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U.K. Vows To Test 100,000 People Per Day By End of April; USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailors Testing Negative Are Quarantined In Guam; Live-Streamed Safaris Bring Joy Of Nature Into Your Home. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 05:30   ET




This is a race against time for a government, frankly, that provide health care free at the point of access -- a big distinction that often hampered exactly where they can put those resources.

And a key change we've heard in the last couple of days is from a government who initially said testing should not be a priority because essentially, the disease was going to spread. So, now saying disease -- testing is absolutely vital.

Now, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, who, himself, made his first public appearance after testing positive with COVID-19 -- he said that by the end of April, frankly, when a lot of the peak and surge here in London and possibly the country may well be on its way down, they hope to be at 100,000 tests a day.

We've heard aspirational statements from the government before that have been reeled back in. They said they wanted to send antibodies tests for Amazon in literally a matter of days about a week ago. That was reeled back on by a chief scientific official in a matter of hours, saying it simply wasn't going to happen.

Matt Hancock's promise of 100,000 tests is obviously in a longer timeframe, so possibly more feasible. But even this morning, he said it was quote "a big ask" for the country to pull that off in that short period of time.

The messaging has been about confidence. Obviously, people in the government want the public -- who, I have to say, are out in pretty substantial numbers, as you've seen over the last couple of days in London -- they want them to listen to the government's message, which is stay at home and let the NHS have all the capacity it needs to try and save lives. Don't spread the infection.

The problem is, though, that if you make lofty goals and suggestions as part of the U.K. government about what you can do in the future or what you're currently able to do and you don't meet those, then that undermines other parts of your message too, and that is essentially staying at home. So, the U.K. into a very dark possible fortnight ahead here. The surge in London, according to some projections I've been told, is supposed to start around about now and that possibly explains some of the eerie silence and ambulances you here during the night here.

But testing has suddenly come onto the radar here, part of their key agenda for one very important thing Robyn, which is slightly terrifying. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, also said today that nearly one in 10 NHS staff are not at work at the moment because they may have COVID-19 or someone else may have it around them and they may have to be isolating themselves.

That's potentially a very significant hamper to the workforce and that may be the reason, too, why they're suddenly trying to get testing going because we can't tell in the NHS staff -- in the doctors and nurses who have got COVID-19, then you can't tell who has to stay at work and who has to go home and stay away from patients. That's an important distinction.

But we are like I think every country in the world with a government dealing with numbers, cases, and scientific unknowns that change on an hourly basis and make jobs that could possibly be something you had planned for exceptionally difficult. Also here, too, key officials suffering from the disease themselves and now making their first public appearances to announce some of these goals.

A very difficult fortnight potentially here. And that scene behind me startling, frankly, that in 2020 in London we could even be thinking about something on this scale. A crematorium up the road possibly as well in use.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK, thanks so much. And the NHS, of course, is the National Health Service there in England. Nick Paton Walsh in London. Thanks so much.

So, Latin America could soon be in the grips of this pandemic. For three days now, Brazil has reported that confirmed cases increase daily by more than 1,000. Makeshift hospitals there have been opened in soccer stadiums. And according to Johns Hopkins University, the death toll has risen to more than 320 people.

In Ecuador, with more than 3,000 cases confirmed and 120 people dead, the government is ordering most workplaces to close. School and public events have been canceled through April, and police are being deployed to enforce stay-at-home orders.

And then in Canada, health officials reporting more than 11,000 cases and more than 130 people dead. About a third of that number are elderly living at long-term care facilities. We know most Canadians are under the stay-at-home orders and schools are closed for more than two weeks.

And, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has more than 110 sailors that tested positive for coronavirus. Now, a naval commander says a group of sailors who have tested negative have been moved to a hotel room -- to hotel rooms in Guam to be quarantined. He also says hundreds of other sailors from the ship will be moved in the next few hours.

So, journalist Mindy Aguon joins me now live from Guam with more on all of this. Hi, Mindy.


By this time tomorrow, approximately 600 sailors who tested negative for COVID-19 will be settled into hotel rooms here in Tumon. Now, these sailors were verified to be negative for the virus and were transported off of naval base Guam, again, into these local hotel rooms where they will be quarantined for the next 14 days. Military personnel will be responsible for conducting daily health checks of the sailors.


