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Knesset Voted for Naftali Bennett as Israel's New Prime Minister; Former P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu Promise to Come Back; President Biden to Attend NATO Summit; Former FDA Chief Warns of More Cases This Fall; England's Freedom from Lockdown Could be Jeopardized by a Variant Spread; G7 Summit: Members Wrapped Up Meeting in England; U.S. President Biden and First Lady Meet Queen in Windsor; Pandemic Has Worsened Mental Health Crisis in Japan. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 14, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United states and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, a new day in Israel with a new prime minister. Naftali Bennett gets down to the business of governing but will Benjamin Netanyahu let him?

Joe Biden's America is back to roll into Brussels, next stop the NATO summit.

And in the U.K., COVID restrictions are set to end soon but now those plans may be on hold. Why and for how long? We will have a live report from London.

Good to have you with us.

Well, Naftali Bennett is beginning his first full day as Israel's prime minister. Benjamin Netanyahu's record 12 years in power came to an end on Sunday when the Knesset approve the coalition by a razor- thin one vote margin. Netanyahu fought the shift in power to the bitter end.

In a speech before the confidence vote, he attacked Mr. Bennett, called the coalition weak and dangerous and he promised to make a comeback. In contrast, Mr. Bennett delivered a message of unity.


NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We are at the beginning of new days. The hardships, not an exaggerated ward in this case. A forming a unity government are behind us. And now, the citizens of Israel, all of them are looking up at us and we must deliver. We will act together in partnership and responsibility to heal the rift amid the people and immediately bring the country back to functionality. Regular functioning after a long period of paralysis and strife, we are looking ahead.


CHURCH (on camera): Elliott Gotkine is in Jerusalem with more on what's ahead. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Elliott. So the big question now is how long can this new fragile and politically diverse coalition last? And what all can they achieve with such extreme differences?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Rosemary, I remember covering the U.K. elections in 2010 when there was a coalition government a very rare coalition between two parties would seemingly competing ideologies. Many experts then said it would just last a few months, it lasted a full term. In politics you never really know.

Yes, they've got, you know, they run the gambit of the political spectrum from far left through the center to the right, to the right even of ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and including for the first time ever a party representing citizens, Arab citizens of Israel.

So, yes, it's a very wafer-thin majority, it's a fragile coalition. We've talked about Netanyahu being in opposition, being the kind of glue that will hold this coalition together but I think what they're aiming to do and this isn't to say that it's going to be a foregone conclusion. What they're aiming to do is to avoid the issues that divide them. Things like Palestinians or settlements, things like that and they're going to try and focus on the issues that unite them and where they can actually achieve things.

So, for example, the economic recovery post COVID-19. Boosting the Israeli Defense Forces. Judicial reform. You know, trying to reduce crime rates in Arab cities and towns. These are all things that, you know, you probably be quite hard to push to find levels of disagreement over among these coalitions, constituent past, and for that reason they will focus on them.

I suppose the first order of business though will be trying to pass a state budget. Israel hasn't had one in more than two years. And I suppose the other big priority will try to be avoiding collapsing. Trying to stay together to ensure that Israelis don't have to go to the polls yet again. I think they're going to try their very best to give Israel a period however long they can have of political stability.

CHURCH: And Elliott, what all does the new Israeli Prime minister Naftali Bennett bring to the table and will he have the strength and drive to keep Netanyahu at bay because he will be breathing down his neck.

GOTKINE: He'll be breathing down their necks, he will be doing everything in his power to try to undermine this coalition to expose their ideological differences at the same time as the coalition is trying to minimize them.

[03:04:54] What Bennett bring to the table, well, he's been in Israeli politics for 15 years, he started out as ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief of staff. He's been an economy minister, education minister, defense minister. He is a high-tech millionaire. He sold his start-up for millions of dollars. He was in the special forces in the Israeli defense forces.

So, he has certainly got stamina, he certainly got strength. Ideologically, he is slightly to the right of prime minister, of ex- prime minister, excuse me, got to get used to saying that -- Ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But I think by virtue of not being Netanyahu, that will be one of the biggest things he brings to the table and alongside that will be his ability to say things that people will believe.

