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U.S. Restaurants Face Worker Shortage; Visitors Flocking To U.S. Tourist Spots; Parts Of Europe Begin Reopening To International Tourists; Naftali Bennett To Announce Decision On Anti-Netanyahu Government; Texas Republicans Deal On Sweeping New Voting Legislation; Olympic Critics Concerned Over Coronavirus Safety; Argentina Set To End Nine-Day Lockdown; Second Mount Nyiragongo Eruption Looms In DRC; Countries' Incentives To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 30, 2021 - 04:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Americans back at beaches and air travel back to numbers not seen since the start of the pandemic.

A new plan making it harder to vote in Texas.

And Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 year run a prime minister could be in its final days. We're live in Jerusalem with the latest.

Live from CNN World Headquarters, I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


BRUNHUBER: After 18 months of masks and lockdowns, people all over the world are sick of the pandemic and have been so for a long time. Now thanks to several successful vaccines, it looks like the global health crisis may finally be on the decline.

More than half of the U.S. has had at least one shot. Airlines flew nearly 2 million passengers on Friday, the most in one day since the pandemic began. Places like Miami Beach are thrilled to have tourists again but they are also bringing problems.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people we're meeting here in Miami Beach say they're taking their very first trips in more than a year since before the pandemic began.

So there's a lot of that energy, with people who have been stuck inside their homes for so long, eager to come out and enjoy themselves under fewer COVID restrictions.

The mayor of Miami Beach told us the volume of people coming here is unprecedented. We saw those unprecedented crowds partying in the streets at night, creating traffic gridlock. A lot of people tell us they feel more relaxed and they're able to have fun, knowing case numbers are falling and more and more people are getting vaccinate.

But with the crowds comes a different problem; the mayor of Miami Beach talking about the need for law enforcement to keep a close eye on these crowds.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FL: The one thing that we've seen over the last few months has been an increase in both volume and disorder. And what I mean by that is we're getting more people that have ever come here, even on weekday nights.

And if you get 25,000 or 50,000 people in a small, little area, which is what you're talking about, and just a small percentage feel like they're acting out, it's very hard to control that without the huge presence of policing.


CHEN: Hundreds of Miami Beach police officers are all hands on deck this weekend, plus they've got help from other jurisdictions as well. There are businesses here very happy to see all these people come with the dollars flowing in after a difficult economic year.

Right now, the hotel occupancy in this county is back to where it was in 2019 during this same week. And according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, they're saying that the dining activity, people dining out is actually more than a third higher than this point in 2019 -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Miami Beach, Florida.


BRUNHUBER: Santa Monica, California is heavily dependent on tourism and last year was a bust but this year is already looking much, much better.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So I'm standing on the pier in Santa Monica, which was completely shut down at one point during the lockdown. This is a small tourism city, that relies so heavily on tourism.

The tax base was obliterated during the lockdown. But now the mayor here says they are coming back. They got through this all with the help of federal aid.

Now people are on the beach. She says this is actually important for the entire psyche and mental health of southern California, the tourists that visit. And people were genuinely thrilled to be walking again on the Santa Monica pier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's important not to forget what has happened but the fact that we are able to gather again and celebrate, not be in fear anymore. Hopefully most people, aren't still to enjoy this beautiful water and the pier that is here, that's what it's for. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, I feel that it's a relief because

everybody's been so tied up at home and being able to see people again like this is just -- I feel like it's kind of like the light at the end of the tunnel.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like we're finally like getting there like this has been such attack (ph) on like everybody like worldwide. And it just like I feel like we're finally like getting to the tail end of this thing. I was like it was never going to happen.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): These are the largest crowds we have seen in Santa Monica for quite some time. It seems like there should be more people in the water. Well, think about this. The temperature right now is only 61 degrees.

And right over here you see a rollercoaster, ready to get going on the Santa Monica pier. All of these rides pump more financial lifeblood into this tourism city. And don't forget in little more than 2 weeks, California will get rid of almost all of the COVID-19 restrictions -- reporting from Santa Monica, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you.


BRUNHUBER: So as Americans return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles, doctors are warning that not everyone is safe yet. A little over half of the country is at least partially vaccinated. Those that are not should keep their guard up.


DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We know who is not at risk and those are the people fully vaccinated and generally healthy. So if you're vaccinated but if you're severely immunocompromised, you're still at risk.

