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Coronavirus Pandemic; U.S. Lawmakers Agree On $2 Trillion Stimulus Package; Italian Authorities Report More Than 6,800 Deaths; No New Cases In Codogno, Italy On Tuesday; Italy's Hospital Pushed To The Brink; Lifting The Lockdown In China; Hong Kong's Renewed Battle; Stimulus Package of $2 Trillion Now Approved; More Men Die from Virus Than Women; Asian Markets Eager to Recover Losses; Youth Not Exempted Anymore from the Virus. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 25, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
We begin with this breaking news. After days of bargaining and negotiations U.S. Senators and the White House have reached a deal on the biggest economic stimulus package in U.S. history. More than $2 trillion to revive the U.S. economy, struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Republicans and Democrats came together to shake hands on a plan that would provide aid to hospitals, loans to small businesses, and checks to American workers. The Senate leaders of both parties comparing this to a wartime situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: It will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation's health care fight, and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small businesses, and industries make it through this disruption, and emerge on the other side ready to soar.
In effect, this is a wartime level of investment into our nation. The men and women of the greatest country on earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future. The Senate is going to make sure they have the ammunition they need to do it. I'm thrilled that we're finally going to deliver for the country that has been a waiting for us to step up.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: From the very beginning, Democrats have had two primary goals. A martial plan for public health workers and hospitals on the front lines, and putting workers first. The agreement, now, after these five days, reflects those Democratic priorities and we are proud that they are now part of this legislation.
Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect. But we believe the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick consideration and passage, because many Democrats and Republicans were willing to do the serious and hard work the bill is much better off than where it started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And CNN's Manu Raju is following this story and has details of how the package will help Americans and boost the economy.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This bill is expected to be broken down over a number of different areas, providing direct payments to Americans who have been hard hit by this economic crisis, in addition to loans of about $500 billion for these companies that have been with troubled also.
In addition to $350 billion small business loan, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits, and this measure came as a result of enormous pressure being felt by the members, lawmakers and the White House amid fears here in the United States about what is happening with the coronavirus and the layoffs that are happening across the country.
For the exact money in their pockets, it's unclear exactly how quickly they will come. The IRS suggest that it could happen relatively quickly. We have to see the bill language in terms of determining aspect of it, but for the other aspect it will take some time to spend so much money.
So, the question will be, how much of an impact will this have on the economy. It could force Congress to come in again and deal with other areas. So, a lot of questions will be whether or not this is enough to deal with the sagging economy.
(END VOICE CLIP)
CHURCH: All right. Let's bring in CNN business emerging markets editor, John Defterios. He joins us live from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, U.S. lawmakers agree on this much anticipated $2- trillion stimulus package.
Let's look at the impact this has already had on Asian markets, and of course what it will mean for the U.S. economy and for markets in this country when they open in just a matter of hours from now.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, Rosemary, we had a strong day in Asia, because many thought this package was going to go through. But then when it passed it spiked up another 1 to 2 percent depending on the market. It's the best day in Asian markets since the global financial crisis.
If you take the last two days of trading, we are seeing gains of 8 to 16 percent. The latter is Japan to stand out, today were Tokyo, Seoul, and Sydney and Australia, all industrialized countries.
And there is really no way the package was not going to pass. It was all about oversight. But it is comprehensive. And I say it kind of targets main street because it looks to bailout industries who were suffering the most like airlines.
There is money going into small businesses and the health care system, very important and then direct paychecks. It's a broad base measure, something I have never seen in my 30years of journalism. So, it says a lot.
Larry Kudlow, the White House adviser was suggesting that in total it is $6 trillion, not $2 trillion, because $2 trillion from the congressional passage of that bill. But $4 trillion coming in from the U.S. Federal Reserve. I call that the Wall Street element of this. That i's for the bond market. That's for the overnight bank lending, and also liquidity for the dollar worldwide.
There is a huge concern of what's going to happen outside the United States. And if you take a step back, Rosemary, each country to their own basically during the first couple of weeks of the virus. Now we see the big five, if you will, the United States, China, Japan, the European Union, single out Germany as a very large economy on its own with its very big stimulus package.
They all stepped up and in fact, we saw from the U.S. Treasury Department at the same time as this was being negotiated saying the G7 is working together. That's a very clear signal that they want to make sure that they are all in unison with the stimulus packages.
CHURCH: So, all very encouraging news, John. But will this allay fears of a possible recession?