Earlier today, Joint Region Marianas Admiral John Menoni announced to local media here in a press briefing and he said that the quarantined sailors have a simple mission and that's basically to stay healthy and mission-ready. And once they are cleared, they are expected that they will go back onto the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Now, we know that there's about 1,000 personnel that have been moved off of the ship so far; many of them tested and are simply awaiting results. And so we know about 300 to 500 more sailors are expected to be moved into local hotel rooms over the next 12 to 24 hours.

Now, those that are still on the base waiting either to be tested are -- many of those remain on the ship. The others are being housed in warehouses and tents on Naval Base Guam. And so, as soon as those sailors get -- are validated to be negative, they will be put into the local hotel rooms here.

All the names of the hotels have not been released by the military just yet. We understand from Joint Region Marianas just a few minutes ago that some of those agreements are still being finalized -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks for that update there, live from Guam.

So, for the men and women on the front lines of keeping Americans safe during this pandemic, the risks are many and they are complicated. There's no such thing as a routine call anymore for police, paramedics or firefighters wherever you are in the world.

So, Brian Todd has the story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): One fire official here in Washington told us they're hearing estimates that tens of thousands of people in this city could get sick from coronavirus. This is, of course, stressing the resources of firefighters and EMTs here in Washington and across the country. In fact, just the precautions that they have to take to go on one given call are jarring.

TODD (voice-over): In New York, front line EMTs and paramedics face an avalanche of calls.

ANTHONY ALMOJERA, LIEUTENANT PARAMEDIC, NEW YORK FIRE DEPARTMENT: When I left Brookdale hospital, they -- there was about maybe 15 ambulances outside waiting to be triaged.

TODD (voice-over): An EMT in Queens says it's overwhelming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call volume, it's just ridiculous. It's one after another after another. Most of the station is out with symptoms, but the ones that are still working, we're so tired. We are extremely tired. We're working over 16 hours a day.

TODD (voice-over): So many patients hospitalized, they are spilling over.

ALMOJERA: The hospital doesn't have any beds and they're using our stretcher to work up the patient, and the patient's on a ventilator at the moment and I can't get the stretcher back.

TODD (voice-over): And the dangers are real.

On Tuesday, Israel Tolentino, an EMT-firefighter in Passaic, New Jersey, died of complications of coronavirus. While it's not clear how he got infected, his fire department is considering it a line-of-duty death.

In the nation's capital, first responders are also decimated and bracing for an onslaught.

JOSEPH PAPARIELLO, UNION REPRESENTATIVE, D.C. FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION: The firefighter-EMTs and paramedics are used to handling emergencies that they can see and feel, whether it's running into a fireground or treating somebody in cardiac arrest or an asthma patient. This is an unknown enemy that we are -- we haven't dealt with before and that definitely raises the anxiety level.

TODD (voice-over): Paramedic and D.C. Firefighters Union rep Joe Papariello told us about 10 percent of D.C.'s paramedics and firefighter-EMTs are out of commission tonight, having tested positive for coronavirus or under quarantine.

With potentially tens of thousands of cases on the horizon for Washington, Papariello and his teams are telling D.C. residents only call 911 if it's an emergency, like difficulty breathing, not just because you think you might have coronavirus.

On the call, describe all your symptoms so they can prepare. Meet the paramedics outside if you can, so they don't have to come in your house. And wear a mask if you have one, to protect them from your germs.

PAPARIELLO: I think our members' biggest fear is bringing the virus home to our families.

TODD (voice-over): If a responding team in D.C. arrives at a home with a suspected case of coronavirus, Papariello says each responder has to take an extra few seconds to don a mask, face shield, gown, and foot covers. He doesn't believe there's enough of a delay to compromise a patient's safety but sometimes it's out of a responder's courageous hands.

New York paramedic Anthony Almojera gives a gut-wrenching account of trying to comfort a coronavirus victim's husband while social distancing.

ALMOJERA: When he realized that his wife had passed away -- and we worked her up and did everything we could and then afterwards, I went to tell him. And normally, I would put my arm around him, but --


ALMOJERA: -- this time around I had to keep distance. And I watched this man's grief come over him, his anger, his sadness. For the first time in my 17-year career, I went back inside the truck and I cried.

