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Governors in 16 U.S. States Issue Stay-at-Home Orders; U.K. Implements Stay-at-Home Order; Spain Expects Virus to Peak Perhaps This Week; Trump Hopes Malaria Drugs Can Treat Virus; 129 People Linked To Facility Test Positive, 29 Dead; China's Hubei Province To Lift Travel Restrictions; 19 of India's 28 States Order Complete Lockdown. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired March 24, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Britain's prime minister orders a sweeping stay at home order, saying coronavirus is the biggest threat to face the country in years.
Fact checking the U.S. president, saying some existing drugs could be a game-changer in the fight against coronavirus but doctors are saying it's too soon to tell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEY EARNEST, R.N., LIFE CARE CENTER: We didn't expect it to be so lethal and I have no shame in saying I was wrong.
VAUSE (voice-over): We hear exclusively from the nurses and health care workers on the front lines of the first major outbreak of COVID- 19 in the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: With the number of confirmed cases passing 330,000 globally and with close to 15,000 dead, the World Health Organization is warning the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating. When it was first detected in December last year, it took 67 days to infect 100,000 people. The last 100,000 people took four days.
Despite a growing number of countries continuing with harsh and extreme situations to try to contain the pandemic. The U.S. has more than 42,000 confirmed cases, more than 50 dead and the Trump administration has been repeatedly criticized for not just a slow response but now a lack of national leadership, leaving major decisions to local and state officials which has resulted in an inconsistent patchwork of regulations and recommends which varies from town to town and state to state.
And more states are now issuing stay-at-home orders. Roughly two out of every five Americans will be impacted by this by Wednesday. According to the WHO, India has fewer than 500 known cases, just over 500 this point. But curfews are now affecting its entire population of 1.3 billion.
Streets in megacities like New Delhi have been nearly abandoned. And in a televised national address, Britain's prime minister Boris Johnson has ordered a sweeping stay at home order.
For the next three weeks, the entire country will be housebound, allowed out to exercise once a day and out for medical needs and to get to and from work and buy groceries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: You must stay at home because the critical thing we must do, to stop the disease spreading between households, that is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes.
Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible; one form of exercise a day, for example a run walk or cycle, alone or with members of your household; any medical need, to provide care or help a vulnerable person; and traveling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
That is all. These are the only reasons you should leave your home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: These tough new measures come after a weekend, which look more like a bank holiday in parts of the country, not much social distancing among all that socializing. CNN's Anna Stewart live in London.
The big question is, how will these measures be enforced?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the police can break up gatherings of more than two people and they're also beginning to issue fines; I think it starts about 30 pounds, $35 roughly.
And Brits are being told at this stage to carry a form or I.D. of why they are traveling outside. It will be very hard to prove if someone is on their first run of the day or their fifth or the person they're walking with is someone they live with or someone else.
So there's a lot of trust given here. The government hasn't triggered the Civil Contingencies Act. I think they'll see how this latest round of containment measures goes down, whether they start taking it seriously and staying at home.
Currently the prime minister's main emphasis is on saving lives. It really did sound like a war crisis. I know in the past, so many times people of this country will rise to that challenge. And here's hoping they do -- John.
VAUSE: At the moment we are looking at three weeks for these restrictions.
Will there be some kind of benchmark?
VAUSE: To determine if the restrictions are lifted or stay in place?
STEWART: It was interesting that he put a date on this of three weeks, when it will go under review and consider. Every day it feels different in the U.K., as I'm sure does all around the world as people get more information about the virus and how it's spreading through their country.
The U.K. is comparing things, cases and deaths compared to other countries and it appears about two weeks behind Italy, which would suggest that, in three weeks' time, these it's unlikely these measures would be lifted and if anything else they could get more serious.
Boris Johnson said they will keep it under constant review, they will look at it in three weeks and see if the evidence shows what's happening. It's data that we do not have yet John.
VAUSE: It's the data that's key in so many places.
Anna, thank you.
On the day the U.S. reported its highly daily death toll President Trump said he wants to ease social distancing guidelines. He wants to restart the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Our country wasn't built to be shut down, we will not let the cure be worse than the problem. At the end of the 15-day period, we will make a decision as to which way we want to go. I'm not looking at, months I'll tell you that now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, after playing down the threat from the coronavirus for months now, the president has been criticized for lack of national leadership. His approach has been to leave the most major decisions to individual states and that means there has been no consistent plan, nothing approaching a national consistent approach, like buying lifesaving medical equipment for example. In some states they have been bidding against each other to try to buy much needed ventilators.