DEFTERIOS: Let's call that the multitrillion-dollar question, Rosemary, you're posing to me. The stock markets are indicating what here? We had a correction of 30 to 35 percent depending on which market around the world. The recovery is building confidence because of what we are seeing coming out of Capitol Hill and the other economies I was talking about.
We are not out of there yet, and this could be a huge debate about when the U.S. gets up and running again. Is it mid-April or April 12th around Easter or not? And then the health care fallout, we are talking about the likelihood of people, not about the economy, but people living or dying. And that's going to change the narrative of this debate, I think going forward.
Also, we're in a, for example, globally, India, with a 21-day lockdown is the seventh of the world's population. You cannot ignore the poor countries of the world that are going to get hit. Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil kind of denying that the virus exist. So,
this is phase one. The industrialize countries step up, punch above their weight and put the money in. We have to worry about phase two and the impact on the global economy. We're looking at a deep recession Q2, Q3. How deep it's going to be, depends on what these other poor countries do going forward.
CHURCH: Yes. And of course, the coronavirus still remains. We've got to see some of that protective equipment getting sent out globally so that those medical workers on the front line have something to work with as they try to save lives.
John Defterios, joining us live from Abu Dhabi just after 11 in the morning there, just after three in the morning here, Eastern Time and Pacific Time just after midnight, seven minutes after in fact.
Well, meanwhile, President Donald Trump has shifted to a hopeful tone, talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. And the end of a historic battle with the invisible enemy. But his optimism is a far cry from that of his medical advisers who say the battle against the coronavirus has only just begun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I hope you can do this by Easter. I think that would be a great thing for our country.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Who suggested Easter?
TRUMP: I just thought it was a beautiful time, it could be a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You could look at a date, but you got to be very flexible on a literally day by day and week by week basis. You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you are trying to do.
And John, you asked for, you know, what kind of metrics, what kind of data. When you look at the country, I mean, obviously, no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what's going on in a place like New York City. I mean, that's just, you know, a good public health practice and common sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, let's look at the numbers. Right now, there are more than 53,000 coronavirus cases in the United States. Of those, about 26,000 cases are in New York. Now the World Health Organization says the U.S. could be the next epicenter of the pandemic. New York's governor is echoing that warning. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We are just the test case. Where we are today, you will be in three weeks or four weeks or five weeks or six weeks. We are your future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: well now to the United Kingdom, where despite the government ordering people to stay home, many of London's trains are still crowded. The mayor says he is taking safety into account, while running as many tube services as possible. A move which has drawn harsh criticism.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a new strict stay-at-home order. The tighter restrictions Britain has seen since the end of World War II.
So, let's go live now to London and CNN's Anna Stewart. And, Anna, getting some mixed messages for people right across Britain, but more so for those in London. What's going on with London's tube services? The British government and London's mayor don't appear to be on the same page with this.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: No, they certainly don't. And those scenes from the London tube yesterday morning were fairly shocking. They were absolutely packed. No social distancing there.
Now last week, when I was still heading into the CNN London studios on the tube, I can tell you it was empty. So many people were working from home but the tubes were running a normal service. The issue right now is plenty of essential workers still need to get to work and the tubes are running well, only 55 percent of tubes are currently as usual.
Now yesterday, the health minister in a press conference said there was no good reason for that. Tube should be running in normal service. The London mayor said actually, we cannot run a full service. This is the maximum we can safely run due to a third of our workers being off work due to coronavirus, either directly or indirectly.
I have to say on a more positive note, around London, all the reporters that we've had in the field or in around the neighborhoods it does seem to be quieter. Brits seem to be heeding that warning to stay at home. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Right. And Anna, I did want to ask you about preparations underway across Britain to ensure enough hospital beds are available as well as medical staff and equipment which has been the big problem elsewhere.
STEWART: We have had the most extraordinary measures actually in the last three or four hours. A new hospital is being transformed in London's Docklands. It's usually the excel exhibition center where you get crafts and Comic-Con. It will able to house 4,000 patients and it will be assisted by the army. Also, a huge recruitment drive for volunteers. The government wants a
quarter of a million healthy Brits to volunteer to help distribute and supply and sort of transport medicine, food, supplies, particularly to those that are vulnerable in the neighborhoods.