Those fully vaccinated should feel protected. Those are risk are children not eligible and adults that have not been vaccinated yet. Their risk, according to a "Washington Post" analysis is similar to their risk at the height of the surge in January. They should still take precautions, including mask wearing and crowded indoor gatherings.


BRUNHUBER: Americans may be flocking to restaurants this weekend but there may not be enough people to serve them. "The Washington Post" says many people that lost their restaurant jobs are not coming back, despite plenty of openings and raises.

The shortage is getting in the way of their recovery. Laurie Thomas owns two restaurants in San Francisco.

Thank you so much for joining us. You know, just looking around, so many people are vaccinated, COVID measures have been relaxed. You think things would be looking up for restaurants. We have been hearing from so many employers, especially restaurant owners, that they can't take advantage of the fact that everyone who has been cooped up inside for a year is dying to eat out.

What's the biggest problem here?

LAURIE THOMAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GOLDEN GATE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION: A lot of it is from when we did that deep purple closure in December. Folks decided to just give up on our industry. They left L.A. and San Francisco urban areas and considered it an opportunity to change careers, do self searching and say, I don't want to come back to this industry.

And that is causing a lot of stress. I felt it in April, when we tried to start hiring again.

BRUNHUBER: That leads to the question, I want to read a quote from the founder of Shake Shack. He say that's everyone is hiring at the same time.


THOMAS: Yes, my staff included, we saw 15 percent self select not to come back. San Francisco is an expensive place to live. We have some of the higher mandated rates and health expenses.

We also don't have the public school system back. And the public transportation system is not back. The last BART trains stop at 9:00 pm and that doesn't work for the restaurant industry.

BRUNHUBER: There is another factor, employers say the increase in the pandemic unemployment insurance is encouraging people to stay home instead of looking for work. Many workers are pushing back against that narrative. They say it is not a worker shortage, it's a wage shortage. They say many restaurant workers are the lowest paid.

Will they have to increase the pay to attract people?

THOMAS: Definitely. And we're in a better place in San Francisco than in a lot of other places in the country.


THOMAS: We're already ahead of some of those points that we're looking at, folks advocating for. But, yes, in mid April, when we started running ads and our other colleagues did the same, we adjusted everyone that was not receiving tips. We adjusted their hourly rates and we adjusted all of our salary employee rates as well.

And we'll continue to watch that closely if we can afford it. We're coming off of some people, millions of dollars of losses and all of the debt that was accumulated. So this is a very unfortunate situation right now.

BRUNHUBER: So looking ahead now, the federal government has allotted some $29 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, applications closed this past week. There were some 300,000 applications for about $70 billion, more than double the amount in the fund. It looks like the money will dry up before many get help, which is what we saw with the PPP loan.

So what's the fix for this?

THOMAS: More money.


THOMAS: The Independent Restaurant Coalition has been doing heavy lifting, asking the leaders of Congress for that. We employ over 11 million people. And you have seen some of this, it will be a long slog.

We're not looking at pre-COVID levels in San Francisco until 2025. So we need Congress to do what Leader Schumer said they will do, which is to cap up this fund and make sure everyone that applied can access that money so we can reemploy everybody, do what we need to do and have the industry come back.

BRUNHUBER: We certainly hope so. Thank you for talking to us. Laurie Thomas with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Thank you.

THOMAS: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: We're seeing reopenings in Europe as well after being shut down for months.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): A French rock band performed indoors at a venue on Saturday, a welcome return to pre-COVID life. Masks and tests were required.


BRUNHUBER: Countries in red here, in Europe, you'll see on the map, are still struggling. They are investigating if four cases in Vietnam came from a possible new variant.

The U.K. says they have given one shot to half of the people in their 30s. New cases crept above 4,000 on Friday. Scott McLean is following developments for us in London.

Before we get to the bad news with the rise in cases for the Indian variant, let's start with Europe opening up again.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, vaccinations are up, cases are falling sharply and things are starting to feel like normal. On the streets of many cities in Europe, you have scenes like the one you showed, a concert indoors.

Italy loosened restrictions, Hungary doing the same. Next week, the Swiss are bringing back indoor gatherings, doing away with their curfew. Ireland is restarting their tourism industry. And you have Spain, Portugal and Greece all rolling out the red carpet

for tourists. But you also have Germany and France barring tourists from the country. The U.K. is a country with fewer cases and a higher vaccination rate. The reason they're doing it is because of the Indian variant.

