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U.S. Pledge to Donate 80 Million Vaccines; More Chinese Companies Prohibited from Doing Business in the U.S.; No Gatherings Allowed for Tiananmen Square Massacre Anniversary; Roman Protasevich Forced to Confess by Belarusian Authorities; Taliban Not Keeping Its Agreement with the U.S.; United States To Donate Millions Of Vaccine; U.S. Health Official Ponders Possible Future Pandemics; Infection Surge In Latin America Amid Slow Vaccine Rollout; U.K. Adds Portugal To Amber Travel Restriction List; Australia's Slow Vaccine Rollout Causes Frustrations; The Cost To Cancel Tokyo 2020; U.S. Intelligence Investigates Strange Objects in The Skies; Sinkholes Threatens To Swallow Family Home; International Space Station Supply Mission. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 4, 2021 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): America's pandemic fight goes global. We have details on how the U.S. plans to share millions of vaccines with the rest of the world and who is going to get them.

Banned from gathering in Hong Kong as many try to honor the anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in China's history. But it's a very different story in Taipei, Taiwan. We are live in both cities with the latest.

And Japan battles its fourth spike in COVID cases, fueling the debate over hosting the Olympics. We'll bring you why one board member says that the games have already lost meaning in a live report from Tokyo.

Welcome to all of you watching us from all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is the CNN Newsroom.

U.S. President Joe Biden says the United States is ready to help fill a vaccine shortage all around the world with tens of millions of additional doses. But it's not because the U.S. doesn't need them. Just 63 percent of American adults have received at least one dose, that's still short of Biden's goal of 70 percent by June -- July 4th. And among the unvaccinated shots are becoming a hard sell.

Daily doses have dropped below one million for the first time since January. The overall rate has plummeted by two-thirds from its peak in April. The latest pitch is to offer beer, tickets, even big cash prizes to entice latecomers. But as the Biden White House sees it, this is still a global pandemic and the U.S. has a moral obligation to help vaccinate as many people as possible even if some of its own people are balking. So, the U.S. says it will export 80 million doses from its stockpiles

over the next several weeks starting immediately.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Our goal ensuring our vaccines is in service of ending the pandemic globally. We are sharing them in a wide range of countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and across Africa in coordination with the African union. This includes prioritizing our neighbors here in our hemisphere including countries like Guatemala and Columbia, Peru and Ecuador, and many others.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Now there is one glitch in the White House plan. Most of the promised doses haven't yet been approved by the U.S. and then it will slow down their distribution.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has the details.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, after months in deliberation you finally see President Biden's team announce their global vaccination strategy. This is being led by Jeff Zients, the president's COVID coordinator who is now handling the global aspect of this, and his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Now we are told by sources they work essentially across several departments for the last several months figuring out how they were going to come down on this. The final decision appears that they are going to donate 75 percent of excess vaccines from the U.S. to COVAX. That international vaccine initiative. But the rest they are going to decide unilaterally where those vaccines are going.

Though national security adviser Sullivan did say earlier that they still maintain the right for the U.S. to make the final decision about where those vaccines are going. The ones that are going through COVOX. So, the way this is all getting started is what President Biden is saying he's got about 80 million that they are going to send out. Right now, though, it's only starting with 25 million. Because the 60 million AstraZeneca doses, give or take a few million, still have not cleared FDA safety and efficacy review. So, they cannot send those out until that happens.

And so right now, you're seeing 25 million vaccines that are going out, about 19 million of those are going to through COVAX, the other six million are going to go through U.S. allies, Mexico, India, South Korea, and Canada. That is where it's starting. Of course, it remains to be seen where the rest will go.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER (on camera): CNN's David McKenzie is gauging the potential

impact of the White House vaccine announcement from Johannesburg. David, I imagine this will be welcome news on the continent or is it being seen as too little too late?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, I think it is welcome news. Any move towards expanding the availability of vaccines is welcome here in the African continent where it has some of the lowest vaccination rates on the planet in many countries. And also, you are seeing a potential third wave building in many countries on this continent including here in South Africa, parts of east Africa, and broadly in Southern Africa.


So, time is certainly essential to get this ad quickly, but it will be just a drop in the bucket at first. Some five million doses promised to the African continent through the African CDC. It's not nothing but with a population more than one billion across the continent it certainly needs to be more.

I think a crucial aspect to this, Kim, is that the White House says explicitly said that they are also going to use this to pressure other wealthy nations that have access supply to donate those doses to COVAX, as well as directly to countries. That pressure will be important because there are several countries sitting on more vaccines than they need. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Yes. And I understand the U.S. officials told CNN that part of the plan is identifying the capacity of countries to distribute the vaccines. So why is that important?