And this just adds to the volunteers we've already seen from the NHS, a huge call went out for retired doctors and nurses to come back to work and see if they can help. Twelve thousand have now answered that call. One of which, Rosemary, is actually my father who is 64, a retired oncologist. He's answered that call and is awaiting instructions. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Absolutely wonderful. Well done on his part. And so many others have been retired and they are waiting to be called up yet again. Anna Stewart, many thanks for bringing us up to date on the situation there. I appreciate it.
Well, just ahead, we will have data on the $2 trillion stimulus package heading to the White House and the risk of getting sick from the coronavirus is very real for people young and old. But the risk of dying is greater for men than for women. We'll have the reasons for you when we come back.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
Well, as more data about the coronavirus comes out a startling trend is emerging. More men than women are dying from the virus. That is according to data collected by global health 50/50.
CNN's Max Foster takes a look at the underlying issues that may be putting more men at risk.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Countries around the world are struggling to contain a virus that has upended life as we know it. And across the globe, a surprising statistic has started to emerge. It appears more men may be dying.
There is no good data about the share of tests that are giving to men and women respectively, but in Florida nearly 60 percent of the confirmed coronavirus cases are male. And 70 percent of the deaths are male.
Researchers have found this emerging pattern of men dying from the virus that higher rates in countries in both Europe and Asia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: From Italy we are seeing another concerning trend that the mortality in male seems to be twice in every age group of females.
(END VIDEO CLIP) FOSTER: Comprehensive data about those who got sick could help inform
more effective responses to the crisis. But public health researchers say that when governments, such as the United States either don't collect or don't published their data it's impossible for experts to gain an accurate sense of what's going on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HAWKES, PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: People have the data. What we're not seeing happening it seems, is a collection of that data at state and national levels. With the speed which one might hope to see from the perspective of global health research.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: CNN found that of the six countries providing data sex by sex, all showed men dying at higher rates. More than 70 percent of those who died in Italy are men. In France, more women have tested positive for the virus, but more men have succumbed to it. The same in South Korea.
Across the country for which we have data spanning nearly a quarter of the world's population, we found that men were 50 percent more likely than women to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19. So why might men be more vulnerable? It is still too early to say. But when hypothesis is gaining traction --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAWKES: Across their life courses men have greater risks of exposure to behaviors that will lead to adverse health outcomes in the long term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Researchers say, that means smoking and drinking. Lifestyle factors then maybe making men more susceptible. It's the type of insight that could inform who receives which treatment and when as the U.S. wraps up its virus response. The most effective way of reducing the death toll will be knowing who is at most risk and needs to be protected first.
Max Foster, CNN, London.
CHURCH: My next guest has some advice for younger people. You're not invincible. Derek Aitken is recovering from COVID-19 and joins me now from Los Angeles. Thank you so much for talking with us.
DEREK AITKEN, RECOVERING FROM COVID-19: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, Derek, you were a fit and healthy 41-year-old, but you are at your lowest point when you got this virus. I want you to talk to us -- well first, tell us how you are feeling right now and then how you did feel at the worst point of battling this.
AITKEN: Yes. I'm actually feeling really good now. It's been two weeks since my first symptom so I'm feeling clear, and I think as of tomorrow I'll be fully clear which is great. I think at my worst point it was about eight days after the first symptoms. I couldn't move. I couldn't get out of bed. It was the body aches and the fever, and then the shortness of breath that was really getting to me.
So, I kind of thought I would need to check myself into a hospital at that point. But I kind of slept through the day, and woke up and started feeling a little bit better, and then the next day I sort of had a turnaround which is great.
CHURCH: Right. And so how do you think you got infected and what was the very first symptom that sort of alerted you to the possibility you might have COVID-19?
AITKEN: You know, they think that, I was traveling to Australia for a friend's birthday, this was before any travel restrictions or isolations. That I may have caught it just before I left on the flight down or in the airport. So, it was hard to pinpoint.
That was on a Friday and it was the following Wednesday I felt the first symptom, which was sort of hot or cold sweats in the night and I sort of put it down to having that large weekend, and having traveled a lot, so it was until the next day when I was due to fly back to Los Angeles that I really felt the body aches and shortness of breath. And so, then, it kind of deteriorated from there.
CHURCH: Right. So, at what point -- so you didn't know whether you had it at that point. And then -- and then you flew back to L.A.?
AITKEN: Yes, that's right. I flew back that day, even though I was feeling unwell I still thought I was just run down. So, I was getting back to L.A., and still feeling worst then I realized that I needed to get tested. So I kind of put myself in isolation the night I arrived and got tested the next day.