One of Netanyahu's biggest problem is that pretty much all of the people in the right wing of this government. This new coalition government have served with Netanyahu at one time or another. And at one point or another they have found themselves being turned on or having promises not kept by Netanyahu.

And that is perhaps one of the main things that prevented Netanyahu, getting the lights of Gideon Sa'ar from New Hope or Avigdor Lieberman from Yisrael Beiteinu to go into bed with him again for a fully right- wing government. So, by virtue of not being Netanyahu, by virtue of not having a track record of making promises that he fails to keep, I think that will be one of Naftali Bennett's strength and that will help him maintain this government, especially with Yair Lapid the alternate prime minister with him. He has a very good personal relationship. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Elliott Gotkine, many thanks joining us live from Jerusalem. I appreciate it.

Well for more analysis on this, David Horowitz joins us now from Jerusalem. He is the editor of the Times of Israel. Thank you so much for joining us.


CHURCH: Well Benjamin Netanyahu calls these new fragile coalition government weak and dangerous, but for now they are in charge with Naftali Bennett at the helm. And Netanyahu has been consigned the opposition after 12 years in power. So how significant is this and what does it say about Israel's democracy.

HOROWITZ: Well, it's hugely significant. Just very personally, the ties of Israel is going to mark its 10th anniversary next year, we only have the (Inaudible) prime minister, Netanyahu. My kids are older and they're mid in late 20s, they don't really remember in Israel that wasn't governed by Netanyahu.

So yesterday, there was this incredibly rowdy, I mean, almost shameful I think session where Bennett introduce his government and try to make a speech and he was heckled throughout the entire speech, by Likud and other Knesset members going into the opposition. And yet, despite that really very unpleasant scene at the end of it all, they had their vote and Netanyahu as you said was consigned to the opposition.

The narrowest possible, majority 60 to 59 with one extension. But perhaps the most important thing about the change is that we saw the Israeli democratic process reaffirm that a prime minister who used every legitimate trick in the book to stay in power for 12 years was unseated by a very wildly opponents from across the political spectrum using every legitimate trick in the political book to oust him.

CHURCH: And Netanyahu vows he will be back as he sits in wait as the leader of the opposition. It's certainly a very fragile coalition with historically diverse political views represented. So beyond passing a budget and being bound by the anti-Netanyahu stance, what all can they achieve? And how likely is it that we'll see Netanyahu seize back power sooner rather than later?

HOROWITZ: Well, we shouldn't make predictions. Israeli politics is notoriously unpredictable, but first of all as you rightly heard from Elliott, Netanyahu is the glue that holds this coalition together. As long as he's leading the opposition, all those people who came together against him will want to stay together against him.

But also, don't underestimate how dysfunctional Israel's governance has become in the last two years. As you said, no state budget since 2019. You know, the country wasn't operating properly. Four elections in two years, transition governments, really chaos in terms of governance. And there's a lot of scope for consensual stuff.

There was a massive disaster. Dozens of people killed at a religious event a few weeks ago. The ultraorthodox politicians are nominally responsible block a proper investigation into it which is necessary to make sure it doesn't happen again, it's an annual event. The first act of the new government this morning has been -- has been to begin setting up an investigation into that accident to try and avoid the recurrence.

You know, Bennett spoke yesterday about and he said it before, the things that we agree on will advance. The things we disagree upon we're going to put to the side for now. And I think don't underestimate it, but it's not just Bennett. There is this Yair Lapid guy. He's a centrist who put this coalition together. He's the man who put off his own prime ministerial ambitions. He's supposed to take over as prime minister in August 2023.


So there is the self-interest that Lapid has in keeping this government together, but also that moderating influence. The right- wing Bennett and the centrist Yair Lapid.