MCKENZIE: Well, it's important because it's not enough to have a batch of vaccines arrived at your national airport. You have to actually distribute it to people. And that requires both health infrastructure, in some cases with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine requires cold storage, very cold storage. And even down to the level of syringes and training for health officials to get it out to people.

You had the unfortunate circumstances scenes at countries like Malawi destroyed vaccines that were seen to be expired the Democratic Republic of Congo gave back more than a million vaccines because they couldn't distribute it. So, the White House I am sure will be working very closely because the last thing they want they have vaccines to be donated and they are not used.

But that's part of a broader problem with ending this COVID pandemic, is that, you know, many countries across the world, not just here in Africa, don't have the health capacity to do this massive vaccine rollout that is needed to vaccinate every adult on the planet effectively to really ensure that COVID-19 is stop in its tracks. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: David McKenzie in Johannesburg, thanks so much.

The number of Chinese companies that will soon be off limits to American investment is about to be expanded by a lot. President Biden's new executive order almost doubles the number of Chinese firms that his predecessor blacklisted last November. The U.S. believes they pose a threat to U.S. national security because of their ties to China's military and its surveillance capabilities.

Now when the order takes effect in early August Americans will be prohibited from owning or trading stock in the companies. The expanded list includes some of China's largest telecommunications firms and Smartphone makers.

CNN's Steven Jiang joins us from Beijing. So, what's been the reaction from China so far?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Kim, we are expecting to hear from a Chinese foreign minister very soon about this latest executive order. But when he was asked yesterday about this upcoming expected decision his response was not surprising, saying this was a mistake and U.S. -- the U.S. government should correct this mistake and stop undermining the global market order and investors rights and interest.

He also gave an unspecified threat, saying China would have to take necessary countermeasures to protect Chinese companies rights and interest, although many analysts have pointed to this possibility of American companies including a prominent global brands being added to the Chinese government's so-called unreliable entity that would restrict or even disrupt these companies activities inside China.

But this executive order is not surprising. As you said, it's a continuation and expansion from a Trump era policy. Now Biden and Trump obviously don't see eye-to-eye on most things bit China seems to be the long exception. Mr. Biden and his senior officials have often said they actually don't often disagree with Mr. Trump's assessment that China is a strategic rival of the U.S. and threats from Beijing have to be addressed head on.

What they disagreed of course was approach. While Mr. Trump preferred going it alone, Mr. Biden has said the best day to deal with China is to form this united front against Beijing with U.S. allies and partners especially those that share the U.S. democratic values.

That's why in this latest order Mr. Biden has said companies whose products and technologies, especially those with surveillance technology that have been used both inside and outside of China to repress both minorities, ethnic and religious minorities would be targeted.

So, that means companies on this list not only because of their alleged ties to the People's Liberation Army but also because of their products and technologies undermining not only the security and trust of the U.S. and its allies but also their shared democratic values. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much, Steven Jiang in Beijing.

More than three decades after the crackdown at Beijing's Tiananmen Square, mourners want to make sure the world never forgets. We're live in Hong Kong and in Taiwan.



WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And for the first time in more than three decades nowhere in the Chinese speaking world will there be a formal demonstration on this anniversary but for very different reasons.



BRUNHUBER (on camera): All right. Now China is all but certain to be censoring CNN's coverage of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. It's been putting up color bars like these as the world remembers the bloodshed in Beijing 32 years ago today.

In Hong Kong, the threat of mass arrest is looming. The large memorials held in Victoria Park for decades are no longer allowed. Authority are citing COVID concerns for the second straight year. Police now patrolling the area just told our crew to leave.

Last year many people in Hong Kong defied the ban but a new national security law makes that a lot more difficult.

Now back in 1989, the student led protests in Tiananmen Square lasted for weeks. Then on June 4th Chinese troops launched their bloody crackdown. It's believed thousands of protesters were killed.

CNN's Will Ripley is standing by in Taipei, Taiwan where people are allowed to publicly mourn the massacre. And our Kristie Lu Stout is live in Hong Kong.

Let's start with you, Kristie. Despite the fact that the vigil has been canceled plenty of action at the park where the commemoration usually happens. What's the latest?

I'm not sure if you can --


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, I'm standing outside Victoria Park here in Hong Kong, the site of the once annual Tiananmen vigil here in the city, within the last hour we were asked to leave. Some 300 to 400 police officers have cleared us. I'm sorry? I'll continue.