And even during that weekend when I was waiting for the results, it was getting worse. I still thought, maybe I've got a flu, another flu, another sort of flu. But Monday came the call from the doctor to say that I had tested positive. So, it kind of, I sort of thought, well, you know, it kind of makes sense just by how I was feeling.
CHURCH: Right. And did you have any underlying health issues that would have possibly or could've put you at a more vulnerable situation to this?
AITKEN: No, I didn't have any underlying health issues. I do feel like it hit me a bit harder than I thought it would. I know I thought that maybe it would be a little lighter than that but I could only put it down to maybe, you know, traveling and having the birthday weekend and just maybe being a low immune system at the time, but I guess we don't know how it affects everyone, so.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. I mean, everyone seems to have a different reaction to this. And we are seeing many young people across the globe disregarding warnings to stay home or to socially distance themselves. So, just not taking this seriously. Some think they won't contract or succumb to this COVID-19. What would your message be to them?
AITKEN: My message would be to stay home, you know. Like the only way we're going to get through this as if everyone isolates. And you know, countries go into lockdown. The longer that those people are out and trying to see friends and do things, the longer that we are going to have to stay indoors, so I would, you know, say to go home and to make sure you're lockdown and isolate so we can all get through this quicker.
CHURCH: Why do you think young people not receiving that message at all? Because they are certainly been told to do that in various countries across the globe?
AITKEN: I mean, I feel like, you know, when you don't have anything wrong with you, and you are younger, and I think there is a message from this over the last few months that young people don't get affected by it, that maybe they think they can just go and see their friends and go to the beach and nothing would happen to them. But, you know, they are actually potentially carrying it and passing it on to people.
So, I think, yes, I just think that over the last few months, they've just read the news a little wrong, but they do need to kind of heed these warnings.
CHURCH: Derek Aitken, thank you so much for sharing your experience with COVID-19. We're glad to hear that you are on the road to recovery. And we appreciate your message. Thank you.
AITKEN: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
LEMON: And still to come on CNN, we will talk to a doctor at the center of the coronavirus response in Italy about his efforts to save lives during this growing pandemic.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: White House and Congressional leaders had agreed on a massive stimulus plan for the economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Five days of negotiations ended with a $2 trillion package that will allocate billions for distressed industries and expands unemployment benefits. The package also includes hundreds of billions of dollars for hospitals and healthcare workers as well as loans for small businesses.
Democrats blocked the original Republican plan twice, arguing for more oversight of the $500 billion for big business. A vote is expected later Wednesday, and President Trump is expected to sign the bill. Well, now to the growing coronavirus crisis in Italy. The country is
reporting more than 6800 deaths due to the virus. That's the highest death toll in the world. In just the past day, there was 743 deaths. But amid the tragedy, we're also finding signs of hope. Health officials say there were no new cases on Tuesday in Codogno, a village in the Lombardy region. The first big cluster of the virus was reported there at the beginning of the outbreak in Italy.
Well, Italian hospitals and healthcare workers meantime are still being pushed to the brink. Doctor Roberto Cosentini joins us now to talk more about that. He is a physician at a hospital in the town of Bergamo. Thank you so much for talking with us.
DR. ROBERTO COSENTINI, POPE JOHN XXIII HOSPITAL: Hello.
CHURCH: So, tragically, too many of your colleagues have succumb to this coronavirus. Others are still working furiously trying to save lives. How difficult has this been for you and for all your medical colleagues trying to save all of these people?
COSENTINI: Yes, it's very tough. We're starting the first few cases on the 21st of February, and then we have a relatively quiet week. When after that, we had a steep rise in cases of covid infected patients. And we rapidly reached the peak of 80 to 20 patients a day, most of them with very severe pneumonia.
And we are still on the -- I think we are now on the plateau phase of the outbreak. And it's very hard because we see every day at least 50 to 60 patients coming to our emergency department with difficult breathing. And most of them need oxygen. Roughly 80 percent of them need hospitalization and most of them need ventilation or intubation. The pneumonia is often very severe. We never saw something like that in our life.
CHURCH: And this is what we're hearing all over the world. And some medical workers are making their own protective gear out of garbage bags. That's happening in Spain and other materials because they are running out of supplies. What is the situation at your hospital in terms of masks and protective equipment and ventilators?
