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U.K. Sees Surge Of Cases As Restrictions Set To Lift; At Least 160 Dead, Hundreds Missing In Europe Flooding; Three Shot Outside D.C.'s Nationals Park; Two Athletes Test Positive For COVID-19 In Tokyo's Olympic Village; Johns Hopkins University: Almost Half Of Canadians Vaccinated; Cases Surge In Africa With Low Vaccination Rate; U.K. Restaurants See Signs Of Revival And New Challenges. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 18, 2021 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, a race against time in Western Europe as rescuers search for flood survivors. I'll speak with someone on the front lines.

Mask mandates in Los Angeles, two cases in the Olympic Village and Britain's health secretary diagnosed with coronavirus. We'll get you up to speed on COVID headlines from across the globe.

And terrifying moments as America's gun violence epidemic rears its ugly head outside a Major League Baseball game. Hear from someone who was there when it happened.


CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Tonight, it was us. But tomorrow or a week from now or two weeks from now, it'll be someone else.



HOLMES: And we begin in Western Europe, where a desperate search for survivors is underway following those devastating floods. At least 160 people are now confirmed dead. Hundreds of others still unaccounted for.

Rising waters, landslides and power outages making rescue efforts more difficult. The Dutch Red Cross supporting residents in the city of Venlo; 10,000 people ordered to evacuate their homes on Friday due to surging river waters. Meanwhile, cleanup has begun in areas where waters have receded,

revealing what's been lost to the rushing waters; homes, roads, bridges, even cemeteries swept away. One local official calls this flood a catastrophe of historic proportion.

And in the coming hours, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, will see it first-hand when she visits one of her country's hardest hit flood zones. Journalist Chris Burns is on the ground in Verviers in Belgium for us.

Chris, good to see you. The search continues for those still missing.

What is the latest?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is the death toll still stands at 27 in Belgium; more than 100 missing, according to authorities. That search goes on. They keep finding -- last night, they found other bodies. So it is continuing.

At the same time, that cleanup does go on. In fact, we had to move upriver a bit from yesterday, where they are progressing with the cleanup. But here, you can see the destruction remains.

And I talked to somebody in his window over there just a couple minutes ago. He still doesn't have water. He has power; that's been restored since yesterday. But there is still no water.

We went to Pepinster yesterday, which was very hard hit, that's nearby. And we took a look at the cleanup. Take a look at what we saw.


BURNS (voice-over): In this small town of the Ardennes region of Belgium, the cleanup is underway after the terror and the struggle to survive catastrophic flooding.

Residents in Pepinster are finding what's left of their belongings, covered in mud, the first step in piecing their lives back together.

"We are emptying the basements. They were completely flooded. Now we are trying to recover especially my daughter's bakery equipment that was flooded. We are trying to recover what can be recovered. But almost everything has been lost."

Not much left of some gardens, either, turned into virtual junkyards by the flood.

But there is help from other locals; small brigades, armed with shovels, brooms and buckets.

"We do our best to keep going, to keep going and to keep the morale high. And we keep going. We are getting a lot of help from volunteers, people that we absolutely don't know and stop to help us. Now they are emptying the mud that was in the basement. It's really a beautiful act of generosity."

And there's help coming from the Belgian government and the European Union, as officials tour the devastation.

URSULA VAN DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Now important is you've seen the destruction, important is the reconstruction. This is -- we are in for long haul there. But we stand by the side of people who are concerned in this region and not only this region.

BURNS (voice-over): The Belgian government has earmarked millions for the reconstruction.

But will that help be enough?

Were officials prepared for this disaster?

And will they be in the future?


ALEXANDER DE CROO, BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER: We will have to look at how frequent we think in the future events like this can happen. This is, 200 years ago, something like this happened. But what the future will look like, we will have to do the correct analysis.

BURNS (voice-over): Analysis not only of what should have been done but of what impact climate change will have.


BURNS: And the impact is also continuing today, where lots of people are out there, helping to clean up. But there is a call by the government, saying that, please, if you do want to help, contact the Red Cross. Please do not clog the roads with more traffic, blocking the rescue efforts.

So despite all the help we saw, the government would like to see people do it in a little bit more systematic way through the Red Cross, which would facilitate the search for more victims -- Michael.