Some 300 to 400 police officers are here on site trying to make sure that nobody takes part in an unauthorized assembly, any unauthorized June 4th protest. These two flags have been put up behind me there. Their advertising ordinances that say anyone who enters the sealed off area will be in breach of the law. They could face in one year in prison. Now we have learned at least two people were arrested this day including a Hong Kong alliance vigil organizer who is arrested at her home today for publicizing the vigil. For two years already the vigil here has been banned. Hong Kong police citing coronavirus restrictions.

Let's keep in mind that yesterday on Thursday, Hong Kong, the city of seven and a half million people reported one imported case of the virus. There have been large gathering that takes place in the city recently including in our fair. But I want you to listen to this from a senior superintendent of Hong Kong police for Hong Kong Island on the reasons behind the ban.



LIAUW KA-KEI, SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT, HONG KONG ISLAND REGION: Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the activities not only increase the risk of infecting COVID-19 by participants and other people but also pose serious threats to the lives and health of all citizens jeopardizing public safety and affecting the rights of others.


BRUNHUBER: All right. That was our Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Let's go to our Will Ripley who is in Taipei. I understand that you've been getting drenched out there. The vigil not happening there for a different reason. What can you tell us?

RIPLEY: Yes, Kim, it's not heavy-handed police but it's heavy rain and Taiwan's worst COVID-19 outbreak of the pandemic that is preventing this island from holding its formal mass gathering to mark the Tiananmen Square anniversary.

What this means is that for the first time in more than three decades since the massacre, there will be no celebrations of a significant size officially at least in the Chinese speaking world. I spoke with one of the lead student organizers of those protests. Thirty-two years later he is now living in exile here in Taiwan. And he says, this day, and this message is more important now than in many years.


WU'ER KAIXI, SURVIVOR, TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE: Being a survivor of the June 4th massacre and a participant of the 1989 student movement, I certainly appreciate Hong Kong people is commemorating the June 4th. But then the Beijing regime together with its puppet in Hong Kong said no to our challenge, to our demand for freedom, for the -- to the demand of Hong Kong for their freedom and democracy.

RIPLEY: You've said the western world lost a city.

KAIXI: Yes. We should see the world map more like free world versus the enemy of them. So, if the world is two color and then Hong Kong has just change color.

RIPLEY: How do you respond to those who might think that the protesters pushed too much, too far. That's what the pro-Beijing camp says in Hong Kong.

KAIXI: Well, they also said we did that in 1989. It is not much different from accusing a rape victim of wearing to expose. Of course, it's the communist part to be blamed first. You cannot blame the victim.

RIPLEY: Is there any hope for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong at this point?

KAIXI: It is -- I -- there is no way of sugar coating it. It is one of the darkest times in Hong Kong's history, I believe. There is a silver lining. I see in the last two, three years. U.S. led western democracy who enabled Chinese regime to conduct all these atrocities. It's coming around a little. I realized what they have done and then coming to a point to thinking of changing this failed China policy.

RIPLEY: You left China 32 years ago after many of your fellow students died. Now we're sitting here in at Liberty Square. Do you worry about the future of democracy here in Taiwan given what some have called Chinese military intimidation?

KAIXI: Of course. You have to worry about democracy all the time. Even with living in democracy. That threat to Taiwan is military. It's over 1,000 warheads pointing at this island from the shore of China. People here in Taiwan brace in and out freedom. And they know it. And they -- because they have earned it and they will defend it.


RILPEY (on camera): Within the last couple of hours there have been messages in support of the Tiananmen demonstrations and in support of Hong Kong from the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, and also her spokesperson who put out a tweet saying that, Taiwan, more than any other country wants to see China democratized. We want a democratic neighbor. Today we remember those who fought and died for this in the Tiananmen Square massacre. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Well, the activist you interviewed I understand he wants to go back to China which seems surprising. Explain this for us.

RIPLEY: Yes. Wu'er Kaixi has actually officially turn himself in for extradition several times. And every time he is denied by the government in the mainland. He suspects the reason for that is that if he were to go back the publicity that would follow as he was undoubtedly arrested and tried would, in many ways, give his message more power even if he was sitting in a jail cell in China than sitting in exile here in Taiwan.

He has really felt frustrated for a long time because he looks at the United States and other western countries that speak against the ideology and the suppression of democracy.


But at the same time, we're trying to carve out trade deals and get into the Chinese market. And he says that has been essentially enabling China's treatment of people in Hong Kong and of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. He is of Uyghur heritage himself. And also, China's intimidation here on the island of Taiwan.