CNN's Nick Watt reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This massive Manhattan convention center about to be converted into four field hospitals, 1,000 beds between them.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We have not even begun to see the influx of patients. This is still the relative quiet before the storm.
WATT: The governor has ordered every hospital in New York to increase bed capacity by 50 percent. New York state now home to around half the confirmed cases in this country, with more than 20,000, that's tripled in three days and with more than 150 deaths.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK MAYOR: If we don't get the ventilators in particular, we will actually start to lose lives that could have been saved.
WATT (voice-over): The state says many cases are ages 18 to 49. Experts suggest vaping might be a factor.
CUOMO: You can get it. The numbers show you can get it if you're a young person.
WATT: The economy cratering the restaurant, food service industry alone estimates 7 million could lose their jobs. Restaurant manager Jay Bokin (ph) already has.
JAY BOKIN (PH), RESTAURANT MANAGER: People are not going to be able to support their families.
WATT (voice-over): And stay-at-home orders still spreading: Ohio, Louisiana, Connecticut, Indiana, West Virginia and Michigan among the recent additions. But not everyone is taking social distancing seriously enough.
DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, ENDING PANDEMICS: We can't have the kind of social distancing that parts of Italy had or we will turn into Italy with those case counts and those death rates.
WATT (voice-over): But more than 6,000 have now died in Italy; among them, more than 20 doctors. Here, thousands of retired health care workers are now heeding the call to come back to work.
DR. ANNE SAKS-BERG, RETIRED DOCTOR RETURNING TO WORK: I feel I have a moral obligation to share my skills. We can't imagine what it's going to be a like a week or two from now.
WATT: So many places now struggling for supplies.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We just received our allotment from the federal government's national strategic stockpile. The allotment of personal protective equipment for one of our hospitals, that allotment is at barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital.
WATT (voice-over): Mercy, the Navy hospital ship with 800 personnel aboard, today set sail for Los Angeles. WATT: Here in Los Angeles, they have made a deal with a South Korean company to buy coronavirus test kits direct from them. They say they hope to be carrying out 5,000 tests a day by the end of this week.
And one council man said they just couldn't wait around for the federal government -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: The pandemic in Spain expected to be sometime this week. In a disturbing sign of what might be to come, an ice skating rink in Madrid is being used as a morgue. Right now a shortage of medical supplies like face masks and gloves for doctors and health care workers have seen their infection rates rise.
Let's go to Al Goodman in Madrid right now.
So how bad is bad, has there been any indication from officials in terms of what they're expecting in terms of the number of dead?
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John, they are encouraged they say that the number of patients in ICU has declined slightly, as a percentage of all the patients.
But quite worrisome is what you just mentioned, that 12 percent, nearly 4000 of the infected, are medical workers themselves and they have been complaining, many of them, from their unions and individually, that they did not have the right equipment. That is a grave concern.
Also the death rate has been spiking, going up the last few days, increasing to about 25 percent each day, now more than 2100 deaths.
The ice rink has been slated as a morgue here in Madrid; Madrid region is the hardest hit of any place in Spain. It has about half the cases but way more than half of the dead. So there is the Madrid funeral services, the city funeral services, that moves the bodies from the hospitals to somewhere else, they said they are not working until they get the proper medical equipment. We talked to them last night, 500 of these people, do not want to be infected by a deceased person who had the coronavirus.
That is why they are calling on the army. But we do not believe there are any bodies over there at the ice rink yet. There is a scramble and we're hearing this from numerous senior government officials, they're competing with all the countries of the world, to try to get their hands on these masks, the ventilators, the gowns.
It is really racing against time. Some officials, some top officials have said, however, they do think the peak is getting close, maybe not tomorrow or in the next couple days. But close even if it comes, they say, they're not going to be able to lift the lockdown order, which is currently in place. And is going to be in place until April 11th, the day before Easter -- John. VAUSE: Thank you, Al Goodman, with our latest there from Madrid.
The U.S. president is hoping a malaria drug can be used to help the coronavirus. Just ahead, we will tell you what the experts say.
And why one doctor believes the stay at home orders are vital and can potentially save millions and millions of lives.