BRUNHUBER: How much worse is the variant in the U.K. than in Europe?

How much of a risk is it to get things back to normal/

MCLEAN: Europe will be watching the U.K. because, yes, there are cases of this variant circulating in Europe right now. Not to the same degree as in the U.K., where it's estimated as much as three out of every four of each new infection in this country is that new Indian variant, that spreads much quicker than the existing U.K. variant. The jury is out on how much quicker.


MCLEAN: But still the risk is still there. Hospitalizations also starting to tick up and the government is really trying to speed up the pace of vaccinations. They just opened 2.5 weeks ago. More that half of people in the 30s age group have gotten their first shot. They are shortening the time period to try to head off the potential damage of this new variant.

Now comes this big test. If you walk around the streets of London right now, things feel pretty normal. There are some restrictions in place. It seems like a lot of people out to enjoy these freedoms are in their 20s. They're by and large unvaccinated.

Can the U.K. allow the virus to spread unabated in that demographic and hope it can act as a firewall in the older groups and stop people from being hospitalized and dying?

That's the big test.

BRUNHUBER: Scott McLean in London, thank you so much.

Coming up, a seismic political shift could be imminent in Israel.

Plus, Texas is trying to join other Republican led states that set sweeping limits on voting. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Israel appears to be on the brink of a new government and Benjamin Netanyahu could be replaced. Hadas Gold joins me now from Jerusalem.

This could be monumental.

What is the latest?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if it works out the way it is being reported is that this could spell the end of Benjamin Netanyahu's time as prime minister. Naftali Bennett is the leader of a small rightwing party, in talks for a coalition agreement with the leader of a centrist party, Yair Lapid.

Bennett could be the first in a rotating leadership agreement. And Bennett's party only won seven seats in the latest election but because of those seats and the way that divisions worked out, his party has become the kingmakers in all of this.

Things are still moving and meetings are still going on and we may hear from Bennett in the next few hours about his decision and if they will form this election. It could be the end of Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister.

This coalition would have a wide swath of parties from the left-wing Labor Party to Lapid's and Bennett's parties as well. They would also likely need the support of an outside party as well as a small Islamist party, all sitting together in the same government. If it works out, they need to submit it for approval and the new government could be sworn in within the next week.

BRUNHUBER: It sounds like the most wide-ranging coalition ever formed in Israel.

How would it govern with so many opposing and deeply held views?

GOLD: You're right, the one thing uniting all of the parties is they don't want Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. Now according to the rules in Israel, they will have to submit their coalition agreements ahead of time, ranging from your basic transportation issues to a potential future peace process with the Palestinians.

It could be that these might be very vague agreements. But that is a good point. We'll have to see how it will shake out with such wide ranging political ideologies in government, how they will work together on the issues.

We had here the conflict with Hamas and Gaza, tensions rising, tensions with the Palestinians. There has been clashes at the Al-Aqsa compound. A lot of really pressing issues here that will be very big challenges for such a new government.

BRUNHUBER: So much at stake. We'll keep following that story as it develops throughout the day. Hadas Gold, thank you.

Texas Republicans are one step closer to having their state pass sweeping new voting restrictions. The bill will make it harder to mail in ballots and it will ban after-hours voting and drive-through options. It goes to the state house and the senate before it reaches the governor's desk.

Voting advocates are outraged, saying it's clear what Republicans are trying to do.


CHARLIE BONNER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MOVE, TEXAS: Texas has a long, ugly and racist history of voters suppression. This version of Senate bill, S.B.-7, fits squarely into that.

It limits access to many of the pro-voter policies we saw utilized in the 2020 election to make sure that we hold safe and secure elections in the middle of a pandemic. Those are the first things on the chopping block in this piece of legislation.

We know they were disproportionately used by communities of color. This is a clear attack on voters of color in Texas right now.


BRUNHUBER: President Biden is denouncing the proposed bill and other bills like it. Arlette Saenz has more.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Biden was forceful in denouncing Senate Bill 7, a Republican-led effort in the state of Texas to enact new voting restrictions.


SAENZ: He released a statement saying, "It's part of an assault on democracy that we've seen far too often, often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans. It's wrong and un-American."