COSENTINI: Yes, we are OK right now. We never got short of PPE. But we're out at the limit in the first few days. And by ventilators, we had some days to prepare because we went to the Lodi, the hospital near Codogno where the first outbreak starts in Italy a couple of days before us. And we saw, what was the situation out there and we buy them? And so we had the opportunity to supply our hospital with PPE and ventilators and helmets for CPAP.
CHURCH: It sounds like you have this very much under control. You mentioned Codogno, and we mentioned just in the lead-in to you. There are no new cases Tuesday in that village where the first Italian cases were reported. Does that give you a glimmer of hope? And also you mentioned that you're seeing a plateau in the number of infections. So you're seeing some sort of turning point here do you think?
[03:35:00] COSENTINI: Well, we hope so. In fact, we started two weeks ago the
contagion limitation, the social distancing, the close up, the shut up of the industry. So, I think we'll see the results in these days, and then in the next few days. I think it will turn, will turn right in the next few days.
CHURCH: We are so happy to hear that for you, for all the people of Italy, and of course for people right across the globe. People want to see an end in sight here and possibly we're seeing that in Italy. Dr. Roberto Cosentini, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.
COSENTINI: You're welcome. Bye-bye.
Well, the U.S. stock market closed in the red despite aggressive measures from the Federal Reserve. The DOW dipped by 3 percent. The NASDAQ ended down about a quarter of 1 percent, and the S&P 500 was down nearly 3 percent. The slide in the markets comes after the U.S. Senate again failed to push forward a stimulus package.
Democrats had blocked those measures, but of course we know now we're happy to report that they did agree. And that is great news. And we're seeing the reaction there on the various markets. So the Democrats, the Republicans, the White House have agreed on a $2 trillion package. And we're seeing that reflected in markets right across the globe. And we'll wait and see what happens when Wall Street opens in just a few hours from now.
Well, time for a short break. Just ahead, lockdown measures are slowly being lifted in the Chinese province first hit hard by the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The details next.
CHURCH: Just want to update you on our breaking news. Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on the $2 trillion emergency stimulus to jump-start the economy which has been devastated by the coronavirus. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the president will absolutely sign the measure as soon as it reaches his desk. And we'll have more details on that in just a few minutes from now.
Meantime, travel restrictions are being lifted in China's Hubei province, but Wuhan, the provincial capital where this all began will remain under lockdown until April 8th. It has been cut off from the world for months, and CNN senior producer Steven Jiang is with us now from Beijing to talk more about this. Good to see you, Steven.
So, the rest of the world, of course, takes much encouragement from news of the lifting of travel restrictions in Hubei province but the epicenter of this outbreak remains under lockdown for another two weeks or so. What do we know about what's happening inside Wuhan, right now? STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, millions of Wuhan
residents are eagerly counting down to that date in two weeks' time. But already we're seeing growing signs of local government's preparation for that date. Now starting today, they are resuming bus services on 117 routes within the city limits. They are also going to partially reopen the city's subway system next week after a deep cleaning and disinfecting all the trains and stations.
Also, in Wuhan, more and more workers are returning to their jobs, including to major auto plants like Honda. Now this is very important because Wuhan, as well as the rest of Hubei province is actually a very important industrial hub not only for China, but also in the global supply chain. So, this is what we're going to see more and more. And the residents in Wuhan also understands what they are seeing today in the rest of the province like the return of the flow of traffic on major expressways and highways and the resumption of intercity interprovincial rail and bus services are going to be replicated in their city on April 8th.
Now as long as they have that very important green Q.R. code on their mobile phones which is the proof of your health based on the government's assessment. So, still I think from the government's perspective, they're trying to strike this balance between getting the economic engine rev up, but also making sure there is no second wave of new infections emerge at the epicenter of this outbreak. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes. Steven, I did want to ask you about that, because after all, because it began in China. It is the future for all of us. So, this is encouraging to see a possible turnaround here. But the concern would be a possible second wave of infection. So, how has life changed in China? How will it change going forward? And what will that mean for all the rest of us who are watching what's going to happen to us in the weeks and months ahead?
JIANG: That's right. That's why I think the authorities, expert, as well as just social media users will tell you. A lot of these rigorous screening and quarantine measures may not go away. For example, they're now obviously focused on imported cases from overseas. That's why all these very drastic measures targeting international arrivals will stay for some time.
Now they have not only diverted all Beijing-bound international flights, they're also implementing very, very strict quarantine and the screening rules targeting these travelers, including mandatory coronavirus tests for everyone, as well as mandatory 14-day quarantine at government facilities.