VAUSE: The U.S. president has been talking up an existing drug which treats malaria, which has anecdotally seen some success in dealing with the coronavirus. But there is no conclusive evidence to suggest this anti-malaria drug is effective overall for COVID-19.
VAUSE: CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Why should we be testing it in a test tube for a year and a half when we have thousands of people that are very sick? They're very, very sick. And we can use it on those people and maybe make them better. And in some cases maybe save their lives.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump says he's optimistic about some potential treatments for the novel coronavirus, in particular a malaria drug called chloroquine.
TRUMP: You know, this has been something that's been around for many years. It's been phenomenal, strong, powerful drug for malaria. But we think it might work on this, based on evidence, based on very strong evidence.
GUPTA (voice-over): It's proved the medication has been around for more than 80 years and has a few side effects, including nausea and mood changes as well as possible interactions with other drugs.
Now enthusiasm for the possibility of treating the novel coronavirus largely centers on one study out of France, which used a derivative of chloroquine, used with an antibiotic commonly known as the Z-Pak.
The study was small and the patients followed for only six days.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: The study that looked at that drug and showed activity was a study that involved about 20 patients and only six in the arm that showed the benefit. And the benefit that they showed was that they decrease the amount of
virus in their noses, when you did nasal swabs in those patients. So it could very well be that the drug is reducing viral shedding but having no impact on the clinical course of those patients.
So the data on that is very preliminary.
GUPTA (voice-over): We took a closer look at the study and here's what we found. There were originally 26 patients in the study that were treated, 20 completed the trial, one left the hospital before the trial ended. One could not tolerate the medication, three went to the intensive care unit. That is an 11 percent critical care rate.
And one died, a 4 percent mortality rate. Those numbers are higher critical care and mortality rates than the general population of infected. Keep in mind again, it's a small study.
There was another study from 2011 that found that while chloroquine was effective in a lab against the flu, it ultimately wasn't effective in humans. Look, that's why trials are needed and they can be done quickly. Many labs in the World Health Organization had already started to study these drugs and dozens of others to help us find an answer for a disease that currently has no known cure.
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Using untested medicines, without the right evidence, could raise false hope and even do more harm than good and cause a shortage of essential medicines that are needed to treat other diseases.
GUPTA (voice-over): And at the end of last week, chloroquine was added to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists' drug shortage list -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
VAUSE: When it comes to the number of confirmed cases or the death toll from the coronavirus, it's important to remember that those numbers are underreported, especially in countries where widespread testing has been slow to roll out or delayed, like the U.S. or Italy.
The number of people infected with the virus could be 10 times that official number, which is why almost every health care professional, is urging all of us to stay at home and not have contact with others as much as possible.
Dr. Emily Porter is an emergency room physician who ran the numbers using CDC data and came to the conclusion, if nothing is done to slow the outbreak, no social distancing, no attempt to limit contact, no effort to slow transmission, more than 7 million Americans would die simply because of a lack of respirators.
DR. EMILY PORTER, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: That means that 49 people out of 50 are going to die because we do not have the respirators and ventilators to take care of them. That's scary. That's just scary. That should -- that scares me. That's
should scare everybody who can understand basic math, including my 2nd grader, that one in 50 are bad odds.
So what that also means is that the doctors have to choose who that one in 50 is.
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine if you had to say, oh, I'm sorry, you have had cancer before, so therefore you don't have a perfectly clean bill of health, so you're not worth saving.
Can you imagine saying, oh, I'm sorry you're 80 and I have got a 30- year-old that needs the ventilator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And she joins us now from Austin, Texas.
Thank you for being with us.
PORTER: Thank you.
VAUSE: I'll start with the latest news that we heard in the last couple of hours. The president saying he wants to see some return to business as usual or as close to usual in a matter of weeks or months. He's worried about the economy, even though it seems his health advisor is not on board with this. Here's what the president said earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If it were up to the doctors, they may say, let's keep it shut down. Let's shut down the entire world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Is it possible to fix the economy before you have the viral outbreak under control?
Despite what the president says, can you do both at once?
PORTER: I heard him say that actually live today -- he's not listening to the doctors. I think the biggest problem is that we don't have a unified response. Our country is so spread out and he's leaving it up to the governors and then some of the mayors.