The president added, "In the 21st century we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote."

This is similar to sentiments the president expressed the course of the past year, as more Republican-led state legislators have enacted voting restrictions in their state, the president calling one Georgia law "Jim Crow in the 21st century."

In order to counteract laws being passed on the state level, the president is urging Congress to act to pass two voting rights measures, including the For the People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill making its way through Congress at this moment.

While it passed in the House, it is now in the Senate, where it's facing some roadblocks. There are not enough Republicans or Democrats on board to get it through. It seems unlikely that Democrats are willing to blow up the filibuster in order to push voting rights through Congress.

But the president has insisted voting rights will remain a priority and he's expected to speak more on this topic when he travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, to mark the 100th anniversary of the race massacre that occurred there. The president has insisted, protecting and expanding voting rights

will be key in his administration. The question is, whether Congress will be able to come together to act -- Arlette Saenz, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.


BRUNHUBER: Democrats are looking for a plan B for a commission on the Capitol riot. They're considering a select committee into the January 6th attack. It is early but Republicans are already calling the move partisan.


SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): The irony of this is that Mitch McConnell and most Republicans vote down an independent commission and then they will criticize the fallout of that as being partisan.

I think it is so clear. Mitch McConnell said we can't have this commission because it will be counter to our interests in the 2022 elections.

Are McConnell and the Republican Party willing to put something other than just getting their own power first?


BRUNHUBER: If they create the panel, it would give Democrats the power to issue subpoenas and schedule hearings.

Some of those evacuated in the Democratic Republic of Congo are making their way home, despite the risk of a volcano erupting again.

As the Tokyo Olympic Games get closer, more people are voicing coronavirus concerns.





BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

For now, we're just 54 days away from the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Critics say there is no way that Japan can host the games safely but they say that the games must go on.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Across Japan, COVID-19 cases remain high. The country continues to see a record number of patients in critical condition. The medical system is strained and still only 2 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. As a result, Japan's prime minister has extended the current emergency order across the country. It'll last until June the 20th.

That's just about a month before the Olympics are set to start. Olympic organizers have made it clear that the games would go ahead, even if Tokyo is under a state of emergency at the time.

In order to ensure a safe and secure games, it seems vaccinations will be key but Japan's doctors' union says, vaccine or not, the games should be canceled. Their biggest concern is virus variants.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One hundred thousands people from 200 countries with various variants with no symptoms will come to Tokyo in a short time. I think there's a possibility that those variants will mix to create a variant, which could be a huge threat to humans.

COVID is not infectious to children very much. But just in case a variant that is infectious to children comes out, that is the worst case scenario.


ESSIG: The IOC says 80 percent of the people inside the Olympic Village will be vaccinated. That doesn't include the roughly 78,000 foreign delegates traveling to Japan for the games.

In March, Pfizer said it would donate COVID-19 doses to Olympics participants but so far only about 20 of the countries and territories are expected to participate. These are the places where the necessary regulatory and legal conditions already exists.

For others, Pfizer says they are working to establish a central location where delegates can go to get vaccinated. But time is running out, there's only about 55 days to go before the games began. It takes about 5 weeks for the first does of the Pfizer vaccine before you are consider fully vaccinated.

Of course, developed nations like Japan, Australia and the United States are using their own supply to vaccinate participants. But many other nations don't have that luxury -- Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.


BRUNHUBER: Many in Brazil are unhappy with the handling of the COVID pandemic in their country. So tens of thousands marched across Brazil on Saturday to demand better access to vaccines and they want president Jair Bolsonaro to be impeached.

More than 16 million people have been infected. Brazil's neighbor Argentina is also dealing with a soaring number of COVID cases. Now this comes as the country is set to end its nine-day lockdown.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): It's a lockdown that doesn't feel like one.

"I see a lot of people," this man says, "too many for me."

It was the first working day since Argentina went on lockdown to stop a devastating second wave of COVID-19.


ROMO (voice-over): At checkpoints on roads going into the city, frustrated drivers describe the long lines as chaos and a disaster.

"The truth is that I wasn't expecting so many cars on the roads," this driver said.

President Alberto Fernandez announced a lockdown on May 20th, saying Argentina is living the worst moments since the beginning of the pandemic. The president said people would only be allowed outside their homes for 12 hours a day, starting at 6 in the morning, except for essential workers.