And one final thing, it had a very narrow majority yesterday but their Arab Knesset members who voted against this government not because they wanted Netanyahu to stay in power but because they didn't want to give their support overtly to a government led by right-wing Naftali Bennett, but when the effort comes to try to unseat this government those Arab Knesset members I think will not support it. And therefore, the majority for its survival against no confidence votes is probably a little larger than that incredibly narrow majority that got elected in the first place.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the U.S. President Biden, very quick to congratulate this new Israeli government. How significant is that? And what relationship would you expect the U.S. and Israel to have going forward, and what might be achieved in terms of peace in the region, do you think?

HOROWITZ: Well, first of all, strikingly quick to congratulate, you know, statement and then a phone call between Biden and Bennett. The Secretary of State Blinken was on the phone with Yair Lapid who is incoming the foreign minister as well as the ultimate prime minister, the defense secretary spoke within, you know, hours.

Clearly signaling in American embrace of a new Israeli government that isn't led by the very problematic Netanyahu. They can disagree I think almost as much as Netanyahu and American democratic government have disagreed on Iran. Naftali Bennett does not think that the United States should be re-entering the Iran deal, they'll disagree on the Palestinian issue but their, you know, if this government can keep its differences from destroying it, they'll have to be a sort of milder position.

I don't think we should expect major breakthroughs by any means on the Palestinian front, but there may be a change of tone in Israel and there might be a change in the nature of the relationship with the United states about that less overt confrontation and disagreement, I think.

CHURCH: David Horowitz in Jerusalem, many thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

HOROWITZ: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, U.S. President Joe Biden is preparing for the next appearance, and his European diplomacy tour the NATO summit set to get underway just a few hours from now. Part of Mr. Biden's goal on this international trip, his first as president, has been to repair relationship strained but his predecessor.

He will also meet with Russia's president later this week, but NATO members are looking at a full agenda for the day.

And for more on that we want to bring in our Melissa Bell outside NATO headquarters in Brussels. Great to see you, Melissa.

So, it is, it's a pivotal moment for the alliance, isn't it? With so many big issues on the agenda, and U.S. President Biden planning to press NATO over the threat of China and at the threat posed by Russia as well. What are the overall expectations?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, pivotal is exactly how it's been described by Jens Stoltenberg himself, the secretary general of NATO who arrived here just a moment ago. We expect the other leaders then to begin arriving, and as you say, the agenda is jam-packed. And I think the way you can sum it up, is that for the last few days there were celebration of the return to the multilateral fold of the United states.

Now the real work begins with important divisions within NATO allies on some very specific questions. So, for instance, what the French president points out is that there may be a change of administration. But in the meantime, Europe and the rest of the world has also moved on.

Europeans here at NATO representing such a large part of the NATO membership able to make their voices heard. Now, there is disagreement on the number of areas. It is wording with regard to China that's likely to be the subject of the greatest amount to controversy.

You'll remember that for the first time in 2019 the rise of China was noted as both a potential threat, and an opportunity, this of the prompting of Donald trump. Well, Joe Biden is going to carry out that line of insisting that tough language views towards China.

That is not something the French president wants to see. He will be looking at softening the wording on China, for him, the main strategic threat to Europe comes from Russia and that needs to remain NATO's focus.

And of course, Emanuel Macron's voice matters here. He is the president of the last remaining full -- from the permanent security council within the European Union, its largest military, engaged on a number of fronts. His voice will need to be heard in this as well.

So there will also be, and I think it's important to consider this, a question of exactly what NATO intends to do between now and 2030. There is going to be a question about what it's for, how it's funded, what common budgets are used for, how big they are. Something again Emmanuel Macron is worried about. His focus is much more in building up a European military defense, presence force means even, and doesn't want European money spent here at NATO, that might be spent on doing that.

So a bunch of disagreements ahead, I think around the table where at least all the partners are speaking, a language that everyone understands and in tones, and the normal codes of diplomacy that we had all become used to until the last few years, and yet, the disagreements may only seem all the starker.


CHURCH: And Melissa, what about Turkey and Afghanistan? What's expected there?