And the more local government is choosing to be more cautious. So our governor has not shut down Texas. But he said yesterday county by county. So Austin/Travis County is going on lockdown tomorrow. So that helps us in Travis County but you can drive two miles and get to another county. So I feel like what doctors are saying is that it has to be unified across the board. If we do it piecemeal and little by little, things will keep spreading. The idea of flattening the curve is that you have everyone in a unified response at once. You can stop the infectivity that keeps happening and not go past your health care capacity, which is not just ventilators.
My video was mostly about ventilators, because that's what looks scary but also ICU beds, nurses, doctors, gloves, masks and everything. And that is going to increase.
VAUSE: This idea of a uniform approach, all or nothing, we're all in it together. You made it very clear in that YouTube clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PORTER: This is about everybody coming together for the common good that we want a future for our children. And it is two weeks, man, it's like two to four weeks and I hope that if you care about anybody other than yourself, including especially these 47 million Americans, that you will also do the same.
And just not complain about it and just do it. Because it's what we've got to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It's what we have to do but if not everyone is doing it when does the two week period begin and that four week period begin --
PORTER: That's the problem. So the president said something called this 15 days, 15 days to flatten the curve. The problem is, is that nobody is enforcing it. So I have been social distancing my children.
I'm a mom of four, my husband is on the front lines in the E.R. and we are staying home, we are watching the fire burn at our house. We literally watched the fire burn the other night.
When I did go to grab a few groceries on Sunday, there were people in Walmart, in the toy aisle, buying garden shrubs and shopping. So there is no uniform response. That two weeks, who knows; it hasn't started yet, in my opinion. In my house it started but in my county it hasn't started, in my state it hasn't started.
And certainly across the country it has not started. I just posted on my Twitter account, @DrEmilyPorterMD a side by side of the graphs, of Italy, the number of deaths per day and the number deaths per day in the U.S.
If you compare them side by side, we are trending worse than Italy right now. Theirs actually started going down the last couple days, the number of deaths per day from coronavirus in Italy has actually gone down the last few days. But it is because they have a lockdown. It was beautiful; I saw them
singing to each other out their windows, on their porches and things. It was beautiful. But they did that and now we are seeing, there are cases that are trending down, their deaths trend down.
Same thing with China but we are still trending up. And we are like eight days into this or this 15-day period. I don't get it.
VAUSE: And here's the thing, the official numbers we're seeing in terms of cases and death toll is a snapshot of where we were, right, 15 days ago.
Can you say why is that the case and what it means?
PORTER: I think we just started testing people. So I know my sister, in southern California, about 1.5 weeks ago, with her whiteboard, she got the head of the CDC to agree that everyone in America could get tested without financial issues.
So it's $1300 to get tested; the government will pay for it.
The problem is where are the tests?
Where are the tests?
So at our hospital, we are being told that, and at hospitals around here, the only people who have these (INAUDIBLE) can get tested. Well, so nobody has been on a cruise in two weeks. So those questions when you go in -- I got an allergy shot a few days ago -- they asked me if I'd been to China or Italy but they didn't ask me if I went to the grocery store with everybody else.
Because now we have community spread. And so these numbers, the number of patients are going to explode, as we get more and more tests made available to us. But it is really the number of deaths. I know a lot of people who have needed testing, I won't name names, who can't get it because they are not meeting these criteria.
PORTER: But the threshold for who requires a test also varies from hospital to hospital, city to city and state to state. The CDC has their requirements and some hospitals have different requirements.
So the hospital near where I am, they were doing drive-through testing. Anyone that wanted to do testing. They ran out of supplies in two days. Two days they ran out. So now they're saying, we are only testing people who are flu negative and who don't have influenza because you can't possibly have both. You can actually. But they're saying if you are flu negative, then we will test you.
The reagent that you need to test for the flu is also what you need to test for coronavirus. So they ran out of reagent to test for coronavirus. They have all the tests but they can't run them because they're testing all these people for flu.
So it's so chaotic. We need a unified leadership, Dr. Fauci is wonderful, he's trying to give us recommendations. But the question is, who is listening?
VAUSE: We are out of time, Doctor, but, yes, we have needed some type of direction and leadership for a while now and it hasn't materialized yet. We can hope that it will one day. Thank you for being with us.
PORTER: Thank you.
VAUSE: Still to come, the health care center described as a war zone, nurses speaking out on their fight to keep patients alive in a virus hot spot.
VAUSE: Thank you for staying with us, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines.
