -- Bogota's mayor, Claudia Lopez, who made this call for action. Take a listen.

LOPEZ HERNANDEZ: We all need to contribute to a national democratic agreement, a kind of new deal. Right? A kind of martial plan. That's what Colombia and I will say Latin American countries need at this moment.

POZZEBON: And even though the fiscal reform that was -- that originally sparked this outcry has been withdrawn, it's also shown no sign of slowing down. And this is a sign of how deep the unrest is for many in Colombia.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


VAUSE: Lebanon is also in a world of hurt. The economy, which was struggling long before the pandemic, is now facing total collapse. Lawmakers have warned electricity could be cut off this month because of a revenue shortage.

All this made worse by Lebanon's political deadlock, which shows no signs of abating. Thursday, the French foreign minister arrived to strong-arm those obstructing efforts to build a new working government.

Meantime, the cost of food has grown, and for many that's making Ramadan extremely difficult.

CNN's Ben Wedeman explains now from Beirut.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): Abdul Rahman (ph) gets in his taxi and cruises the streets of Beirut for customers. But the quest for his daily bread comes up empty.

It's the holy month of Ramadan, when families break the daily fast at sunset.

"With corona and rising prices, this is the most difficult Ramadan of my life," says Abdul Rahman (ph).

Every one of his families had coronavirus. Abdul Rahman (ph), twice. His 94-year-old father, Bada (ph), is still bedridden from the disease. Making ends meet has never been harder for many people here. The economy is in freefall. Food inflation is running at up to 400 percent, and the currency, the lira, has lost about 80 percent of its value against the dollar.

"This Ramadan there are no sweets," says his Humbra (ph), his mother.

Tonight's meal is supplemented by food donated by others.

Even her 10-year-old granddaughter, Tia (ph), is able to list Lebanon's many woes. "Corona, the revolution, the port blast, inflation, and the dollar," she says.


Mona Haliak runs the American University of Beirut's neighborhood initiative, focusing on helping the needy in the capital's Las (ph) Beirut district, one of the city's wealthiest. Even here, times are getting tougher.

MONA HALIAK, DIRECTOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT'S NEIGHBORHOOD INITIATIVE: People are not helping as much, because everybody has their own problems now. So we don't even dare go and look out for more, because we will find more. We will find many, many more families.

WEDEMAN: Just a few blocks away, Hadijah (ph) puts together the makings of a simple salad for the evening meal, the iftar. The rest of the food, leftovers from residents of her building where her husband, Ali, works as a concierge.

Before the economy collapsed, his monthly salary of 400,000 lira was more than $260. Now, just over $30, little more than $1 a day.

"Before, we could buy oil, medicine, yogurt, meat, chicken and milk for my kids and have something left over. Now," says Hadijah (ph), "we can barely afford anything."

But Ramadan is even more difficult for Ali, a Syrian from Aleppo who fled during his third year in law school. He combs through the rubbish for plastic and metal to sell, and food. Today he found a bag of bread for his wife and two daughters.

Every year, Ali says, is more difficult.

It's a holy month, but for Lebanon, a hard one, as well.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


VAUSE: Well, what happened in India is not staying in India. Still to come, the Indian COVID crisis now spreading beyond its borders, and Nepal is especially fearing the worst.

Also ahead, oxygen shortages, too, are spreading. Now, Argentina, the government there scrambling to give severe COVID patients what they desperately need to survive.


VAUSE: India continues to set records for their new infections of the coronavirus. On Friday, more than 414,000.

And countries bordering India appear to be next in this pandemic. Nepal is particularly hard-hit, with officials reporting its highest number of daily cases. That was so far, and that was just on Thursday.

Nepal's under-resourced hospitals are overloaded with patients. Five Nepali lawmakers tested positive for COVID on Thursday, and that number will likely rise.


More than a dozen mountain climbers were evacuated after positive tests at one base camp.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has more now on COVID's impact across southeast Asia.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The surge is alarming. In its latest COVID-19 weekly update, the World Health Organization points to a marked increase in cases across Asia, with India as the epicenter, and UNICEF is sounding the alarm.

