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Coronavirus Pandemic; Johns Hopkins, 339,000 plus cases, 14,700 plus deaths globally; Hong Kong To Ban All Non-Residents Entering As Of Wednesday; Rand Paul First U.S. Senator To Test Positive; Asia Markets Mostly Lower In Monday Trading; President Trump, Greatest Thing Is To Win War Against The Virus; Japan Acknowledges Postponing Olympics Is A Possibility; Angela Merkel Self Quarantines; Medical Workers Infected With Coronavirus; Merkel, New Restrictions To Remain For At Least Two Weeks; U.K. Threatens Curfews To Slow Spread Of Virus. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 23, 2020 - 04:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: To slow the spread of the coronavirus. So this is what we know. Carrie Lam says the city will ban all non- residents from entering the city starting on Wednesday. And she says all people coming in from nearby Taiwan and Macau will have to be quarantine. This comes as Hong Kong is reporting a growing number of coronavirus cases, most of which have been imported from overseas. Well, Ivan Watson joins me with the latest on all of these new dramatic measures. Ivan, just lay them out for us and the significance of what has just been announced.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is part of a broader crackdown that the city government is putting into place as it has seen its number of confirmed coronavirus cases double in just the last week. Hong Kong, this densely populated city, right next to mainland China, the real birth place of the coronavirus pandemic had succeeded for a month and a half in keeping the infection numbers low. But suddenly they have surged day by day, over the course of the last week.

So the Chief Executive Carrie Lam, she just announced that all transit travel through Hong Kong international airport that that would be banned. That all non-residents, they are no longer allowed to come here to Hong Kong for a period of 14 days. That is after the government here also announced that all public servants, they are not to come to work as of Monday.

All public facilities, libraries, gyms, recreational centers that they are going to be closed as well. And as of Thursday, midnight on Thursday, any new arrival coming here into the airport, they are getting an electronic wristband and they have to go into a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This is all in an effort to try to stop the apparent backsliding that Hong Kong is going into, after it did have that success initially at stemming the outbreak here. Robyn. CURNOW: OK. Thanks for that update there, Ivan Watson. Good to see

you there in Hong Kong, thanks for that.

Now to the frightening new normal most of us are experiencing right now. We are seeing empty streets, empty parks, shuttered stores, here in the U.S. and many, many other countries around the world, these are familiar scenes, growing familiar scenes to all of us. So, this is what we know at the moment.

There are at least 339,000 coronavirus cases, 14,000 deaths globally. Now, that's according to Johns Hopkins University. Europe is certainly seeing a dramatic rise in cases and deaths, particularly in hard-hit Italy, where there are now nearly 60,000 confirmed cases. Over 5,400 people have died there. The Italian government is asking the U.S. military for help. Now, that's according to the U.S. defense officials. They are requesting critical medical equipment and military medical personnel and field hospitals.

In the U.S. meanwhile, these eight states have all issued stay at home orders. The number of confirmed cases has topped 34,000 with 400 deaths. Meanwhile the president, Donald Trump announced, he is sending out the National Guard to the three hardest hit states which are final, New York, California, and Washington.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to reassure the American people that we are doing everything we can each day to confront and ultimately defeat this horrible, invisible enemy. We are at war. In a true sense, we are at war. And we are fighting an invisible enemy.


CURNOW: So, meanwhile, a massive economic stimulus plan is stuck in the Senate, the relief package to deal with economic devastation of the coronavirus outbreak. It is estimated now to be close to 2 trillion dollars, it would include direct payments to Americans under a certain income level, relief for small businesses and loans, to struggling industries.

Now, a key procedural vote is set for Monday afternoon. It failed to pass on Sunday after Democrats took issue with certain aspects of it. Here is how the Senate leaders of both parties described their positions.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Democratic ideas were incorporated. Major changes were made at their request. But today the Speaker of the House back in town after taking a week off and poured cold water on the whole bipartisan.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The legislation has many problems. At the top of the list it includes a large corporate bailout with no protections for workers and virtually no oversight. Also very troubling in the bill were significant shortfalls of money that our hospitals, states, cities and medical workers desperately needed.


CURNOW: So, Rand Paul is the first U.S. Senator to test positive for the coronavirus. He says he's feeling quote fine and was tested out of abundance of caution. But, but he has been in contact with other U.S. lawmakers in the last few days.


Some of them including Senator Mitt Romney are self-quarantining just in case they may have caught the virus. So, this is CNN and we are covering the pandemic like only CNN can. Our reporters are phan out across four continents this hour.