VAUSE: The state of Washington was the first to see a major outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S. It first swept through a nursing home and, by the time it was done, dozens were dead. CNN's Sara Sidner spoke exclusively to the health care workers who saw this pandemic firsthand.
EARNEST: It was like a war zone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, there were so many patients, everybody needed medications, everybody needed treatment.
NANCY BUTNER, LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA: We had 70 staff within a week and we're out.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These healthcare workers were among the first to battle a COVID-19 outbreak in America. Few in the United States have more experience with the deadly toll it took.
How quickly do you see the demise of someone with COVID-19?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Less than 24 hours. SIDNER: They work at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the nursing home where the first known us cluster of COVID-19 deaths and infections occurred. For a month, they have been treating and continue to treat coronavirus infected patients.
Have any of you had symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
SIDNER: Has any of you tested positive for COVID-19?
For weeks, this was the location of the most deaths from the Novel Coronavirus in the United States. This is the first time their story of what happened inside has been told.
CHELSEY EARNEST, REGISTERED NURSE, LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA: If you Google signs and symptoms of Coronavirus, it's runny nose, fever, and cough, I haven't seen a runny nose yet. What I see is much different than that. I saw what I described as red eyes.
SIDNER: I'd never heard of red eyes before. Why is that? Is that information just not gotten out to the public?
EARNEST: It's something that I witnessed in all of them. They have like -- you can describe it like allergy eyes. The white part of your eye is not red, it's more like they have red eyeshadow on the outside of their eyes. But we've had patients that just had red eyes as the only symptom that we saw and go to the hospital and pathway in the hospital.
SIDNER: As of now, the CDC does not list red eyes as a symptom of COVID-19. Chelsey Earnest is a registered nurse and the nursing director at another Life Care Center facility in Washington State. And that is what she saw. When an urgent call for help came from the Kirkland facility, she volunteered. She arrived one day after the staff learned a patient tested positive for Coronavirus.
Why did you answer the call? You didn't have to be there. This was voluntary.
EARNEST: I'm a nurse, and they're not my patients but -- hold on a second, I'm sorry.
SIDNER: It's OK. Take a breath.
Earnest and her fellow staff members saw the death toll rise like a rocket. The terrifyingly fast deterioration of the patients always seem to happen on the night shift, her shift.
EARNEST: That's how I described it is you're going off to war and you're in a battlefield where supplies are limited, the helps slow to get to you, and there's lots of casualties.
SIDNER: And you can't see the enemy. EARNEST: And you can't see the enemy.
SIDNER: Suddenly, a third of the staff had symptoms and was out sick. Before they all knew it, the virus was sweeping through the entire building. It was the oldest patients who were dying fast.
NANCY BUTNER, VICE PRESIDENT NORTHWEST DIVISION, LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA: The average age was 80 years old.
SIDNER: Nancy Butner is the Vice President of Life Care Centers of America Northwest Division.
BUTNER: Just the patient, losing them, because we're with them for so long, it's hard.
SIDNER: After two days of madness, things seemed to calm but not for long.
EARNEST: There was a little lull and I heard a cough. And so, I started following the coughs.
SIDNER: According to the CDC and Life Care Center, at the height of infections, 129 people linked to this nursing home tested positive, three-quarters of the patients, about a third of the staff, and 14 visitors. 29 people associated with this facility have died due to Coronavirus.
In the weeks that followed, the CDC came out with a report on the facility. It found in part the facility's limitations in effective infection control and prevention and staff members working in multiple facilities contributed to the spread of the virus both inside the facility and out.
BUTNER: Many nursing staff are working one or more facilities.
SIDNER: Do you think that that will change the idea of having people work at different facilities after COVID-19?
BUTNER: I don't know that it -- that it would. It's -- you know, and again, in healthcare, you work in different settings.
SIDNER: If everyone was trained on infection control, how is it that so many patients got COVID-19 and so many members, the staff also got COVID-19?
EARNEST: There's usually two patients to a room, and some of the rooms are bigger and they have three patients. And you have caregiving staff that are very close to their residents. We hug them, we kiss them, we love them. And I couldn't have been perfect on my TPE process.
SIDNER: You're saying, wearing the personal protection equipment, you couldn't have been perfect because things were happening so fast, you were trying to save lives.
She arrived after the first person tested positive. It took five days to get the results. Frightened families were outside furious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is they so we can follow up with it?