HOLMES: All right, Chris, thank you. Chris Burns there in Belgium for us.

Now in Germany, Christopher Wellner has been involved in rescue operations as a member of the German Life Saving Association known as DLRG. He joins me now from Erfurt in Germany.

And thanks for doing so.

I was curious; what were the challenges for rescue groups like yours when these floods hit?

CHRISTOPHER WELLNER, MEMBER, GERMAN LIFE SAVING ASSOCIATION: Good morning. Those challenges, first of all, was getting into those sites. The destruction there is tremendous.

It's -- our people, our team saw pictures. They don't usually see a lot of flooding sites in Germany. So infrastructure got hit pretty hard and, even with our equipment, with the special boats (ph), it was very difficult sometimes to get into those sites.

HOLMES: And what sort of rescues did your team and others carry out?

WELLNER: We have almost 1,000 people of DLRG on our sites in the last couple days. And it was different assignments we had. And first of all, it was about rescuing people who got stuck. There were truckers who got stuck in their trucks, the flood all around them.

There were people in their houses and also there were people who were in the water, who had to be saved from drowning.

HOLMES: What was your reaction to the level of damage?

I mean, as you mention infrastructure and so on, I mean just how bad is it?

Can you give us a sense?

WELLNER: Well, I think it's pretty bad. I've seen some sites myself during the last two days. And I've never seen that so far. And eight years ago, 2013, we had a big flooding in the east part of Germany. But what's happening there right now in the western part, it's now being compared to what I've seen in 2013.

HOLMES: What would you say are the main needs right now, for those who have been affected?

Obviously shelter for those who lost their homes.

But what other pressing needs have you seen?

WELLNER: Of course, shelter is very important but also the power is a problem. And drinking water is brought in. The infrastructure got hit pretty hard. So that includes mobile system and, of course, power and drinking water.

HOLMES: Have you thought about how we need to be better prepared for these events in the future?

Because all indications are these extreme weather changes will happen more and more often, right?

WELLNER: Yes, they will happen more often. And in Germany, we're quite prepared very well. But the problem in this situation right now was the speed of the flooding. The water came in so quickly -- and you can't send in those special troops within like 10 minutes, 30 minutes.

So the speed was -- was unbelievable. And that was the biggest difficulty. So our special teams there, equipped pretty well. There are people from military, federal, local and state authorities on the sites. So we're prepared pretty good. But that was just too fast.

HOLMES: Well, I'm sure a lot of people appreciate the work you and your organization did. Christopher Wellner with the German Life Saving Association, I appreciate you spending time with us.

WELLNER: Of course, thank you.

HOLMES: All right, now in Washington, D.C., Saturday night's Major League Baseball game between the Nationals and the Padres came to a sudden stop, as gunfire erupted outside the stadium. Police say at least three people were wounded but there did not appear to be an ongoing threat.

Confusion sweeping through the stadium as players suddenly left the field at the bottom of the 6th. Even though everyone was told to stay inside the stadium, you could see dozens of people, scrambling into the dugouts and the exits to get out of there.


HOLMES: Nervous fans later given the all-clear to safely leave after initially being told to stay put. The game was suspended until Sunday afternoon.


HOLMES: Chris Cillizza is a CNN Politics reporter and editor at large.

Chris, you were there.

How did this all play out in the stadium?

CILLIZZA: Yes, odd situation. So it was the middle of the 6th inning and we -- there were some loud bangs. I was sitting off the third baseline. And there were some loud bangs behind us, a bunch of some, right in a row.

But they were supposed to do fireworks after the game tonight. So I think most people didn't think anything of it. But then suddenly, a lot of people in left field started jumping out and trying to get out of the center field gates.

And then for the next about 8 to 10 minutes, I think people -- no one knew what was happening. You saw people hiding behind -- we were sort of crouched behind our seats in -- down the 3rd baseline.

And not a lot of information. The players were taken out of the dugouts. They -- some came out to get their families and grab them and bring them under the stadium. So there just wasn't any information.

Eventually they came over the PA and said that they believed the shooting was outside the stadium. But I mean, for 8-10 minutes, it was a pretty scary situation, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, I can imagine. And the players -- I saw some video of the players actually reacting. You could hear what turned out to be gunshots and the players reacting.

What happened on the field?