Schools and nonessential businesses were to remain closed until may 30th. Argentina, along with Brazil and Colombia, are the 3 South American countries that remain in the top 10, with the highest numbers of daily confirmed new cases in the world.

ROMO: The strict lockdown aimed at reversing the worrying trend and the explosion of cases Argentina has had in the last few weeks. In the long term, this South American country is hoping to become a major source of COVID-19 vaccines.

ROMO (voice-over): Argentina is partnering with Oxford University and AstraZeneca to produce massive amounts of the COVID-19 vaccine, developed by both institutions. In a lab in Buenos Aires province, the process has already begun.

But a lab representative says it will be the end of the year before they expect to begin clinical trials, with the goal of launching production by early 2022.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 remains a deadly challenge for Argentina. An additional 551 people died of the virus Thursday, the same day the country broke its own daily record, with more than 41,000 new confirmed cases.

And the government has yet to find out if the current lockdown imposed out of desperation is going to reverse the trend -- Rafael Romo, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: Just ahead, if you're holding out on getting the COVID shot, your government may have a special deal to get you vaccinated. We'll explain coming up.

And the humanitarian disaster in Congo, the volcano that is threatening to erupt again. We'll have more details, stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Have a look at these images from the Democratic Republic of Congo.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): These people are standing on hardened lava that came from the massive volcano that erupted a week ago. Already the city is unrecognizable with damaged roads, no water and hundreds of homes washed away in the lava. The cost of repairing the infrastructure will be huge and another eruption could be catastrophic.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crews stride over hardened ground at the foot of the Mount Nyiragongo. Workers from Burundi National Park race to repair electrical lines destroyed by the volcano and the aftershocks that followed.

Seismologists reporting 61 earthquakes in a 24-hour period. Officials and experts say getting the power back here is critical to the nearby city of Goma's survival.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is a huge problem, not only because it deprives the population of electricity but also because it's the main source of energy for the water pumping stations in the city. If we can't get clean water to too many people, the problems of waterborne diseases surface.

MADOWO (voice-over): The United Nations says it will cost more than $1 billion to fix the damage so far caused by the volcanic eruption. Around 400,000 people have been evacuated. Many homes, shops and the power grid and water supplies that sustain them were left to the lava and that could take time to rebuild.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're talking about infrastructure, mainly roads, which are being covered by lava. Fortunately, it did not advance to the airport. The needs are huge but I think, if the situation stays as it is, maybe something can be done rapidly.

MADOWO (voice-over): Some have fled Goma into neighboring Rwanda and have tried to return, some thinking the danger is over, even though the DRC government says it is still not safe to return.

MADOWO: This apocalyptic scene is what the eruption of the volcano of Mount Nyiragongo left behind. The lava that went through this wooded area is now cooled igneous rock. But it's still smoking and it smells like charcoal.

MADOWO (voice-over): One man who stayed behind in Goma said he decided not to leave because he thought being on the road would be just as dangerous as staying home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Even if others left, (INAUDIBLE) would kill people. That's why I said no. If the volcano erupts and the gas comes, I will stay.

MADOWO (voice-over): The International Committee of the Red Cross says food shortages are likely. With the cultivated lands near Goma scorched, main supply roads cut off and thousands of people searching for shelter and potable water.

Aid agencies also say hundreds of children have been separated from their families in the rush to leave Goma. It's a humanitarian nightmare that scientists say could get even worse if another volcanic or ground eruption happens, especially if that activity spews more debris and toxic gases -- Larry Madowo, CNN, Goma.


BRUNHUBER: We got new pictures of the volcano that we want to show you here. CNN was on a flight with a team of experts surveying the volcano today. Have a look at these close-up views of smoke and ash still billowing. The fear is that it could erupt again. We're expecting to get more pictures soon. Stay tuned for that.



BRUNHUBER: Fears over personal freedoms have many in Hong Kong on edge. And as Kristie Lu Stout explains, the United Kingdom is often the place of choice.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Goodbye for good. Last October, Gavin Mok and his family said farewell to their home city of Hong Kong from a new address outside Exeter. The stock trader turned YouTuber streams advice for his fellow Hong Kongers in self imposed exile, like how to buy groceries in a British supermarket, practical advice for life in a new land.