SIDNER: They couldn't get information on their loved ones for days.
BUTNER: We just could not answer the phone quick enough. We had a significant drop in staff, we had significant care needs that were priority over unfortunately talking to families on the phone.
SIDNER: In those first few days, the Life Care Center said they made a cry for help to government agencies from county, to federal, to state.
Did you get what you need when you needed it?
EARNEST: No. No.
SIDNER: No one was doing just one job. Stephanie Booth is in charge of payroll.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I worked in the kitchen. I don't know. I've done a little bit of everything. I did some housekeeping.
EARNEST: Everyone was doing everything until doctors and nurses arrived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health and Human Services. The number of patients in the facility has dropped now from 120 to 42. Of those 42 patients, 31 have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus.
What advice would you give other facilities, other doctors and nurses, other staff members about dealing with COVID-19?
EARNEST: I didn't expect it to be so lethal. And I have no shame in saying that I was wrong.
SIDNER: Nurse Chelsey Earnest says she was wrong about thinking that the coronavirus was just a bit worse than the flu. She does not think that anymore. And while the staff says they did make some mistakes, this was the first place in the United States to try and deal with a brand new virus. Sara Sidner, CNN, Kirkland, Washington.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: There is breaking news this hour. China's Hubei province has announced travel restrictions for most other region will be lifted in two weeks. The world's first coronavirus case was reported from Hubei province three months ago. CNN Steven Jiang live in Beijing.
So I guess, Steven, this -- if it goes ahead as planned, as they say it will, would be a major milestone. How confident are they there'll be no second wave?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, John. This is going to be a very important step in restore normalcy at least gradually at the epicenter of this outbreak. Now, what the latest announcement from the obey provincial authority says is starting tomorrow, starting on Wednesday, with the exception of Wuhan, people deemed healthy by the government as is reflected in a very important green Q.R. code on your mobile phones, these people will be allowed to leave the province.
And now, the departure restrictions will remain in Wuhan for some time, but also starting tomorrow on Wednesday, migrant workers with that green Q.R. code, who have also tested negative for the virus, will be bussed outside of Wuhan to their work locations.
But here's the most important part. Starting on the eighth of April. All people with that green health Q.R. code on their phones will be allowed to leave Wuhan and Hubei province really. That would remove the last set of travel restrictions placed on the city since late January really trapping millions of people there and wreaking havoc to their lives and livelihood.
Now the authorities obviously previously have announced a relaxation or loosening up of entry restrictions into the province and into the city. And also within the city limits of Wuhan, we have -- we have seen local officials try to remove roadblocks and checkpoints as well allowing some workers to return to work. And we have seen they have resumed the limited bus services and workers have been deep cleaning and disinfecting subway trains and stations.
So really, they're all preparing for that -- for that prospect of all of these restrictions being lifted in the near future. And now, of course, this latest announcement from the provincial government has confirmed the date, the eighth of April. John?
VAUSE: Also, as part of the sort of return to normalcy, if you like, there's word that at least part of the Great Wall will be reopened. And I guess this is also symbolic because it shows the country getting back to normal, but also important economically as well. It's a major tourist destination.
JIANG: That's right. It's definitely a very delicate balance they're trying to strike here because even with these announcements, the central government here in Beijing still acknowledge that although they have effectively stemmed the spread of this virus nationwide, they were expecting this kind of sporadic infections and local outbreaks to continue.
Because of the second wave you just mentioned, the second wave right now is mostly important cases from overseas, which is why you have seen them really take drastic measures targeting international arrivals. But we have also seen new locally transmitted cases emerge again, including in Wuhan, just reported on Monday, one new case. A doctor in Wuhan became infected. And that, of course, was after five days with no new locally transmitted cases in the epicenter.
So they're still trying to fight this virus trying to maintain a lot of these rivers containment measures while they try to obviously get the economic engine revved up again because their economic data for the first two months of the year have just been so horrific, and this economy may be experienced its first contraction in almost 40 decades. So this is something they really have to address as well. So again, John, a very delicate balance they're trying to strike here. [02:40:57]
VAUSE: Yes. Some reports out there, advising investors, it's a lot worse than you think in China. They're about to have a double shot of that economy. But we'll have -- we'll talk about that more later in the day. But Steven, thanks for being with us. Steven Jiang live there in Beijing.