CILLIZZA: Yes, I mean, so it was in between innings. So it was right as the Padres made their third out. People were sort of, you know, doing what you do in the middle of a hot, humid night in Washington, stretching, getting food.

And then there was this commotion and it looked like it was sort of above where I was sitting, which is, you know, in the -- we were in the -- on the lower deck, the second deck.

And then all of a sudden to our left, you just saw people streaming out. I think it was really more people just hearing things and not knowing what to do and realizing it was a serious situation. But we really didn't have a whole lot of information.

And so by the time I looked back on the field, all the players were off. But I will tell you, a lot of people just jumped on the field and ran into the dugouts. And again, I think the issue was no one knew what that situation was. You know, no one knew if there was someone with a gun in the stadium.

I mean, there's metal detectors and that sort of thing. So you know, I thought that would be unlikely. But at that point, no one really knew. And they weren't saying anything over the public address system. So it was sort of a -- there was an information deficit. And I think a lot of people just panicked.

HOLMES: Yes. And Twitter was doing its thing, too, which was not always accurate information. So that always happens in this situation.

CILLIZZA: Yes, absolutely.

HOLMES: Big picture though -- and I know you've written about this sort of thing, too. I mean, something like this just speaks to what is a constant drumbeat of gun violence in the United States, daily, endless, deadly. And it's pretty much every single day.

CILLIZZA: Yes and, I mean, look, obviously, I've written and covered it a lot. It's different to be in the middle of it. But you know, in major cities across the United States, crime is extremely high.

There's an epidemic of gun violence in this country. It's not like this anywhere else in the world. And, you know, tonight it was us. But tomorrow or a week from now or two weeks from now, it'll be someone else. And that's the scary bit.

HOLMES: I think for Americans, it becomes white noise because there's so much of it. But when, like you, it's around you, it's a wake-up. Chris Cillizza, thanks so much. Glad you're safe.

CILLIZZA: Michael, thank you.


HOLMES: Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, two Olympic athletes in Tokyo's Olympic Village have now tested positive for COVID-19. We are live in Tokyo.

Plus the 2020 games mark the second time that this Tokyo man has lost his home to an Olympic stadium.

Was it worth it?

We'll discuss.





HOLMES: Now on Monday, England is due to lift every social distancing restriction. People will be able to return to restaurants, bars and public life and do so without masks.

But life isn't back to normal yet. The Delta variant fueling a new surge in infections. On Saturday, the U.K. actually reported more than 54,000 cases, the highest number in six months. Phil Black with more.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.K.'s daily confirmed cases continues to climb dramatically. Almost 55,000 were reported Saturday. Among those to test positive recently is the man whose job it is to coordinate efforts against the pandemic here, the U.K. health secretary.

Sajid Javid says he is fully vaccinated and the symptoms are mild and he's isolating at home with family. He has tested positive just as the government is set to embark on an unprecedented experiment in England.

From Monday, pandemic restrictions disappear; life, effectively, unlocked, even while people here are still enduring a surging wave of infections. No other country has sought to restore freedoms in these circumstances. And there is tremendous uncertainty.

The government's own scientific advisers say they don't know just how this is likely to play out, because, ultimately, it will come down to the people and how they choose to behave, how cautiously they choose to behave, now that they are no longer being told precisely what to do.

The government hopes widespread vaccination coverage will prevent soaring infections from translating into high numbers of people requiring treatment in hospital. But critics, scientists here and overseas, simply don't buy that. They believe the plan is unethical.


BLACK (voice-over): They say the Delta variant is so contagious that, inevitably, vast numbers of people are going to be falling ill in the near future and many of them will be seriously ill. The government has also been warned by its own scientific advisers about potential consequences for the whole world.

They say this move creates the conditions in which an immune-escaped variant is more likely to emerge. They're talking about a mutation of the coronavirus, a new variant, that is better at beating existing vaccines -- Phil Black, CNN, Essex, England.


HOLMES: Now cases are also on the rise across the U.S. We're seeing outbreaks in every single state. And health experts are stressing the need to get vaccinated. And that's because the overwhelming majority of people who are ending up in the hospital or dying because of the virus are indeed unvaccinated.

A little more than 48 percent of the population here is fully vaccinated, when you take a look at CDC data. That means there's a long way to go before hitting herd immunity, which potentially starts at around 70 percent.