BELL: Well, it's going to be a pretty tense meeting I suspect between the America -- the French president and the Turkish president this morning. Their relationship is really at an all-time low. It has been fought over a number of issues all of the great geopolitical issues of the last year have seen them on opposite sides of the divide, whether you're talking about Iraq and the Kurds -- or Syria - -I'm sorry, and the Kurds, whether you are talking about the eastern Mediterranean.

And of course, more recently, Emmanuel Macron's defense of the French presses right to publish depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are so in sense the Turkish president that he brought into question the mental stability of the French president. I mean, this is how low their relationship has gone.

So that will be an important bilateral meeting aimed at trying to build -- rebuild some kind of relationship and understanding, and a crucial one. Because of course, as a NATO member, Turkey has an extremely important place to role. They will play -- role to play -- there will also be a bilateral meeting later this afternoon between Erdogan and Biden as well.

So, a number of things on the sidelines of the summit as well, that we're going to be keeping a close eye on.

CHURCH: All right. Melissa Bell, many thanks joining us live from Brussels. I appreciate it.

Well, once the summits wrap up in Brussels, President Joe Biden will travel to Geneva to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And the leaders admit relations between their countries are at a low point. More on that later this hour.

Also, ahead, it's decision day for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson why U.K. media say he is likely to delay a final easing of lockdown destructions in England. Back with more on that after the break.



CHURCH (on camera): There's a new warning about the impact the delta variant of coronavirus might have on the United States. It's not good. Former FDA chief, Scott Gottlieb says the variant which was first detected in India is more transmissible. He says it could set off another spike in cases this fall.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Right now in the United States it's about 10 percent of infections, it's doubling every two weeks, so it's probably going to become the dominant strain here in the United States, that doesn't mean that we are going to see a sharp uptick in infections but it does mean that this is going to take over. And I think the risk is really to the fall, that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall.


CHURCH (on camera): And that same variant is causing major concerns in the United Kingdom. And now British media are reporting that the lifting of a final round of restrictions in England is likely to be delayed.

With more, Scott McClean joins us live from London. Good to see you, Scott. So, any delay in lifting COVID restrictions will clearly not be

welcomed by most Brits, but is not the only option as a result of this variant.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Rosemary. Well, yes, a week from today was supposed to be the U.K.'s freedom day when all of the remaining COVID restrictions were set to be lifted but now according to several British media outlets, today is more like a Groundhog Day and the prime minister has apparently seen his shadow because we are in for four more weeks of restrictions.

But once that would have been eased would have been allowing full capacity at sport stadiums, theater, cinemas and the reopening of night clubs. And the remaining restrictions would have been lifted on the restaurant and hospitality industry as well.

But with than half of the adult population having been fully vaccinated, and almost 80 percent having at least one dose, the rest of the world might be sitting there wondering why the U.K. would delay things at all, and the answer can really be summed up in two words, Delta variant. That's the one that was first discovered in India.

And I want to run you through a few graphics which really illustrate the situation here in the U.K. First is the overall new cases. And you can see the first, second, and third wave of the virus in the U.K. and right now this country is nowhere near those earlier peaks, but if you change the timeline a little bit and look at just the last couple of months, you can see that new cases are actually starting to spike quite quickly.

And we know how quickly this virus can spread exponentially, and how quickly things can get out of control. But the real question here is about deaths. And we have not really seen any meaningful spike in deaths, hospitalizations have ticked up ever so slightly. But the theory is if the health care system is strong enough to withstand some new cases, patients are getting good care, and very few people are dying then there shouldn't really be an issue.

But we also know that deaths are a lagging indicator, meaning that between infection and deaths, it usually takes two weeks at least, and so we won't really know whether or not a lot of these people who have been infected with this delta variant are dying until at least this week, maybe next week considering when we first started to see the spike in cases really start to take off.

The Sanger Institute has been genetically sequencing most all of the positive cases in England. And I want to show you a graphic that they've done that really illustrates just how quickly this variant is spreading.