And so, he hopes that this moment in time will open the eyes of countries like the U.S. And as you heard him say in that report, Kim, he believes that the China policy has failed. And the western world if they want to protect democracy and protect places like this last bastion of democracy in the Chinese speaking world, in this view, that he says the west needs to more to stand up.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much for that. Will Ripley in Taipei. I appreciate it.

Dissident journalist Roman Protasevich appeared on Belarusian state TV Thursday, an interview which his supporters say under duress. And that he apparently confessed to organizing large-scale anti-government protests. The activist and his girlfriend were arrested last week after Belarus intercepted a passenger that were flying on and forced it to land in Minsk.

Protasevich has been something of a regular on state TV since then. Belarusian President Lukashenko's critics say this interviews was painful to watch. A senior adviser to an exiled opposition leader tweeted out, saying in part this is not Roman I know. This man on Goebbels' TV is the hostage of the regime, and we must make them all possible to release him and the other 460 political prisoners.

CNN international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is following the story for us from Berlin. Fred, lots happening on the story. Many angles to get into. Where do you want to start, what's the latest?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think I'll start with that video which really was extremely difficult to watch of Roman Protasevich there. On state TV being questioned allegedly saying that he was doing all of it voluntarily although it's almost impossible to see that as being true considering he's been in custody there for about two weeks.

And also, one of the things that we did notice when we watch that video is that at some point he sort of covered his face with his hands and you could still see the very deep marks what seem to be from something like handcuffs and also bruises on his wrists as well.

So, there are a lot of people who are extremely troubled by that interview in the first place taking place by the condition that Roman Protasevich seem to be in during that video. And that's why there's not a lot of people who are giving that interview any sort of credibility there on Belarusian state TV.

Some of the thing she said is that he pleaded guilty to organizing some of these mass protests that happen. He said that he would essentially repent and never wanted to do political activism as well. He was then also praising Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko as saying that Lukashenko, quote, "acted" like someone with, quote, "balls of steel."

And as you mentioned, the opposition is already ripping into all this, calling it essentially a hostage video, saying that he certainly they don't believe that they did this on his own regard, and also saying that his parents believed that he was being tortured while in custody there.

So, certainly, this is causing a lot of uproar among the Belarusian opposition and a lot of observers are pretty concerned as well. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thank you so much. Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. I appreciate it.

The U.S. says it's keeping an eye on Afghanistan and the terrorists out there following a United Nations report warning the Taliban and Al-Qaeda remains close.


NED PRICE, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We will have the means to detect a reemergence of a terrorist threat to the homeland from Afghanistan and to take action should that occur. We're going to reposition our forces and our assets to make sure that we guard against this potential reemergence. And we've spoken of the over the horizon options.

Under the agreement, the Taliban committed not to allow Al-Qaeda or other terrorists to threat the security of the United States or allies from Afghan soil. We are going to hold them to that.


BRUNHUBER: Now U.N. Security Council assessment also raised concerns about the weakness of the Afghan army and threat to women, academics, and journalists.

CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has more, but a warning this report contains some disturbing images.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Key points include 2020, the most violent year ever. With assassinations up 28 percent. Two thousand twenty-one attacks up 61 percent on the same period last year. And the Taliban's intent appears to be to continue to strengthen its military position, all the while apparently lying to the U.S.


The reports saying the Taliban and Al-Qaeda remain closely aligned and shows no sign of breaking ties. This despite signing an agreement with the U.S. February of last year vowing to cut those connections back. Other points of concern in the report include Afghan troops strength.

Approximately 308,000 personnel well below its target strength of 352,000 where recruitment has continued to decline.

Meanwhile, the U.N. member states write, the Taliban now contests or control 50 to 70 percent of Afghan territory outside of urban centers and exert direct control over 57 percent of district administrative centers. Taliban troop strength estimated at approximately 58,000 to 100,000.

The report cites another disturbing development. Women, intellectuals, religious scholars, and journalists have become increasing targets of Islamic groups. Eighty-five percent of those executions were assessed to be by the Taliban. The report also assesses the Taliban have significant income, estimated from 300 million to 1.6 billion from opium property protection, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and mineral exploitation including control of 280 mining zones. Only one less than the government.

Another detail in the report underscores how little has changed during America's longest war. The son of the Taliban's founding leader and commander during the 9/11 attacks is rising high in its ranks. And the U.N. says is reported to harbor ambitions to become the group's leader.

Nic Roberson, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: And the Taliban have responded. In a statement the group said the U.N.'s assessment is based on misinformation and they insist they're acting in accordance with the Doha agreement signed in February last year.