But outside of this kind of specialized areas, in general, the population are still very much wearing their masks in their daily lives and social distancing, is still something people are abiding by. So, these are the things I think that make sense to a lot of people, and they are definitely, you know, contend with the fact that they're going to living with it for some time to come. Rosemary? CHURCH: Yes. I have a feeling all of us will continue with the social
distancing and a whole lot of other things, not shaking hands in the months and possibly years ahead. It's had quite the impact. Steven Jiang joining us live from Beijing. Many thanks.
And in Hong Kong, the first round of containment seemed successful and restrictions eased. But now it is back. Hong Kong's fight against the coronavirus ahead.
CHURCH: At a time when Cannes would be preparing for its famed film festival, the French city is usually glitzy venue looks a little different. The (inaudible) of festival is helping -- homeless amid the coronavirus outbreak. The French Riviera resort is setting up cots and some supplies for those who have nowhere to go during a lockdown. An official at Cannes town hall says between 50 and 70 people stay each night. Their temperatures are taken before being allowed to enter. The Cannes film festival had been scheduled for mid-May, but organizers postponed the event until late June.
Well though Hong Kong has been on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, it had managed to contain the spread of a relatively small number of cases. People took precautions and it worked. And now the city is facing a spike in infections and strict rules are back.
Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong with details, joins us now live. Good to see you, Ivan. So if ever we needed reminding not to let our guard down with this new virus, here is the proof. What are you learning about the spike in infections, and of course the return of the strict rules in Hong Kong?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, I think Asian societies are a test case and an example for western societies that have been dealing with the pandemic a month, two months later than places like Hong Kong, which took coronavirus, the outbreak, very seriously, closing down all schools, for example, and public institutions as early as late January, having some success and then lifting some of those restrictions and just in recent days having to crackdown once again after facing what appears to be a second wave of coronavirus infection.
WATSON: Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and its right next to mainland China, birthplace of the coronavirus pandemic. But for a month and a half, this city managed to avoid a full-blown outbreak, possibly because of the discipline of people like Sarah Membrey. As a precaution, we don't meet face-to- face. Since January 29th, Sarah and her family have stayed confined to these apartments in this building, only setting foot outside once or twice a week.
SARAH MEMBREY, HONG KONG RESIDENT: Basically, we just didn't want to take any risk because at home I have my mom, who is a cancer patient and we want to be really, really careful. And we also have two kids.
WATSON: Until last week, aggressive social distancing and the closure of schools and public facilities helped keep Hong Kong's coronavirus caseload below the 150 mark. But over the last week, the number of infections in Hong Kong suddenly doubled. Authorities say the majority of these new cases were imported, involving people who traveled internationally.
The Hong Kong government is responding to the recent surge in infections. As of last week, any new arrival here at the airport has to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine. All arrivals get an electronic band to monitor them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, this is for quarantine for 14 days, yes.
WATSON: Lindsey Williams, an English teacher from Ohio, has to spend the next two weeks stuck in a hotel room. How do you feel about that?
LINDSEY WILLIAMS, ENGLISH TEACHER, OHIO: A little nervous. But I've got lots of snacks, books.
WATSON: Hong Kong police have been doing spot checks. They say they caught five people who broke quarantine, and they're searching for at least 36 more who have gone missing. Hong Kong's second wave of infections has Sarah Membrey on edge.
MEMBREY: It makes us all very nervous, I have to tell you that. But we also accept the fact that this is happening.
WATSON: Do you feel safe right now?
MEMBREY: At home, yes.
WATSON: She is keeping up the self-imposed quarantine. Her 10-year- old son takes daily classes on videoconference. What do you miss most about life before the coronavirus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friends.
WATSON: Nearly two months into their lockdown, this family has some advice for people just starting this process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just stay positive.
MEMBREY: Yeah, just stay positive. That's the only way. And remain hopeful. I mean, we remain hopeful that a vaccine is going to come out soon.
WATSON: That's something the whole world is hoping for.
WATSON: And Rosemary, it's not just Hong Kong that is seeing this sudden surge of potential second wave infections. Singapore is seeing that as well. And both of these Asian cities have imposed temporary bans on nonresidents traveling to their shores. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Some lessons to be learned for the United States and other countries across the globe. Ivan Watson bringing us the latest there from Hong Kong, many thanks.
And you're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. Do stay with us for details on the $2 trillion economic stimulus package just passed by the U.S. Senate. Back with more on that in just a moment.