The map on the left-hand side of your screen, the darker the color, the higher proportion of the delta variant, and then you can see the chart on the bottom right-hand side which shows you just how quickly it's been found in the population, really spiking up to about 80 percent of new cases that it's being found in, and that's really the reason here that politicians are even contemplating this at all. Government scientist say the virus spreads 64 percent is -- it spread

64 percent more easily than the U.K. variant. But Rosemary, the even more concerning thing is vaccine efficacy. Two doses of the vaccine normally would get you 88 percent efficacy, now the government says that's down to 81 percent with this new variant.

CHURCH: Incredible numbers there. Scott McLean joining us live from London. Many thanks.


Joining me now is Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health. Thank you, doctor for being with us and for all that you do.

So, I do want to start with that delta variant that's dominating infections in the U.K. with its rapid spread and use of the same delta variant is behind a spike in U.S. infections. How worried are you about this variant and those people refusing to get vaccinated or who haven't been able to get the shot yet who will obviously all be vulnerable?

ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes. So first of all, thank you for having me back.

I am concerned about this delta variant. It wreaks havoc in India, obviously most people there were not vaccinated. It is causing a three to four-fold increase in infections in the U.K. Again, largely among unvaccinated. It's a small number of cases right now in the United states, probably 6 to 10 percent. It's going to grow and the real risk is all the unvaccinated people who are very, very vulnerable to this variant.

CHURCH: Yes, of course and what was your reaction to the G7 summit commitment to provide one billion COVID shots for the world?

JHA: I thought it was great. I mean, I thought first of all, I think it's a great step and you want to be positive about it but I do want to say two things. First of all, we will need more than that. A billion dose is really good, and second, we're going to need a faster. A majority of those doses won't arrive until the end of this year or the beginning of next year. We need to figure out how to move that table up.

So, I want to be thankful for that commitment but say we've got to do more than that.

CHURCH: And doctor, you have said how important it is to find the origins of this pandemic so we can stop at happening again. And at the G7 summit President Biden called for a more extensive international investigation into the possibility of a lab leak. But G7 leaders pushback on that. Do you think we will ever know for sure, given China has so far prevented any thorough investigation?

JHA: Yes. I maybe in the minority but I am optimistic we will figure this out. It's obviously very, very important. Again, I think the lab leak hypothesis remains the less likely view but we don't know for sure. And it is so critically important that we figure out how this virus started spreading among humans given the havoc that it has reached across the world. It's critically important and I hope with intelligence and with good scientific work and with hopefully China's greater cooperation we will be able to figure it out.

CHURCH: And just finally, a Texas judge just tossed out a lawsuit by hospital employees that were refusing to get the COVID vaccine, how critical is it that all hospital staff get that shot and that a federal judge agrees with this decision?

JHA: Yes, I thought it was a great decision. Again, obviously I'm not a legal scholar but just from a public health point of view, it is really baffling to me that you have health care workers choosing not to be vaccinated. Look, they're putting not themselves but -- not just themselves, but their patients at risk. They deal with immunocompromised patients, vulnerable patients. I don't think as a hospital administrator you can justify running a hospital without everyone being vaccinated and I was happy to see the federal judge agree with that.

CHURCH: Dr. Ashish Jha, always a pleasure to chat with you. Many thanks.

JHA: Thank you.

CHURCH: Ahead here on CNN, G7 members call for a new study into the origins of COVID-19 and a voicing concerns over China. A live report from Hong Kong, that's next.

U.S. President Joe Biden has now said goodbye to the U.K. but not before sitting down with the queen. We will go live to Windsor for the details on his visit. That's next.




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): G7 members wrapped up their three-day meeting in England after tackling pressing issues and coordinating policy. And U.S. President Joe Biden embraced allies unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: What we need is cooperation. I think it's great to have a U.S. president who's part of the club and very willing to cooperate. And I think that what you -- what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The United States, I've said before, we're back. The U.S. is back. We feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO and I, for one, think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH (on camera): And here are some of the key takeaways from this year's summit. Members collectively pledged to donate more than two billion COVID-19 vaccines to the rest of the world by next year. On climate, they committed to net zero emissions by no later than 2050.