Their statement reads in part, the United Nations Security Council has reported that the Islamic Emirate is not ready for peace and still has convictions with Al-Qaeda. We reject this report.

All right. Still to come, COVID vaccines can't come soon enough to Latin American countries facing a surge in infections. We'll explain their struggle to curb the virus. Next.

Plus, British tourists planning trips to Portugal now have to deal with new quarantine restrictions when they come home and they are not happy.

Stay with us.




KIM BRUNHUBER CNN ANCHOR (on camera): And welcome back to all of you watching us from around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber you're watching CNN Newsroom.

I bring you up to speed with our top story. The U.S. is kicking off what it calls a Herculean effort to address the COVID vaccines shortage around the world. The White House says the U.S. will donate 13 percent of its total COVID vaccine production this month. That translates to 80 million doses by the end of June.

At least 75 percent of those will be shared with the COVAX global vaccination program. The remaining 25 percent will be given directly to countries in need. But the White House says, that's only step one and they will donate more vaccines later this summer when supply becomes available.

But as the U.S. fights this pandemic, some health experts are keeping an eye out for a possible future ones. The Director of the U.S. National Institute of Health spoke with CNN's Chris Cuomo and he said that there's a big lesson to learn from COVID outbreaks.


FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: We learned lessons each time but sometimes we forget or we slip into complacency. This has been the worse pandemic in 103 years. I hope and pray that means we are really going to remember and not do the complacency thing.

And there are things already in play that we can point too to say we are going to be ready in a better way. For instance, now that we know these MRNA vaccines can work, let's look at the 20 most likely next pandemic viruses and go ahead and start the process of designing those vaccines. Get them several steps along so that if we need them it's not like, OK, I got to design it today. I could take it out of the freezer and start those clinical trials almost immediately.

Let's be sure we are also designing drugs that work against thess viruses, which we haven't have a great set up to treat people who are sick and do that in advance. And that work is also starting to get under way. So, yes, I do think we are going to learn those lessons. Again, I hope that five years from now, people don't go like, well, you know, we haven't seen another one of these for a while. We can probably cut back on the support for pandemic preparedness. We'll probably be fine. We won't be. This is going to keep happening.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Collins also said that the U.S. States whose vaccination rates stayed far below 70 percent would be sitting ducks for future COVID outbreaks.

While the United States has been able to take an aggressive approach to vaccinations, some of its neighbors haven't been as fortunate. Many countries in the Latin America are facing sluggish vaccine rollouts and limited supplies. And now, with COVID cases accelerating in Central America, there are fears infections could soon spiral out of control.

Stefano Pozzebon reports from Bogota on the growing vaccine divide.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice over): Tens of thousands of people staged protests across Brazil this weekend demanding President Jair Bolsonaro's removal over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has recorded a third highest number of cases in the world after the U.S. and India and is now facing a possible third wave of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Brazil reported its second highest number of new infections in the single day, but the entire region is struggling. The Pan American Health Organization sounding the alarm as Central America reported last week the highest number of COVID-19 deaths to date and the doubling of new cases in Belize, El Salvador, and Panama.

As Europe and the United States relaxed international travel restrictions, Latin America is bracing for more cases and there aren't enough vaccines to go around. In Central America, countries like Guatemala and Honduras have only fully vaccinated less than 1 percent of their population in sharp contrast with the millions fully vaccinated up north.

What is particularly worrying, even with cases numbers rising, is that some restrictions are being lifted prematurely, in some cases to try to help a battered economy. But as more people are on the move, experts fear that the virus could spread even further. Columbia's capital Bogota is set to lift most restrictions next week.

CLAUDIA LOPEZ, MAYOR OF BOGOTA COLUMBIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): That sounds completely contradictory. And frankly, from an epidemiologic point of view, it is completely contradictory to reopen the city when ICUs are at 97 percent and new cases are growing. But from a social and economic point of view, with unemployment disproportionately affecting youngsters and women, it's the right thing to do.

POZZEBON: Brazil is now preparing to host a major football tournament, the Copa America, which could become a superspreader event in a country with the situation is far from under control. The only solution experts say is to boost vaccinations. The Biden administration on Thursday announcing plans to share at least 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses globally, making lives in America priority.

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Finally, I want to talk a little bit about where we are sharing these first 25 million doses. We are sharing them in a wide range of countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia and across Africa in coordination with the African Union.