Still to come here, where do they all go? With 1.3 billion people now under some kind of travel restriction across India, the world's second most populated country looks deserted. And South Africa will be the next major country to shut down. Details of the presidential announcement when we come back.
VAUSE: The fate of the Tokyo Olympics could be decided in the coming hours when Japan's Prime Minister speaks with the president of the IOC. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says the most promising option right now is to postpone the games supported by Germany and New Zealand. Australia and Canada have already announced they will not send athletes to compete in Tokyo this summer.
To India now. What started as a self-imposed quarantine has turned into a shutdown of all businesses, except for essential services, with the entire country under some kind of travel restrictions. CNN Producer Vedika Sud is in New Delhi with us this hour. So Vedika, the big concern, I guess, is this radio transmission and the potential mortality rate which could be a lot higher in India than what we've seen in other countries.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, absolutely. Given that there are a lot of people, a lot of citizens of India who are still not adhering to the lockdown that has been announced at least two-thirds of the country, this is the maid worry, John. But a few updates since we last spoke, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will be addressing the nation once again. The last time he addressed the nation was on Thursday after which we went into a voluntary lockdown on Sunday.
Now, he is going to be addressing India at 8:00 p.m. tonight. This, of course, will be on the measures and probably some announcements that are due by the Prime Minister on the current situation. Domestic commercial flights as well have been suspended from tonight. So, till midnight tonight, the last flights will be landing in different parts of the country. Also, like I mentioned, travel restrictions have been imposed. No trains are moving no metros as well.
So, that's a situation as we speak, a lot of states have gone into lockdown 30 or 39 states and union territories are in lockdown mode. Here's a report we fail to understand how India is coping with a lockdown situation as I speak with you.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUD: India's streets normally teeming with honking cars and crowds of people are quiet today. The sounds of silence are exactly what the government wants to hear after to impose a lockdown that will keep millions of people at home until the end of the month. The tough measure is to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus that has been spiking here recently, even if it means stopping its residents from working.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Ever since the government announced the lockdown and the taxis and autos will not run, that we must run out coronavirus. We are supporting everything in that area.
SUD: Public transportation is shut down in the capital including rail stations, metros, and rickshaws. Domestic commercial flights will also be suspended. Some buses are running for essential workers. But critical services like grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is a good idea. by the government that the vegetables grocery milk and chemist shops are open. That is why we have also kept our shop open.
SUD: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his citizens on Twitter to head the lockdown, and warn that many people have not taken it seriously. Whether or not the world's second-most populous nation follows those instructions, could determine how many people live or die in the upcoming weeks, in a country with a healthcare system that is already underfunded and overtaxed.
SUD: Well, Monday, we know that the number of tests across India that were conducted for coronavirus stands at 15,000. But the Government of India says that they can conduct about 65,000 to 70,000 tests within a week, but they'd rather propose the idea of self-quarantine.
Now, as far as number of cases are concerned in India stands at 492. Unfortunately, there have been nine deaths. But all eyes and what the Prime Minister has to say tonight. The affected states were that of Maharashtra and the southern state of Kerala. Back to you, John.
VAUSE: OK, Vedika, thank you for the update. We appreciate that. Vedika Sud there in New Delhi. South Africa will go on lockdown from midnight Thursday. The presidential announcement came during national televised address. There will be exceptions, grocery shopping and medical care to leave you on. David McKenzie has more details now from Johannesburg.
So David, the government sector announced what they want. The rubber hits the road when it comes to you know, how they enforce these measures. So what are the options there?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just in the neighborhood I live in, we saw the military assembling into barracks yesterday, John. So, I think that's one way they're going to enforce this lockdown. 21 days of lockdown across South Africa, extraordinary given there have been no deaths and limited confirmed infections at the stage in South Africa.
But South Africa's president in a detailed and impassioned plea to South Africans said that shutting down the economy, keeping people in their homes was important, necessary, and vital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT SOUTH AFRICA: This is a decisive measure to save lives of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of our people. While this measure will have a considerable impact on people's livelihoods, on the life of our society, and on our economy, the human costs of delaying this action would be far, far greater.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So David, you know, if you look at the actual numbers here though, South Africa have no deaths, little confirmed number of infections, and they're taking these very aggressive steps very early in the process. It does not come without cost. So why are they making these moves like this?