In Europe, we will discuss what exactly what went wrong in Italy and why Germany's chancellor is in self-quarantine. Also this hour across Asia, we will look at the extended curfews in India and why the summer Olympics in Japan are now in real jeopardy. Plus, the fight against misinformation in Africa.

But Monday certainly looks like another tough day on Wall Street. Wow. Take a look at the U.S. senate stimulus package that you just heard failed to move forward. The DOW acted and fell sharply by more than 900 points. Take a look where U.S. stock futures stand right now. This is certainly going to impact the race of the week.

Meanwhile, let's take a look at the Asian markets. The Hang Seng took a nose dive at the open extending losses in Hong Kong. Only the Nikkei in Japan found itself in positive territory. Meanwhile, the European markets have just started trading. Take a look at the numbers there. Also, it's going to be a mixed day, but certainly another volatile week. So, despite all of this, the U.S. president seems to be optimistic about how the U.S. will recover.


TRUMP: The greatest thing we can do is win the war. The war is against the virus. That's the war. I call it a pent up demand. People are dying to go out to a restaurant. People are dying to go onto airplanes. I think it's going to go very rapidly. Because this was not a financial crisis, just the opposite. This was a medical crisis.


CURNOW: No matter what, let's speak to John Defterios. He had the impact is certainly being seen in this early futures for the U.S. stock and across global markets. This is not going to be over soon and the markets seems to be digesting there.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I know. I think the markets are kind of predicting a severe downturns for the second and third quarter basically, Robyn, through September. This is the fifth week of market mayhem. And we are starting the fifth week as bad as we finished the fourth week which was disastrous. As you know here, you look and you talked about Asia, with the exception of Tokyo, it was a bloodbath, 3-4-5 percent losses right across the board. Quite severe. And we are expecting exactly the same thing in early trade here in Europe. And if -- you can give a really clear indication of the market sentiment by just looking at the stimulus packages that had been put on the table. What do I mean about that? We are having a very serious debate in Congress about a $2 trillion plan, how it should be distributed, how corporations respond to it, are workers taken care of.

But the bottom line for investors right now is not seen as big enough. $2 trillion, it sounds like a lot, but it is 10 percent of GDP. That's what we did during the financial crisis 10 years ago. This is a very different crisis, even as the president was suggesting. Australia put out a stimulus package, added to it on Sunday, and that market was down 6 percent. So, what is it telling us?

Investors think, Robyn, that governments are chasing the problem. They can't get in front of the problem right now, because they are thinking of the context of something 10 years ago. And that's where the mistake is. Each day we have governments coming in with tighter restrictions on the civilization and at the time thinking of the context of a bailout that happened in 2009 and 10. It is just not building confidence whatsoever.

CURNOW: It certainly isn't. And planning ahead for people to come to restaurants at the time, but nobody can figure out it is certainly not helping either. John Defterios, great to see you there live in Abu Dhabi. Thanks, John.

So, now to Japan, which has confirmed five new deaths from the virus on Sunday. Now this is the biggest jump in a single day in the country, so it is significant. Also, the country is struggling to contain the outbreak and certainly facing more pressure to postpone the summer Olympics which are scheduled to take place in Tokyo. The international Olympic committee is currently considering rescheduling the event. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says it is a possibility.


SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINISTER, JAPAN (TRANSLATOR): The decisions of IOC is in line with what I just said, to hold the event in a complete form. If that becomes difficult, we will think of the athletes first and foremost. We may have no option but to consider postponing the games.


CURNOW: All right. Take a listen to this. Canada and Australia -- sending athletes to compete in the games because of the outbreak. Both countries are also to be postponed. So, let's go straight to Will Ripley. Will is in Tokyo. And certainly, it is isn't it, we are looking increasingly unlikely that the Olympics won't go ahead as planned? WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I would say it's all

but certain, Robyn that the Olympics are going to be postponed at this stage. Which is something that would had been imaginable even a few weeks ago. Because Japan is on track to invest $20 billion, they had been working for the last seven years, ever since the won the bid to build infrastructure, to enhance new technology, to make the city ready to shine in the global spotlight for what was supposed to be a comeback from the disastrous year of 2011, the earthquake, tsunami and triple meltdown at Fukushima, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.


It's really heartbreaking for a lot of Japanese people to see the games now in limbo. I mean, you walk around the city and you see signs everywhere for Tokyo 2020 and now it doesn't seem lime it will be happening probably in 2020, maybe 2021. That's what Australia is telling its -- competing one year from now. And this is not necessarily because of the situation with the coronavirus inside Japan. Japan has been trying to show the world that their number of cases which is now nearing 1100, if you just count the Diamond Princess cruise ship is still relatively low compared to other countries.