Its regional director for south Asia says this. Quote, "The deadly new surge in South Asia threatens us all. It has the potential to reverse hard-earned global gains against the pandemic if not halted as soon as possible."

Nepal is overwhelmed. It has seen a more than 1,200-percent rise in average weekly COVID-19 cases since mid-April. And the Red Cross is warning that the outbreak there could soon mimic the catastrophe in India.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are also reporting rising caseloads. This week in Lahore, thousands of people, many not wearing masks, took part in a religious procession, fanning fears about the spread of the virus.

Another Indian neighbor, Maldives, seen right here on the map, is also posting record high daily cases. The spike comes almost a month after officials announced plans to offer vaccinations to tourists on arrival in a bid to draw more visitors.

In Thailand a new cluster in a Bangkok slum is raising concerns. More than 300 cases have been found in this area since the third wave began in this April.

Indonesia continues to battle one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, with about 1.6 million infections since the pandemic began. Despite travel bans, 18 million people, or nearly 7 percent of Indonesia's population, are reportedly planning to travel for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday.

As the virus burns through the region, there are more restrictions. In Malaysia, there is a partial lockdown in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, from May the 7th to the 20th.

Malaysia has also banned flights to and from India.

But Cambodia is ending its lockdown in the capital, Phnom Penh. Despite setting new daily records of COVID-19 cases, a blanket lockdown is now ending.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


VAUSE: One hundred million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be heading to Brazil. Supplies started to arrive last week from an earlier 100 million dose deal.

Brazil's health ministry reporting more than 73,000 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total case count above 15 million. Almost 417,000 people in Brazil have died from COVID-19.

This all comes as the president, Jair Bolsonaro, is under investigation for the way he handled the pandemic. Lawmakers are looking at why the death toll there is so high and why the country has not been able to contain the pandemic.

Speaking earlier to my colleague, Becky Anderson, a former Brazilian health minister says that Bolsonaro should be impeached.


LUIZ HENRIQUE MANDETTA, FORMER BRAZIL HEALTH MINISTER: The fact is that we had an enormous problem on the health system to deal with. We had poor scientific information by that time. And he started to take and chose a way to deal with that was relatively common to the American president, to Mr. Trump's decision: to bring chloroquine and to say that it was just a little flu.

And he didn't change it ever. He kept with that till days (ph). So Brazil had some very poor results on it, just because of this decision. That's something that the senate and the congress will have to deal with.


VAUSE: Across most of South America, cases were rising over the past month. Some countries reported more than a 50 percent increase from a month earlier.

Now, the last seven days, though, have seen an improvement. Only two countries are reporting increases.

Despite the slight decrease in its cases, Argentina's healthcare system remains on the brink of collapse, mostly because of a shortage of oxygen. The seven-day average there, around 20,000 cases.

CNN's Rafael Romo reports on why and how the government is scrambling to treat COVID patients. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Steel tanks in ship containers outside hospitals in Buenos Aires. This is Argentina's answer to a deep shortage of oxygen that has brought the country's health system to the brink of collapse.

A health department official says each individual container can provide enough oxygen for 30 beds. It's an innovative solution, but for now, just a drop in the bucket.

The mobile oxygen units are now at 17 clinics and field hospitals in Buenos Aires province. But according to government data, demand for oxygen increased by 330 percent in April, as the country faced a second spike of COVID-19 cases.

The shortage has already had devastating effects. For many, the solution came too late.


"It was not my mother's fate to die. She died ahead of time," this woman says. A doctor at the private hospital where her mother was being treated, she says, told her that they ran out of oxygen.

The shortage is so bad even Argentina's health minister made a public appeal. She called on healthcare workers to ration oxygen.

Part of the problem has to do with the way the system has worked for decades. Only three companies provide oxygen for the health needs of the entire country.

And even though the government has asked providers to stop production of oxygen for industrial purposes for days or weeks, as necessary, one of those providers told CNN 95 percent of their production was already devoted to medical oxygen.

Early in the pandemic, Argentina seemed to have been spared. But the infection rate increased by late 2020, and the South American country recently reached three million confirmed cases and well over 65,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, the long-lasting quarantines and a slow vaccination campaign are feeding growing political division and social unrest.