This includes prioritizing our neighbors here in our hemisphere, including countries like Guatemala and Columbia, Peru and Ecuador and many others. POZZEBON: But with just six million doses are located so far across

more than one dozen different countries in the region, even the Air Force in just a drop in the ocean and the case is on the destine to keep piling up.

Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The U.K. is seeing a new spike in coronavirus cases recording more than 5,000 new infections on Thursday alone. That is the highest daily total since March. National Health Service data show the number of cases in the U.K. is up 22 percent from last week. Officials are trying to keep new cases from coming into the country and one of the ways they're doing it is by putting Portugal on the amber list.

That means anyone traveling to the U.K. from Portugal has to quarantine for 10 days and that's upsetting a lot of British tourists who are desperate for an uncomplicated holiday.

Nina dos Santos is in London with the latest. Nina, big shame for British travelers. Portugal was really the most attractive holiday option on that list and now, it's been crossed off. How people been taking the news?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning to you Kim. It's a huge disappointment for many British tourists who said that they just wanted an end to this pandemic with some summer sunshine and relief. The weather has been pretty on (inaudible) in the U.K. over the last couple of months and Portugal appeared to be the type of place that many British tourist could flock to a very reduce number of destination that were previously on that green list, which meant they were not subject to travel quarantine restrictions when they return to the U.K., also expensive testing as well.

But that is no longer the cases as of Tuesday. Portugal is one of those destinations that will join many of the European destinations with would have otherwise being big holiday destination over the summer on that amber list, which means people have to self-isolate at home, 10 days upon arrival and incurred expensive testing. It could be worse, it could be on the red list which is other countries around the world. Some countries yesterday also are placed in the red list and that means you have to isolate in a government mandated hotel facility near an airport, also very expensive, very restrictive and also you have to do more PCR testing and so n and so forth.

All of this is designed to try disincentivize people from going off very far from the U.K. essentially to bring variants of the COVID-19 -- variants of the COVID-19 -- excuse me -- virus back into these shores at the time when the U.K. is trying desperately to vaccinate as many people as possible.

The logic behind putting Portugal in this list grants chance the U.K transport secretary was -- said was because essentially the case numbers had doubled, he said, and they were particularly concerned about a variant of the Indian variant of COVID-19 that was spotted in the port. It didn't want that to be brought in from places like Portugal and to get a foot hold on these shores.

Having said that, Portugal has expressed dismay on this decision. And as you can expect airline bosses -- airline shares in the U.K. plunged yesterday. And of course, there's many British tourists send the opposition as well, the Labour Party, questioning why this move was made so swiftly without prior warning. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: So, you spoke of that race to get everyone vaccinated because the Indian variant. How is the U.K. doing? What can you tell us about that?

DOS SANTOS: Well, the U.K. is one of those countries that's among the top five vaccinators anywhere in the world, Countries like the UAE buffering Chile a little bit further up the list, but the U.K. has managed to deploy a partly different vaccines that had been approved most swiftly than other countries around the world and they've covered we know as of this week more than half of the adult population with two doses of the vaccines.

Indeed, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, got his second dose just this week and he tweeted that it was time to make sure you got your second jab if you have been called for it and also to make sure that you finish this was his comment when he had that second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine applied to him yesterday.

Having said that though, the reality is that this Indian variant is of concern for Public Health England, the main public health body. They said that case numbers of that variant had risen about 79 percent recently to over 12,000 in the U.K. And as we know, as you pointed out in your introduction, Kim, that numbers in terms COVID-19 infections more generally have spiked about 22 percent recently.

So, this reopening of the U.K. commonly, which is targeted for the end of this month, 21st of June, the government is signaling that they are trying to do everything to protect that eagerly awaited lifting of COVID restrictions domestically.


But it is looking awfully ambitious and we are already starting to get governments scientist starts to role about the possibility of a third wave is the vaccination pace doesn't continue at its current trajectory. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Yes. That's not what people want to hear obviously. Nina dos Santos in London, thanks so much.

Well, unlike the U.K., Australia vaccines rollout is going very slowly. The people who are eligible for most of the country's vaccines are older and many don't want them and the younger people who do want them don't have easy access.

Angus Watson tells us what's going wrong.


ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER (on camera): Like many places around the world, Australia has prioritized older and vulnerable people in the early stages of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The problem, the rollout has never quite got passed those early stages. Very few Australian under the age of 40 are eligible to get a shot and fewer than 1 million people in this country have had two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine.