They called for a new study into the origins of the coronavirus. This comes after an initial report was deemed lacking because Beijing had refused to cooperate. And members also agreed to speak out against human rights abuses in China, a matter that had been hotly debated behind closed doors.

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us from Hong Kong. Ivan, what is China saying about this? How far will G7 leaders likely go when it comes to China?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: China is unhappy with this. It is a three-day holiday and Beijing is off today. But the Chinese embassy in London has been quite busy or the spokesperson has, putting out two statements now, criticizing the G7. The first of which said -- quote -- "The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone," going on to denounce the -- quote -- "so-called system and order advocated by a handful of countries."

In a subsequent statement, the embassy went out accusing the G7, in its final communique, of putting out comments that distorted facts, reversed right and wrong, deliberately slanders China, and showed sinister intentions of a few countries such as the United States.

Then, it goes to a point-by-point rebuttal of points within the group of seven final communique that criticized China and call for action on some of China's controversial policies.


WATSON: For example, the group of seven countries, they have called for China to respect human rights in its Xinjiang region. And here in Hong Kong, they are calling for an investigation of the origin of the coronavirus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, late in the year of 2019.

They are calling for no changes to the status quo in the south and East China Sea where China is engaged in territorial dispute with other countries. And they're calling for an end to forced labor, being used for products that end up in the supply chain and calling for more transparency in free market policy. China doesn't like any of that.

A final point is that President Biden came to the G7 meeting. Senior White House officials tell CNN that he really wanted the countries to agree on a tougher line on China.

There was disagreement, reportedly on Saturday, the leaders had to turn off the internet in the negotiating room because there were strong disagreements here, mostly the European countries, leaders characterized as not wanting to provoke China, whereas Emmanuel Macron of France, Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, they were more alongside Biden in wanting to take a tougher approach towards China.

Biden has since said that he is satisfied with the final statement and one of the measures introduced is a kind of global infrastructure project, trying to invest in infrastructure in poorer countries. That seems to be competition with China's own belt and road initiative, but it is coming years and perhaps billions of dollars late. China has already been hard at work on this.

And if anything, President Biden is coming to the table trying to rally democracies to compete with China, but again, he is -- he is coming to this after China has been organized in moving forward on many fronts for many years. Rosemary?

CHURCH (on camera): All right. Ivan Watson, joining us live from Hong Kong, many thanks.

Once President Biden wraps up his summit in Brussels, he will travel to Geneva for his highly-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ahead of that, Mr. Biden says he agrees with Mr. Putin that relations between the U.S. and Russia are at a low point. And while no major breakthroughs are expected of Wednesday summit, President Biden spoke about what he hopes to achieve.


BIDEN: It's about making myself very clear what the conditions are to get a better relationship are -- with Russia. We're not looking for conflict. We are looking to resolve those actions which we think are inconsistent with international norms. There is no guarantee you can change a person's behavior or the behavior of this country. Autocrats have enormous power and they don't have to answer to public.


CHURCH (on camera): And Mr. Biden defended the decision not to hold a joint news conference with Mr. Putin after their meeting is over. He says it would detract from America's goal of working toward a stable and predictable relationship with Russia.

And President Biden had a different kind of high-profile meeting Sunday. He and the first lady capped their stay in the U.K. with a visit to Queen Elizabeth's private residence at Windsor Castle. Biden is now the 12th U.S. president to meet with the queen during her reign and only the fourth to sit with her in Windsor Castle.

Let's go now to CNN's Max Foster who joins us live from Windsor. Great to see you, Max. So, some very different images coming out of this U.S. presidential visit with the queen compared to his predecessor. They really appear to connect here, didn't they? What all is being said about their meeting?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it's interesting. This is a rare -- increasingly rare honor. The queen doesn't travel. She won't be going to America, for example, although Biden did invite her to go to America. She doesn't do long distance travel because of her age and she isn't able to do as many engagements as she used to.