MCKENZIE: Well, the President said, and this is certainly backed up by scientists I've spoken to, that they really worry, John, that in South Africa, because of a large population in informal settlements, and people who are immune-suppressed -- South Africa is the largest population of HIV positive people in the world, a great problem with T.B. infections and other health issues, they believe that this country could, if not uniquely, certainly be very devastated by a viral outbreak in some of these areas.
So they said, do it now, hope that it will have some mitigating strategies. And in the meantime, John, they're going to go house to house, they say, to try and ratchet up testing. It seems certainly that South Africa is explicitly taking the cue from China, rather than from other countries in the West that seem to be hard to hit at this stage from this virus pandemic. John?
VAUSE: OK, David, thank you. David McKenzie live this out for us in Johannesburg. Thank you. Well, still to come here. In one California community, the Fire Department not just fighting fires, it's entering a different call. We'll tell you what they're doing just ahead.
VAUSE: Well, in the United States and around the world, social media influences using their followers or urging their followers rather to stay home during this pandemic. Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid posting words of encouragement and also are issuing warnings and of course, they're posting a good number of selfies as well. Apparently, that's enough to earn some praise from the U.S. Surgeon General.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL, UNITED STATES: I want to give a shout out to Kylie Jenner who stepped up last week and sent out a message. My daughter and my son said dad, make sure you call out Loren Gray and I believe it's a Roman Atwood making sure we're really reaching out to these social media influencers who don't listen to the surgeon general, who don't go to SurgeonGeneral.com, but are on YouTube and TikTok and need to understand hey, this is serious and this includes you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Gal Gadot, the actress best known for playing Wonder Woman on the big screen posted on Instagram, staying home is my superpower and yours. She also recruited her celebrity friends to a cover of John Lennon's Imagine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GAL GADOT, ACTRESS: Imagine there's no heaven.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's easy if you try.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No hell below us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Above is only sky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine all the people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Living for today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine there's no countries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn't hard --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The good folk of Glendale, California now have less -- one less thing to worry about. The local fire department is shopping for and delivering to residents most vulnerable in the -- in the Coronavirus pandemic. Stephanie Elam reports and not too soon.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If it's a blaze --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very quick response by the Glendale fire to get it there.
ELAM: Or another emergency, firefighters know how to battle. But what if the enemy is an invisible and potentially deadly virus like COVID- 19?
SILVIO LANZAS, CHIEF, GLENDALE FIRE DEPARTMENT: We want to solve the problem. And in this one, we've got to support the efforts that are being made to flatten the curve. We can't really solve it but we can certainly do our part to help. ELAM: And now that California is under a stay at home order, many of the vulnerable in Los Angeles County are afraid to venture out, fearful of getting the coronavirus. So that Glendale Fire Department has found yet another way to be of service, taking the social media with this message.
LANZAS: For food, medications, or other special needs, we ask that you please call our Fire Department.
ELAM: Call the Department so that its team of more than 100 volunteers can deliver necessities to seniors and people with underlying health conditions. The Glendale Fire Foundation is putting up the money the volunteers used to buy the goods which the residents repay upon delivery.
What made you say that you wanted to step up and do this?
EJMIN MIRZAKHANIAN, GLENDALE FIRE DEPARTMENT: As soon as I saw the e- mail, I responded. I'm like, I want to volunteer to help the people on my committee. I got excited.
ELAM: Ejmin Mirzakhanian jumped at the chance to help. Fresh off his 48-hour shift, he was tapped for his first delivery.
MIRZAKHANIAN: This is another opportunity to go above and beyond to help people who are in need.
We find out what the shopping list is, then we're essentially dispatching volunteers that are coming in off duty to go to the store. We would only shop here in the city of Glendale, pick up those essential items, and deliver them to the home.
ELAM: With pre-existing conditions, this resident is deeply afraid of the virus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really appreciate you.
MIRZAKHANIAN: We're here for you. So it's our pleasure to help you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
ELAM: So Ejmin, you made your first delivery. How was it?
MIRZAKHANIAN: Yes, I feel great. It was really good, my shopping. It's a great feeling that I helped her.
ELAM: As long as there's a need, Glendale Fire will answer the call.
LANZAS: It's what we do as firefighters. We're here to serve the public. We view this as a population that needs help, and we're going to be there for them.
ELAM: Whether the call is for a fire or for food. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Glendale, California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You should write quickly. I'm John Vause. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. The very latest on the corona pandemic after the break.