The problem is both a supply issue and hesitance issue. Australia (inaudible) AstraZeneca vaccine, it's the only COVID-19 vaccine that's being produced locally. But earlier this year, Australia's drug regulators determined that that should be only given to people over the age of 50 due to the rare chance of people developing blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. People under the age of 50 told to wait until later in the year, until more Pfizer shots become available. There's' a shortage of those in Australia at the moment.

The problem is that older people saying they want to wait too towards the end of the year to get a vaccine that they see a superior to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which they worry about potential side effects. Meanwhile, millennials particularly are saying they would happily get the AstraZeneca vaccine if it diminishes the chances of a lockdown like the one that we are seeing in Victoria right now.

The state government there is saying that this lockdown may not have had to happen if the Australian government was quicker with its vaccine rollout. Just to over 30,000 Australians have caught COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. And they're wide places around Australia where there are very few restrictions and very few cases, but borders remain close. Very few people are allowed into the country.

In fact, 35,000 Australians or more around the world want to come back into the country but can't. Meanwhile, Australians here have to apply to the government to leave, a change in those circumstances depends on the vaccine rollout. The government says it's not a race, many here disagreed.

Angus Watson, CNN, Sydney, Australia.


BRUNHUBER: Final preparations for the Tokyo Olympics are underway and yet more and more people want to see them canceled. That is because Japan is fighting its fourth wave of COVID infections. That doesn't seem to be enough of a concern for organizers. The size of the bill if they were to cancel though might be. That's next, stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Tokyo 2020 is now just 49 days away. The Summer Olympics were postponed last year because of the pandemic and are now supposed to be starting on July 23rd. We're expecting the organizers to hold a news conference soon detailing final preparations. They've been pressing ahead despite polls showing most in Japan want the games canceled.

The country's top medical adviser saying hosting the games is not normal. And now, this, a Japanese Olympic committee board member saying the games have already lost meaning and are just being held for the sake of them.

Now, let's bring in our CNN's Blake Essig live from Tokyo. Blake, some harsh words from a Japanese Olympic legend there. Tell us more about what she said and whether it will make a difference at this point with organizers seemingly barreling ahead.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, you know, Kim it's been a rough week for Tokyo 2020. Just in the past 24 hours, we've learned that 10,000 volunteers and some doctors have pulled out from their role with less than 50 days to go. And today, as you mentioned, Japanese Olympic Committee Board member and former gold medalist in judo, Kaori Yamaguchi, wrote an op-ed published by Kyoto News hitting out its organizers saying, we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

And she asked a question, what will these Olympics be and for whom, writing that the power of sport is of little comfort to people worried about the medical situation that if organizers keep pushing will be left with a bitter aftertaste. Yamaguchi also writes that the opportunity to cancel has been missed and that we have been cornered into a situation where we can't stop. And that the International Olympic Community seems to think that the public opinion here in Japan is not important.

She points out that the comments made by IOC Vice President John Coates, who recently said that the games will be held even if there is a state of emergency order in effect. The public criticism from a board member involved with the Olympics is the first time we've heard anything of the sort indefinitely captures the mood here in Japan.

In just the past few weeks, multiple doctors, groups and Olympic sponsors, industry leaders and a majority of the Japanese general population have called for these games to be cancelled or postponed due to health and safety concerns. Yamaguchi says that the Japanese government and Olympic organizers have failed to address those concerns and in general appeared to be avoid talking about it.

Now, Olympic officials maintained that these games will be going ahead and that the event is impossible to postpone a second time. Now, those comments from Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto were made on Wednesday about the same day that Japan's top coronavirus adviser told the lower house in parliament that it's not normal to host this games during a global pandemic. And today, he also said that holding the games under a state of emergency should be avoided.

Now, currently Tokyo and nine other prefectures are under a state of emergency, set to expire June 20th, just about a month before the games are scheduled to begin. And Kim, to answer your question will this op-ed matter? Probably not.

BRUNHUBER: There you go. Alright, thank you so much. Blake Essig in Tokyo. I appreciate it.

And Japan their fighting its fourth wave of infections and many are worried that hosting the games will come at a great human cost. But organizers may be looking at another cost when it's in the billions of dollars.

CNN's Anna Stewart explains.


ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER: After years of preparation, Tokyo 2020 is just weeks away. A year late due to the pandemic, organizers say the event will now cause $15.4 billion. Some estimates suggest it will cost much more.

UNKNOWN: Cancel Tokyo Olympics.

STEWART: Opinion polls in Japan suggest a majority of the public want it canceled.

Japan has already banned oversea spectators which the (inaudible) Research Institute estimates will cost the country over $1 billion in lost revenue. Cancelling the games it says would cost more than $16 billion, but the think-tank warns that these cost actually paling comparison to the economic damage another wave of coronavirus could cause.