Obviously, a visiting U.S. president is prioritized, and Rosemary, it was quite an informal welcome, even though there is a guard of honour and then there was tea in the castle, but it is something that the Brits can offer a visiting president, which other countries can't really offer. You know, the profile of the queen is so high and all the tradition which visitors always enjoy as well.

I did speak to Prince Edward last week and he said one of the great things about these meetings is that nothing is ever shared about them. They remained private. But that wasn't quite the case this time. So a lot of people question whether or not President Biden should share what they discussed in the meeting.

But it is fascinating to hear what they did talk about. You assume it's the weather and the tea, but actually, they ended up talking about Xi and Putin.


FOSTER: Have a listen to what President Biden said at the airport on the way out of the U.K.


BIDEN: She wanted to know what the two leaders that I -- the one I'm about to meet with, Mr. Putin. And she wanted to know about Xi Jinping. We had a long talk, and she was very generous.


FOSTER (on camera): He was breaking the convention (ph) a bit there, I think, because, you know, you're not meant to share those meetings. But the priority for the queen and for the government is always that these visitors enjoy their visits. He clearly did. So I think it is purely being seen as a triumph. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Max Foster, joining us from Windsor, many thanks.

As Tokyo prepares to host the summer Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan is facing a different and growing health crisis. We will explain after the break.


CHURCH: There are signs the coronavirus pandemic is worsening in Cuba. Health officials are reporting the highest numbers of daily new cases on the island since the pandemic began, nearly 1,500 on Sunday along with 12 deaths.

Government officials say they are tightening restrictions on people entering and leaving Havana, the epicenter of infection, as well as limiting the number of people using public transportation. Cuba is also beginning to widely administer its homegrown vaccine, even though it is not clear it works.

The summer Olympics in Tokyo are set to kick off next month. This despite calls to cancel the games amid a devastating fourth wave of COVID-19. At the same time, the pandemic has magnified a growing mental health crisis in Japan.


CHURCH: CNN's Blake Essig joins us now live from Tokyo with more. So Blake, it is, of course, the tragic and hidden part of this pandemic story. What is the latest on the mental health crisis and what is being done about it?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yeah, Rosemary, it's a really sad situation. Earlier this year, though, Japan appointed a minister of loneliness to tackle the country's mental health crisis. It is seemingly monumental task. Even before the pandemic hit, Japan had a serious problem with loneliness, isolation, and suicide. These issues are affecting the entire population, but in different ways.



ESSIG (voice-over): For the third time this week, Masatomi Yokoo and his team enter a home to clean. A simple job, but nothing about it is easy.

MASATOMI YOKOO, PRESIDENT, MEMORIES COMPANY (through translator): He probably died here. I don't know the shape because the body fluid has soaked into (INAUDIBLE) so much. But I think probably here.

ESSIG (voice-over): Yokoo, president of Memories Company, has been in the cleaning business for about 13 years. But recently, he says cleaning up after lonely deaths where people die alone and remained undiscovered for long periods of time has sadly turned into big business.

YOKOO (through translator): We do this kind of work every day. This is a scene that we always witness. We can see that his life is getting rough and that he is issuing an SOS. This is an ordinary scene for us.

ESSIG (voice-over): The 79-year-old man who lived here died alone. The cause of death is unknown. Police say his body was found about a month after he died.

(On camera): Walking through this apartment is as if time has stood still. There is still food and drinks on the counter, mail on the floor. If you take a look around this apartment, there is garbage and clothes scattered everywhere. It is a heartbreaking scene. It is all too common here in Japan.

(Voice-over): Michiko Ueda is an associate professor at Waseda University who studies loneliness. While she says Japan's aging population is a great risk of isolation, it is actually the young that suffer most. Her research analyzing the public's mental health found 40 percent of the entire Japanese population feels loneliness. For those under 40, that number is 50 percent.

MICHIKO UEDA, PROFESSOR, WASEDA UNIVERSITY: They have high suicidal ideation. They want to kill themselves very often. And then also do feel that they're useless. They have no meaning in life. So the psychological effect of loneliness on individuals is very, very high.