U.S. vaccination rates have barely budged recently. President Biden blaming social media, and Facebook in particular, for spreading vaccine misinformation. He's even accusing them of, quote, "killing people" for not stopping it.

Well, Facebook responding, of course. The company claiming that, quote, "85 percent of Facebook users in the U.S. have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19."

It goes onto say, "President Biden's goal was for 70 percent of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed."

Now the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agrees misinformation is a problem. Here's what he told us.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: If we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media, I don't think it would have been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox; we probably would still have smallpox.

And we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now. If we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we would still have polio in this country.


HOLMES: With five days to go until the opening ceremonies in Tokyo, two Olympic athletes at the village have now tested positive for COVID-19. Olympic organizers have not revealed the names nor the nationalities of the positive cases.

This coming as coronavirus cases are surging in Tokyo and elsewhere in the country. And it's raising fears the games could turn into a superspreader event. The executive board for the International Olympic Committee is meeting right now and is likely discussing those very concerns. We do expect to hear more from the IOC president, Thomas Bach, in the

coming hours, when he hosts a news conference. CNN's Selina Wang joins me now live from Tokyo to talk more about this.

What more do we know about these athletes testing positive?

And how worrying is that as the Olympic Villages start to fill?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, no names have been disclosed for privacy reasons. But two athletes testing positive in the Olympic Village. A third athlete testing positive, who lives outside the Olympic Village. And this is as the total tally of COVID- 19 cases related to the Tokyo Olympics continues to climb.

Now 55 total, with athletes, contractors and officials testing positive for COVID-19. Now there is a long list of COVID-19 restrictions for everybody involved in these games. I visited the Olympic Village, Michael, and it's very much an anti-social, sanitized bubble. Not at all the usual partying and celebration there, with athletes asked to dine alone.

But still major concerns about the way the village is designed, including the sharing of rooms among athletes. I visited a suite, where eight athletes will be living together, just 110 square meters.

Now officials are saying, though, they're confident they can keep these participants separate from the general population.

But the question moving forward is can they keep this up and contain these cases and prevent them from spreading?

HOLMES: Very worrying.

Of course, when you talk about Olympic atmosphere, are there plans to improve on that, given that the stadiums are going to be empty?

WANG: Yes, exactly, Michael. Empty stadiums, no spectators allowed; they're still trying to create this crowd-like atmosphere, with fake noises and virtual clapping. The IOC has said they're going to be using recordings from previous Olympics, recordings of the noise, and playing them in the stands.

They're also saying that fans can submit selfie videos that will be shown in the Olympic stadiums. They'll also show this live cheer map of people around the world, virtually watching these games.


WANG: So we'll see just what the atmosphere will look like with all this virtual connection -- Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, it's going to be weird. It really is. Selina, thank you, Selina Wang there in Tokyo for us.

Now the long journey leading up to the Olympics has been, as we know, riddled with problems. There was the global pandemic, of course, but also delays and costs and protests against the games.

But the disappointment runs even deeper and more personally for one man, whose home was uprooted for the massive Olympic stadium and for another man, who spent thousands for tickets he won't be able to use. CNN's Will Ripley following both of those stories for us.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Japan's Olympic stadium, a symbol of the troubled Tokyo games. And for Kohei Jinno, a reminder of the home he lost. Jinno got an eviction notice in 2013 when Japan won the 2020 bid, a year of national triumph and personal loss.

Around 200 families, mostly senior citizens, evicted; their housing complex demolished five years ago, replaced by Tokyo's multibillion- dollar 68,000 seat showpiece, a bitter pill made worse because it happened before.

KOHEI JINNO, TOKYO RESIDENT: Oh, I was born about there.

RIPLEY: That stop sign?


RIPLEY (voice-over): He points to a stop sign, where his childhood home used to be. It was also torn down to build Tokyo's 1964 Olympic stadium, rising from the ashes of World War II.

"The first Olympics was during the reconstruction period. We were happy to cooperate," he says. "But this time we were treated without compassion."

Jinno thought it was too soon for Japan to host another Olympics. And that was before the pandemic.

RIPLEY: The stadium that cost him his home will sit virtually empty during the games, the first spectator ban in Olympic history. Tokyo is under a fourth COVID-19 state of emergency.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Cases surging, vaccination rates low; a recent poll shows nearly eight in 10 Japanese don't want the games to go ahead.