But you have places like Europe, United States, that are in a lockdown and athletes who are just sounding the call they are not going to be able to prepare to compete in time for an Olympics that would start in July 24. And you have the all powerful USA track and field. USA swimming, all for the games (inaudible).

You have Canada and Australia, along with countries like Slovenia and Colombia, you know also asking Japan now that officials had heard the growing chorus of calls from around the world. We need time to sort out a massive logistical nightmare that has involve in postponing an event like the Olympics. Everything from the venues, will they be available in a year? What about the millions of nights of hotel rooms that are already booked?

What about the people who have spent, you know, 10's of, you know, thousands of dollars on some cases on tickets. What's going to happen with them? Those are all questions that they're trying to sort out. They have to talk to all of the stake holders involved. And Robyn, they are saying that within the next four weeks they should have a plan in place. So, they're asking everybody to be patient. But they are saying basically without saying it that the games are almost certainly going to be postponed and not held without spectators and not canceled.

CURNOW: OK. Crystal. Thanks so much. Certainly devastating for many athletes who planned for this for so many years. Thanks so much.

Still to come, you're watching CNN, I'm Robyn Curnow. Coming up next, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is taking no chances with coronavirus. She's decided to self-quarantine after possible exposure. We have that story. Also medical professionals on the frontline doing all they can to fight the outbreak. Ahead, we'll speak with a general practitioner, a G.P. who was infected with the virus and is now in isolation.





CURNOW: You know who that is. The one and only Neil Diamond with a sweet reminder to wash your hands as we all adjust to this new normal of life with the coronavirus. Thanks Mr. Diamond for that.

So, the leader of -- is not ignoring direction medical experts. The German chancellor Angela Merkel will isolate herself in home quarantine as she runs the country. This comes after she saw a doctor who later tested positive for the virus. Merkel expects to continue her full workload. She had announced a contact ban as well in Germany. The move limits gatherings to no more than two people. So, let's go straight to Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. Fred, hi. Gatherings of really a gathering is it?



CURNOW: One on one conversations.

PLEITGEN: It really is a one-on-one conversation. And the public gatherings are limited to no more than two people unless it's family members. So there are people who can have gatherings of more people, but they do say you should keep that minimum distance between two people of about two meters or 1.5 meters.

And those aren't the only measures the Germans had out in place. They're also closing all restaurants except for takeout. They're also for instance closing hair dressers and beauty salons. The reasoning for that, that Angela Merkel put forward was saying look, these are things where people need to touch each other, where human contact is necessary. But they're not necessarily something that is completely necessary from a medical perspective.

So, the Germans are closing all of those establishments as well. All of this comes, Robyn, as the German government has I think come to the conclusion that a lot of the social distancing measures that it's had up to now were falling short. If you look at the situation here in Berlin, for instance, I was going around the city on Saturday and Sunday, there were actually quite a lot of people who are out on Saturday still on the streets.

That changed on Sunday but I think the German government really came to the conclusion that they needed to do more to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus. Because one of the things that we've seen here in Germany over the past week or so was that there were a lot of new cases every day. It was literally thousands of new cases every day. And the Germans really are trying to flatten the curve, as they say, and therefore putting these stricter measures in place.

While at the same time, of course, they say they don't want the economy to completely grind to a halt. That's why they didn't op for a complete lockdown but did op to make the measures more strict, Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks for that update there, Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. Thanks Fred.

To say in Europe, the British Prime Minister says they may have to impose curfews and travel bans as well to slow the spread of the virus. Boris Johnson had already asked for pubs, restaurants and theaters to close. But as you can see here, well, people really seemed to be ignoring some of the safety measures. The government is now urging 1.5 million citizens who are most at risk to stay at home for 12 weeks.

So, let's go to London now with Dr. Clare Gerada. She is the former chair of the Council of The Royal College of General Practitioners, she's also now in isolation after testing positive for the virus. Doctor, thanks for joining us. I want to talk to you first about how you're doing and then we are going to talk about the medical aspects of it. How did you get the virus and how are you doing there?


DR. CLARE GERADA, U.K. NHS GENERAL PRACTITIONER: Yes, thanks very much. Well, I actually got it when I was in New York at the beginning of March. I was at a very large psychiatric conference near Times Square and on the day I left, which is Saturday, New York declared a state of emergency so it was clear that there was a lot of cases. And I got it about -- I became symptomatic about two days after I returned to the U.K. I'm actually now absolutely fine, just a little bit tired and, in fact, I'm out of isolation as from today after this interview I'm going off to work to help my patients and my community.