The IOC say its priority is to hold games that is safe and secure. And while pressure mounts for Japan to cancel the games, contractually, it can't.

ALEXANDRE MIGUEL MESTRE, SPORTS LAW ATTORNEY, ABREU ADVOGADOS: In practices the single entity that can cancel the games is the IOC, International Olympic Committee, because according to the charter, the IOC has an exclusive property of the games.

STEWART: So this means that actually Japan can unilaterally decide to cancel the Olympic Games?

MESTRE: If Japan, if the organizing committee, if Tokyo decides not to go on their obligations and the whole city contract, of course, it will be not possible to undertake the games. And that condition, of course, the IOC would be entitled to sue those co-parties in the host city contract.


STEWART: The IOC has insurance for games cancellation and abandonment which could cover part of its operational cost. But what about its partners, the sponsors and the broadcasters?

UNKNOWN: The main one in terms of money is the TV rights. The different contracts now are so complicated. Twenty years ago, it was very easy to answer to your question. Today, it's more or less impossible because the different TV networks bought not only one games but several, generally speaking three online, sometimes four.

We have to take each contract one by one and to analyze what is written in the contract. Sometimes it is written something about the cancellation, they have to reimburse, they have not. It depends on the contract and it is a pure contractual agreement between two private companies.

STEWART: Billions of dollars nor sues and insurance claims are at stake if the games are canceled. If they go ahead, the IOC risk breaching its own charter, which says it will promotes safe sports and protect athletes, who are already beginning to arrive in Japan. The ultimate costs could be borne by those at risk from COVID-19 if Tokyo 2020 becomes a super spreader event.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): In a short time ago we spoke with Ed Hula, the founder of Around The Rings, it's often called the go-to source for Olympic news. Here's' what he said would have to happen for the games to actually be canceled.


ED HULA, FOUNDER, AROUND THE RINGS: The IOC needs would like to deliver games that they broadcasters can send around the world, broadcasters like NBC in the United States, broadcasters around the world who pay rights to broadcast these games. That's the lifeblood of the IOC's income.

So, for the games to take place it continues that economic activity for the IOC. The games don't happen, it all comes to a crashing halt. Sponsors still will make their payments though, and the cancellations insurance is just a fraction of what the games actually cost to put on, probably $500 million, $600 million of cancellation insurance is about all that is in there. It's a mess.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): For now, the games are set to take place from July 23rd to August 8th. And the Paralympics go from August 24th to September 5th.

Well, U.S. Navy pilots see strange objects in the skies prompting speculations about aliens and UFOs. Still ahead, what U.S. Intelligence reportedly found out when it looked into those mysterious flying things. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Living on the edge in Central Mexico, the edge being a massive sinkhole would suddenly appear in a family's backyard on Saturday. [03:55:02]

At first it was five meters wide. But six days later, it's now at least 60 meters across and 20 meters deep. The family has been evacuated. Officials say farming and the extraction of groundwater may be to blame.

Alright, now, the truth maybe out there, but it's apparently a tall order to actually figure it out. We are talking about more than 120 incidents of strange phenomenon in the skies observe by U.S. military pilots in recent years, what many might call it UFOs.

The U.S. Intelligence looked into those incidents and it's a highly anticipated. A report is expected later this month. But The New York Times says, it spoke to officials familiar with the findings, and one reporter says there was no evidence of little green men coming from other planets. Listen to this.


JULIAN BARNES, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: They found no evidence that these unexplained phenomenon are alien spacecraft, but they still can't explain what they are and that's going to be a big but. They have ruled out that these things that were seen by the navy pilots were some sort of secret American government program. That was out there as one possibility, and that's been eliminated. But we don't have a definitive conclusion on what it is, although officials say there's no evidence it's aliens.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): And according to the Times, the report doesn't explain why some of the objects observe by pilots move the way they did. Now as far as earthlings flying in space more than 7,000 pounds of supplies including some tiny critters are on their way to the International Space Station.


UNKNOWN: Five, four, three, two, one, zero, ignition, lift off.

UNKNOWN: And lift off.


BRUNHUBER: SpaceX launched this rocket on Thursday and along for the ride are 5,000 tardigrades, also known as water bears And more than 100 baby glow in the dark bobtail squid. Both will be involved in experiments including accessing how water bears tolerate the space environment under some scientific experiments are on the way each day on board the International Space Station.

And that wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Kim Brunhuber, I'll be back in just a moment.