Kazunori Takishima calls it mass hysteria. A self-described super fan, he's been to every Olympics since Torino in 2006.

He says, "The decision to ban spectator suspect based on emotion, not science."

Takishima has 197 reasons to be angry. That's how many tickets he bought for Tokyo 2020, spending nearly $40,000. The spectator ban crushing his dream of a world record for attendance.

"To be honest, all I have now is sadness," he says.

RIPLEY: Looks like a storm coming. KAZUNORI TAKISHIMA, TOKYO RESIDENT: Yes, it looks very sad.

RIPLEY (voice-over): As Takishima talks about his heartbreak, the skies open up.

"It's raining right now," he said, "the God of the Olympics is angry. I think it's a sign. It's not too late to allow spectators."

An Olympic dream about as distant as a sunny day -- Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.


HOLMES: Dozens of wildfires are already burning across the western U.S. and high temperatures and dry lightning this weekend could spark even more. We'll have the details ahead.

Also devastating floods have ravaged those communities in Western Europe. Up next, we'll visit a small German town that was left in tatters by the rising waters.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing at the banks of the river. This hotel right beside it had water all the way up to the third story.






HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, cleanup is underway in parts of Western Europe as floodwaters recede. Germany and Belgium suffering the brunt of what was catastrophic flooding. Bridges have been washed out, homes and businesses destroyed. Entire villages were under water.

But the human toll even more devastating, 160 people now confirmed dead, hundreds of others missing. Emergency workers are racing to find survivors still unaccounted for. Listen to how one resident in a German town described the rescue efforts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water was here so high that you couldn't go in through smaller cars. They had special cars and went in and tried to get so many people as possible out of that area. The whole night, helicopters were coming and even tried to pull out people there.


HOLMES: Now the once scenic town of Altenahr in Germany has been ravaged by the floods. With mud and wreckage as far as the eye can see, the residents now banding together to clear the detritus as they come to terms with what's been lost. Atika Shubert with more.


SHUBERT (voice-over): All day, helicopters circled the once picturesque German town of Altenahr, nestled into the bends of the Ahr River, now choked with mud and debris, cut off from neighboring towns without communication.


SHUBERT (voice-over): This is home for Deborah Stretch but her family in the U.K. had no idea if she had survived until they saw her on TV. Now she is delivering fresh cups of coffee to keep spirits up.

STRETCH: I came over the mountain, down here and then I just saw (INAUDIBLE). Unbelievable. We were all just crying, everybody. It was awful. It was really, really terrible. And everybody's walking toward the -- this is our little town. It's gone, it's just gone.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Residents try to clear what they can, working with firefighters, police and soldiers. But the closer we get to the river, the greater the devastation. On a hotel wall, the historic marker of the water level of the last great flood in 1910. That is now dwarfed by this catastrophe.

SHUBERT: To give you a sense of scale, I am standing at the banks of the river. This hotel right beside it had water all the way up to the third story. You can actually see the water line right there, marking just how far up the floodwaters got.


SHUBERT (voice-over): This was no ordinary flood. The water took out chunks of the road, sweeping through the local cemetery. At least one house was carried away by the flood.

Neighbors told us the body of the person who lived there was later found in a hillside vineyard.

Restoring critical infrastructure is a top priority to get the help the town needs.

"We are trying to make this road passable again," explains First Staff Sgt. Pfennig (ph).

"Over there, you can't see it from here, there is a railway bridge, completely unusable and, on this side, there is also a lot of damage. But we are taking some of the material here to stabilize that bridge and to facilitate movement of heavy equipment," he explains. But it's not until we come around the bend that we see the sheer scale

of their task.

SHUBERT: This here is a railway crossing. And that explains what we see over here. The river swelled so high, so quickly, that it was able to tip over the bridge holding up the railway line. You can see all of the trees, the debris that it had collected further upriver.

SHUBERT (voice-over): It just became this wall of water, knocking down everything in its path. This is a scene of destruction that is just incredible. This town has never seen anything like this.

SHUBERT (voice-over): For generations, this town has lived off the river and all that it brings. But now, as extreme weather hits this once tranquil valley, the waters have turned against them -- Atika Shubert for CNN, in Altenahr, Germany.