ESSIG (voice-over): A psychological effect likely impacting more people as a result of the pandemic. In 2020, for the first time in 11 years, the suicide rate in Japan increased from the previous year and changed.

UEDA: What typically happened during the economic crisis, the middle- aged men die by suicide. But now, it's the young ones, so definitely something different is going on.

ESSIG (voice-over): And the numbers show it is getting worse. According to the National Police agency, the suicide rate in the month of April increased more than 19 percent compared to last April. While the pandemic has claimed more than 10,000 lives in Japan during that time, more than 23,000 people have taken their own life.

For Nanako Takayama, those numbers are personal. She experienced loneliness, depression, and contemplated suicide when she was 30 years old shortly after giving birth to her first child.

NANAKO TAKAYAMA, COUNSELOR, A PLACE FOR YOU (through translator): I wanted to disappear. I did not know how to handle my feelings and it was too painful to think about what to do.

ESSIG (voice-over): About a decade later, Takayama studied psychology and is a counselor at (INAUDIBLE), A Place For You, which is a 24-hour chat service for those who just need someone to listen. At times, she interacts with four to five people a day. She uses her own struggle with loneliness to help others.

TAKAYAMA (through translator): I want to say that you are not alone. We seriously want to listen to your story. Voicing your concern is never a bad thing. It doesn't mean that you're running away from the problem or you're weak.

ESSIG (on camera): Experts say about 30,000 people here in Japan die lonely deaths each year. When that happens, this is the result. Cleaners asked to come in to pick up the pieces of a life lost.

YOKOO (through translator): I can't get used to this forever. Time has stopped here. I can feel what kind of life he was having here right away. Honestly speaking, my heart aches.


ESSIG (on camera): Japan's new minister of loneliness, his name is Tetsushi Sakamoto. He says his first task is to identify those who are isolated, lonely, and at risk of being cut off from society. He also plans to promote activities to protect the ties between people.

Japan isn't the first country to appoint a minister of loneliness. The United Kingdom did so in 2018, largely to focus on loneliness endured by the elderly.


ESSIG: Of course, Rosemary, in Japan, the issue isn't limited to one demographic here. It seriously has impacts for boys, girls, men, and women of all ages.

CHURCH: Blake Essig, it is such a tragic story. Thank you for shining a spotlight on that and joining us live from Tokyo. Many thanks.

And loneliness, social isolation, and suicide are not issues unique to Japan. For support around the world, the Internal Association for Suicide Prevention keeps a worldwide directory of resources and hotlines. You can also turn to Befrienders Worldwide and you can see their web addresses there on your screen.

Well, coming up, new details from a team doctor about what happened when Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch. The details after the break.


CHURCH: World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is celebrating after winning the French Open title in thrilling fashion on Sunday.


CHURCH (on camera): He is the first male player in the modern era to win all four major tournaments twice. Djokovic now has 19 grand slam singles titles in his career, just one behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most all time.

We are learning just how serious the situation was when a Danish footballer collapsed in the middle of a Euro 2020 tournament match. Christian Eriksen is still in the hospital in stable condition. The team's doctor described what happened.


MORTEN BOESEN, DENMARK TEAM DOCTOR: (INAUDIBLE) say he was -- he was gone. And we did cardiac resuscitation and there was cardiac arrest. How close were we? I don't know. We got him back after one defibrillation. So, that's quite fast.


CHURCH (on camera): After play resumed, Denmark lost the game against Finland. The team will play Belgium on Thursday.

Film and stage actor Ned Beatty has passed away of natural causes. Best known for his roles in films like "Deliverance," "All the President's Men," and the "Superman" franchise, Beatty was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1977 film "Network."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NED BEATTY, FILM AND STAGE ACTOR: The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.


CHURCH (on camera): What a voice. And younger generations may also recognize Beatty's voice. He played Lotso the bear in "Toy Story 3." Ned Beatty was 83 years old.

Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news after this short break. Stay with us.