CURNOW: And before we get there, what were your symptoms and how did you feel? I mean, just describe, I think a lot of people are describing this very, very difficult sense of your lungs -- you know, having ng nails in there, difficulty breathing of the symptoms?

GERADA: No, I didn't have any difficulty breathing. What I had was a very, very high temperature, a dry cough and really so difficult to describe. My body felt that it had no energy. I have terrible muscle pains. I didn't even have the energy to turn around and take paracetamols, simple painkillers. I did in the end because I had to. So really, it was a very high temperature and malaise. I never got breathless. I did get a tight chest, but I think that was the cough that was causing muscle pain.

I'm 60. I'm not particularly unfit. I have no co-morbidities, but I sued to smoke a lot in my (inaudible). I certainly drink alcohol every now and again, I'm not a super fit person. So, my body managed to mount an immune response and get me thought his, but it wasn't pleasant. I describe it as the worst flu likely on the side.

CURNOW: Let me go back, what are you expecting? How prepared is Britain for this?

GERADA: This is a known country is prepared really. I mean, we're doing our best. We're forming hubs, community hubs. So we have a very good network of general practitioners, family doctors, family physicians, so we are forming hubs of about 50 so identifying high risk patient, which isn't difficult, because we have a universe -- 70 million people are on the same -- are on an electronic record. We've been recording people's illnesses for the last 20 years electronically.

So, we're now going to go in search for those, (inaudible) this are very high risk patients, patients with a past history of cancer or renal transplant. But you know, we're as ready as anybody. We're collecting, we're creating home visiting services so we can visit the sick at home and we're working with our hospital colleagues to make sure that we can keep people out of hospital as long as possible, but also receive patients from hospital.

And, finally, our patients are getting ill from other things other than corona. We have patients who have fallen over, elderly people because they're isolated. We got people with appendicitis. You know, normal things they are known.

CURNOW: People are still having babies.

GERADA: Still having babies. And so we really need some -- we need to make sure --

CURNOW: But they are OK.

GERADA: -- that we don't call every temperature corona. That we don't call every muscle pain corona. I'm not again, (inaudible) skilled.

CURNOW: So, I mean, I know that the Brits have a tradition of keep calm and carry on, but in many ways is that the attitude to take now? And a lot of people seem to be carrying on and going out and mixing and fraternizing. And do you think that's the wrong attitude to take? What are all of your fellow GP's saying about the responses they're getting from ordinary people?

GERADA: My colleagues are still a bit concerned about the people that are turning up in surgery with a high temperature. That's not the advice. We have to bring (inaudible). I'm sure in other countries there's a different number. This is an anxiety provoking time. It's normal to feel anxious. It's normal to feel stress. What is not normal though is to panic. Panic raises one --, when food and basic supplies are limited --. We saw that in some of the Italian jails. Many are trapped and you can't get out.

So, I don't think people are panicking. I think they're naturally anxious. And as each day goes passes, you know, we're going to have to get through this together. We're anxious. We're trying to communicate with each other. I'm just about to go and try to set up an England wide support service, because I also (inaudible) of doctors. So, we're trying to sort of roll that out to the NHS staff. So, listen, it's normal to be anxious. It's normal to be worried. It's

normal to feel uncertain and I think we've got to accept that and not try to dampen it down too soon.


CURNOW: And everybody just got to look out for each other but at the same time keeping a safe distance. It really is confusing times in many ways.

GERADA: It's confusing times but, listen, this could be a world reset button, a reset on our selfishness, so it is confusing. But, you know, we're going to get through this.

CURNOW: Opportunity as well --


CURNOW: -- to take a think about where we are.

GERADA: Absolutely.

CURNOW: And who we want to be as a community. Dr. Clare Gerada, thank you very much. Gerada, thank you very much for all of your perspective, your expertise. And I'm so glad you're feeling better. Thank you.

GERADA: Take care.

CURNOW: Cheers.

So, up next, the U.S. President Donald Trump has a 15-day plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but one weekend the number of cases have shot up dramatically. More details in just a moment on that.

Plus over the weekend in Spain a 30 percent hike in coronavirus deaths in just one day. How Spain is ramping up its efforts to contain the spread. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.


CURNOW: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Robyn Curnow. So, let's get a quick check of the headlines this hour. Canada and Australia say they will not send athletes to Tokyo for the Olympic Games this summer, because of the coronavirus outbreak. In separate statements both countries said they made the decision based on the risks and called for the games to be postponed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said delaying the event is a possibility.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going into self-quarantine. Last week she saw a doctor who has now tested positive for coronavirus. Mrs. Merkel, will still be working though. She has banned gathering also of more than two people.