HOLMES: In the United States, dry thunderstorms and high temperatures this weekend are raising the risk of more wildfires. Already there are at least 70 large fires across 11 states, mostly in the West.

The National Interagency Fire Center says the wildfires have burned more than 1 million acres. Oregon has seen the most land charred by far, thanks in part to the largest fire in the U.S. this year. The Bootleg Fire started early this month and it's spreading at an astounding average rate of 1,000 acres an hour. It's only 22 percent contained.


HOLMES: Now the wife of Haiti's assassinated president returned to the island on Saturday in preparation for his funeral. The first lady, Martine Moise, was injured in the attack that killed her husband and has been recuperating in the U.S. at a Miami hospital.

Acting prime minister Claude Joseph greeted her at the airport in Port-au-Prince. The funeral for Jovenel Moise is set for Friday.

Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, as Africa grapples with a devastating third wave of the pandemic, vaccines remain largely out of reach. Up next, what experts say is behind the slower than expected rollout. We'll be right back.





HOLMES: Let's take a look how vaccination campaigns are going around the world. After a slow start, Canada making up for lost time. The country now

has more than 48 percent of its total population fully vaccinated. This is according to Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly 82 million vaccines have been administered across the U.K. and nearly 68 percent of British adults have already received both shots. British health officials say every adult has been offered at least one shot by now and it means every adult will have the chance to receive both doses by September.

Now it is a far different story in Africa, where vaccines are in short supply and COVID cases and deaths are starting to soar. Let's have a look at the map. It shows that in almost every African nation, less than 11 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, cases have been rising across the continent for eight weeks in a row. And COVID deaths were up more than 40 percent in the first week of July. Now for more we're joined by the global CEO of Amref Health Africa, that is Githinji Gitahi in Nairobi, Kenya.

And thanks so much for being with us. First of all, give us a brief idea how serious the overall COVID situation is for the continent.

And what's the trajectory?

GITHINJI GITAHI, CEO, AMREF HEALTH AFRICA: Well, thanks, Michael. And it's a kind of a very devastating wave, you know?

And it is -- we know very well that the third wave is actually worse than the second that we had. In many ways, number one, it's accelerating faster.

Number two is that it is creating more severe disease and also with more young people involved. And that has resulted in a rapid rise in death and cases as well.


GITAHI: And it's not looking good and it's looking like, unless we can vaccinate fast enough, this is going to continue.

HOLMES: So one study in the journal "The Lancet" found -- and this is sort to what you're saying there -- found those who suffer from COVID or severe COVID in Africa are more likely to die than patients in other parts of the world, because of issues with things like equipment, supplies, health care, infrastructure.

What are the immediate needs?

I mean, things like oxygen supplies, ventilators, hospital capacity, that sort of thing?

GITAHI: Well, I think, you know, the fact is that the COVID pandemic has come to Africa at a time when we already have a suboptimal health system. And that has, you know, many things around it. And the least of either one of them is actually financing. If you look at investment in health, the public expenditure health in

euro is $4,000 per capita. In Africa, it ranges anywhere from $10 to $20 per capita. That tells you that the system is completely suboptimal.

When you get a pandemic like this, then you'd expect that the care needed for -- from the health system, resilient care, to take care of a surge, is not there at all, which means that if you're sick in Africa you're more likely to die of COVID-19.

And it is the same for all diseases. You're more likely to die of severe disease in Africa than you are -- across the continent.


GITAHI: -- oxygen, ICU beds and critical care staff and this is really the issue.

HOLMES: Right, right. Now in the U.S. and some other places, the vaccine doses have literally been discarded because of a lack of demand. They have far more than they need. One study said, by the end of August, rich nations will have nearly 2 billion more doses than they need.

What do Africans think when they hear that?

Do they feel abandoned or forgotten by the rich nations?

GITAHI: Exactly, and also the feeling that you can never rely on any other country or any other nation or any other geography for your own security or health security.

And Africans now feel that the tax gap (ph) that has existed between the people and the rich nations is going to increase if we have almost 11 billion doses being produced by (INAUDIBLE) this year and only 900 million of them are available for patches (ph) and most of those are from China, meaning that all the vaccines developed in the rich nations are not available for purchase by African countries.