Carla Arno (ph) says she will forever wonder whether it was COVID-19 who killed her mother or an oxygen shortage that should have been foreseen.

"She didn't deserve to die," she says, choking back tears.

It's a race against time. And even though cases seem to be trending down, the shortage is still a threat to COVID-19 and other critical patients throughout Argentina.


VAUSE: A new analysis has found what almost everyone believes. The real death toll from the pandemic is far worse than official numbers, which put the global death toll at 3.2 million.

But this report says that the number of that is actually much closer to 7 million. The study comes from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. And says the U.S. is likely closer to a million COVID deaths, 58 percent higher than the official number.

Researchers blame the under-reporting on lack of testing and on health systems that count only deaths in hospitals.

Well, coming up Britain and France, a centuries-old rivalry now back in play. The two nations are now trying to find a way past a post- Brexit fishing feud, as tensions flare. The latest from the island of Jersey, in a moment.


VAUSE: There are troubled waters off the island of Jersey in the post -- in the first post-Brexit dust-up, this one between Britain and France.

Jersey hands out fishing rights now under post-Brexit rules. And while the island is self-governing, it is defended and internationally represented by the U.K.


So far it's given France about 40 licenses, but for decades, French fishermen have had free access to the waters. Now they say their rights are being unfairly restricted.

Tensions hit a new pitch when the U.K. and France deployed warships to Jersey earlier in the week. Both sides have seen recalled their armadas. So it appears to be the resolved, at least for now.

Details from CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Outside Jersey's tiny St. Helier port, dozens of French fishing boats swarm the sea. A blockade, not, say the French. Nothing more menacing than a maritime protest.

LUDOVIC LAZARO, FRENCH FISHERMAN (through translator): We come today, because we have always fished in the waters there. We have always fished here, and then overnight they take away all our fishing rights.

These are agreements we have had for a very long time.

LAURENT BLODEL, FRENCH FISHERMAN (through translator): We're not happy with the licensing restrictions they handed out to us. We should have had licenses to fish as we wished without any restrictions, restrictions on the species.

ROBERTSON: The sudden escalation in tensions is the most serious test yet for post-Brexit fishing rights since the deal came into force four months ago.

Last week, Jersey authorities issued new licenses to French fishermen. Today's dispute, over records proving eligibility.

IAN GORST, JERSEY'S MINISTER FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS: Well, we saw after we issued the first licenses on Friday, disproportionate threats emanating from a French minister. And then the proposal to blockade St. Helier's harbor today.

To our mind, they were completely disproportionate to the technical issues, which still need to be resolved. And we are committed to resolving them.

ROBERTSON: France has been trying to force concessions, threatening to cut power to the near 100,000 people on the tiny island.

ANNICK GIRARDIN, FRENCH MARITIME MINISTER (through translator): You know, in the deal, there are retaliatory measures. Well, we're ready to use them. Europe/France has the means which figure in the deal. Regarding Jersey, I remind you of the delivery of electricity along underwater cables. And so we have the means, and even if it would be regrettable, if we have to do it, we'll do it if we have to.

ROBERTSON (on camera): The intimidating threats have comes as a shock here. Jersey is a quiet, well-heeled haven, more used to welcoming in boatloads of tourists than fending off angry French fishermen.

(voice-over): Gunship diplomacy has begun. The U.K. sending two warships Wednesday, France responding early Thursday with two of its own.

Islanders are venting their frustration. A member of a militia reenactment group firing off a musket. The solitary shot symbolic.

The E.U.'s day march to the island to backtrack on the licenses is not, accusing Jersey of not respecting the Brexit deal. Both sides are calling for calm. The forecast ahead here: unsettled.

Nic Robertson, CNN, St. Helier, Jersey.


VAUSE: No need to panic. It's just 22 tons of Chinese rocket hurtling towards Earth, set to hit the atmosphere in the next few days. Scientists say there is no need to panic. They're hoping it will burn up on reentry. If that doesn't happen, then hey, maybe it will splash down in an ocean.

Third option: maybe it will hit somewhere else without people.

The U.S. military says it is not considering shooting down what's left of the Chinese rocket, which blasted off last week.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT is up next. And I'll be back at the top of the hour. Thanks for watching.