GAVIN MOK, YOUTUBER: My channel is sharing my life in the U.K. Where you drive, where you live.

STOUT (voice-over): Hearing the impact of a sweeping new national security law, Mok moved to the U.K. with his wife and two daughters. He says he hasn't found a new job and has been living off his savings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The very warmest of welcomes.

STOUT (voice-over): Last month, the U.K. launched a $59 million fund to support Hong Kongers immigrating to the country, under a new scheme for holders of British national overseas or BNO passports. The fund would help new arrivals find jobs, houses and schools.

STOUT: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers are expected to move to the U.K. under the program, providing a path to citizenship for 3 million people eligible for the status, an estimated 2.3 million dependents.

STOUT (voice-over): China has slammed the program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This action severely invaded China's sovereignty.

STOUT (voice-over): Paul (ph), not his real name, and his wife, are considering the offer. Changes in the city's education under the new law have prompted plans to leave with their young daughter. They asked to not be identified, due to concerns of speaking out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One word can sum up all our concerns, it's the brainwashing, especially the National Security Education.

STOUT (voice-over): Outspoken political commentators Kim-wah Chung has a BNO passport. He plans to stay put but has been advised by friends and family to leave.

KIM-WAH CHUNG, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have never been so uncertain about the future in my whole life because of the rapidly deteriorating political situation and some kind of uncertainty and threats.

So I have been warned by many people, you have to consider this.

STOUT (voice-over): The path to a new life can be painful. Gavin Mok leaving his parents behind, he misses the comforts of Hong Kong but relishes his freedom.

STOUT: Why did you leave Hong Kong?

MOK: You can't say anything in Hong Kong now. Everyone should have their right to live freely, to criticize their government. You should be able to do this. It's a human right.

STOUT (voice-over): In every YouTube video he hosts, he shows a figurine. It's a black clad, pro-democracy protester, with a yellow helmet and umbrella, a token of free speech and another exile in the U.K. -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


BRUNHUBER: We'll be right back, stay with us.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BRUNHUBER: It's an offer you can't refuse, countries around the world

are hoping, pulling out all the stops to get more people vaccinated. Michael Holmes explains.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A catchy rap song about one of the best ways to not catch the coronavirus. Local officials in southwest China's Sichuan province releasing this video to encourage people to get the COVID 19 vaccines, as the country aims to inoculate 40 percent of its population by July.

It's this carrot over stick approach that is catching on in countries around the world, at least the ones that have enough vaccine supply to try and encourage people who might be hesitant to roll up their sleeves.

And some of the incentives are pretty hard to beat. In Hong Kong, property developers are organizing a lottery, with the grand prize of a $1 million flat. But only residents who have received both doses of the vaccine can enter the drawing. Less than 20 percent of Hong Kong's population has gotten their first shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I've been vaccinated. Only one jab though. I'm going to get the next one a few days later. So yes, I'm definitely going to sign up for this.

Why not, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lucky draw anyway (ph). Let's see. I'll test my luck (ph).

HOLMES (voice-over): Others are less flashy but maybe a little more practical. The mayor of a rural town in the Philippines raffling off a cow a month. No shot, no chance of winning.

Israel has one of the most successful vaccination drives in the world, it offered free pizzas to lure people to its vaccination centers.

A free 7-day pass to ride the subway in New York comes with the jab at select stations across the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in no hurry, because I had coronavirus in April of last year. Once I heard about this extra incentive, I got even more motivated.

HOLMES (voice-over): To scale up the motivation, some businesses are offering freebies to anyone flashing their vaccine card, Krispy Kreme giving away a free glazed donut. United Airlines has a drawing to win free flights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first winner, Abigail Bugenske from -- HOLMES (voice-over): Ohio just enhanced the first winners of its Vax-

A-Million lottery. One woman $1 million richer for getting vaccinated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did come up to Cleveland from Cincinnati to look at a used car and I think buying a used car is still in my future. So that's about as far as I've gotten.

HOLMES (voice-over): A new set of wheels and the freedom to move about, both compliments of a vaccine scientists wish more people would take -- Michael Holmes, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: Love finds a way, even in a pandemic. Boris Johnson has married his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, in a small service on Saturday. The British press called it, quote, "a secret wedding." They will celebrate with their family and friends next Sunday.

I will be back in just a moment with more CNN NEWSROOM, please stay with us.