So this is actually a catastrophic moral failure. That's how we feel. And because we point it out every day, that's why I say, a vaccine delayed is a vaccine denied. It's not about getting vaccines in the future. It's about rich countries releasing the doses that they have actually, out of greed, booked and releasing them to ensure they're available for people in Africa.

HOLMES: Here in the state of Georgia where I am, they literally threw out doses the other day because they didn't have the demand for it.

With the low vaccination rate overall, particularly fully vaccinated Africans, what is the outlook then for vaccine doses to get to African nations in the necessary amount?

And why is it so difficult to get?

Is COVAX working? GITAHI: COVAX is working but COVAX has been met by the brutal, immoral force of rich nations. I think what happened is COVAX had actually had a supply pipeline. And this supply pipeline was dependent on the production capacity of the world.

And now if you go around and you are (INAUDIBLE) the village and then you own the baker (ph) and you say that all the (INAUDIBLE) come to your house, then the rest of the village is angry.

This is the issue here that COVAX is working. COVAX is a mechanism. It's not a production pipeline. It's a mechanism for collecting doses and supplying them to poor nations.

So COVAX is working but the supply pipeline is being released by the rich nation. This is the issue. So Africa is looking at COVAX continuously and it's also looking at the African Union through the Africa vaccine task team.

And we are actually now in many countries practicing through the African Union but this needs to be accelerated. We need to accelerate to save lives.

HOLMES: And as we've said many times, rich nations will bear the brunt of variants that emerge in places where there is rampant spread. So it is a global issue. Got to leave it there, unfortunately. Githinji Gitahi, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

GITAHI: Thank you, Michael. Thank you very much.

HOLMES: Restaurants across London are starting to buzz again. But while the demand is there, the staff is not. Coming up, what is behind the worker shortage. We'll be right back.





HOLMES: Welcome back.

Restaurants across London are back in business, after long closures due to COVID-19. But while their pandemic problems are starting to ease, the industry is facing some new challenges. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz explains.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Food not made at home or delivered in a box but chef-developed, expertly prepared and beautifully plated, is back.

After more than a year of closures and restrictions, London's restaurants are buzzing again. From his acclaimed restaurant, NOPI, chef Yotam Ottolenghi told us it's about bringing people together.

YOTAM OTTOLENGHI, RESTAURANTEUR: As someone who serves food for a living, not doing it feels so terrible and unnatural.

ABDELAZIZ: The author of 11 cookbooks told us lockdown forced him to change and innovate.

OTTOLENGHI: This is where all the magic happens. There is an immense flexibility and a hospitality. People who think on their feet, act on their feet. So as an industry, we move really quickly from serving people on sites to deliveries and takeout.

ABDELAZIZ: Head chef David Bravo said he used his time at home to get creative.

DAVID BRAVO, HEAD CHEF, NOPI: Having all this time, we were just kind of thinking of new dishes, new recipes. What we can do with leaks or what we can do with carrots, using them in different forms.


ABDELAZIZ: But while people are eager to finally dine out, the industry cannot find the human resources needed to serve them.

OTTOLENGHI: We're struggling to hire on all fronts. We put an ad out for kitchen porter and we have very few candidates applying.

ABDELAZIZ: A third of venues reopened without adequate staffing, according to one survey. Post-Brexit immigration rules and the sense of instability makes recruitment and retention more difficult.

General manager Pierre Malouf told us many of his friends and colleagues have quit their jobs.

PIERRE MALOUF, GENERAL MANAGER, NOPI: It feels very sad. A couple of times on the bus to work, I did have a little cry, because I think you -- we didn't get a chance to say goodbye. It was such a mass exodus. We never got the closure. And now we have to rebuild again.

ABDELAZIZ: Pre-COVID, an estimated half of hospitality workers were E.U. citizens. But over the last year, many have returned to Europe, government data shows. But while the industry struggles to find solutions, consumer demand is soaring.

OTTOLENGHI: The one thing I'm really confident in is that people will want to eat out, because it's one of the few joys, communal joys, that we still have. And restaurants are the perfect places for that.

ABDELAZIZ: Hope that the revival of London's food scene will lead to renaissance and reunion -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Holmes CNN. Don't go anywhere. Mr. Kim Brunhuber will be here in just a moment with more CNN NEWSROOM.