TODD (on camera): The anxieties and the taxing of resources are piling up across the country for first responders and that doesn't even include the simple steps that they all have to take each day to prevent coronavirus.

At this station, a truck like this one has to be wiped down two or three times a day. And after a given call where there might be symptoms of coronavirus, an ambulance has to be taken to a separate site and disinfected with some kind of a decontaminating spray.


Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CURNOW: Thanks, Brian, for that.

Now, people around the U.S. are showing their solidarity with health workers on the front lines of the pandemic. People know what they're going through.


New York City firefighters cheering on doctors and nurses.


CURNOW: An emotional moment here in the country's hardest-hit city, New York. These firefighters are cheering on doctors and nurses at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. The fire trucks pulled up as medical staff swapped out for their 7:00 p.m. shift change on Thursday. Some held up signs reading "Thank You" and "You're Our Heroes."

Now, to find out how you can help feed the hungry or protect health professionals and refugees, and support service workers as well during this pandemic, please do go to And also be sure to check out for all of the latest headlines. There, you'll also find a recent opinion piece I've written on how leaders deal with deadly viruses and the lessons learned from previous pandemics.

So, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come --


I hope you've got your snacks packed, like this young elephant has in his mouth, and your questions ready because we really can't wait to hear from you.


CURNOW: It's a lockdown activity that both kids and adults will love. A livestreamed safari, next. How people are enjoying the African bush in their homes.


CURNOW: A cruise ship journey interrupted by the coronavirus has finally docked after being stranded at sea for almost two weeks now. The Zaandam finally reached port in Florida on Thursday along with its sister ship, the Rotterdam. Several countries turned away the ships initially after four people on board died and at least nine tested positive for the virus.

Local officials say passengers who are well will be able to get off these ships and will have charter flights starting on Friday. But those who have COVID-19 symptoms will have to stay on board a little longer.


So being stuck inside doesn't mean you can't enjoy the great outdoors. Thanks to the powers of the Internet, you can bring in lions, cheetahs, elephants, and more into your home via a livestreamed bush drive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am on foot in the middle of the Kruger National Park, one of the largest true wilderness areas left in the world.


CURNOW: So, South African-based WildEarth is offering tours twice a day and gives viewers a real-time interaction with an expert game ranger. It's also a way for safari operators, like WildEarth, to raise money as the pandemic has hit the industry hard.

Graham Wallington is the CEO of WildEarth. He joins us now from Johannesburg. Graham, great to see you.

So many people around the world are sitting at home. They're either trying a game -- they're doing video games -- but basically, I think as a South African, myself, we should say sit down and watch some wildlife. It might bring you a little bit of peace. GRAHAM WALLINGTON, CEO, WILDEARTH: Absolutely, and that's what we offer, Robyn. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to share South Africa's nature with the rest -- with the rest of the world during this terrible time with the pandemic.

But, yes, that's right. We -- every day, we do two live safaris, each for three hours. One in the morning, our sunrise safari, and one in the afternoon, our sunset safari from Djuma Game Reserve in Sabi Sands, part of the greater Kruger National Park here in South Africa, as well as &Beyond's Ngala, which we recently added to the team. And they're just about 20-30 miles north of us.

CURNOW: So what's interesting here is that folks can actually feel like they're on a bush drive -- they're on safari -- because the game rangers are interacting and it's live -- it's happening now. This is like breaking news on CNN. What happens, it happens.

WALLINGTON: Exactly, it's the CNN of the bush. We don't know -- we don't know what's going to happen. Nature will do what it will do but we'll be there to capture those moments. And it's really exactly like going on safari.

So, there's a guide -- he's an expert or she's an expert ranger -- and they'll be able to answer your questions. You can -- you can tweet your questions in, you can put them in, in chat. And some of the questions will get answered by the guides -- by them.

CURNOW: That's fascinating.

Now, a lot of people obviously trying to homeschool kids and a few of us are a few weeks into this. In what way can kids learn, no matter if -- no matter where they are in the world? How can you bring them in because obviously, three hours on a bush drive could be a long time for kids?

WALLINGTON: Actually, you're quite right. So reaching out to kids has always been a very important part of what WildEarth stands for. We're all about giving people an opportunity to connect with nature and particularly our kids because obviously, they're the future of conservation on Planet Earth.

But now, during this time where everybody is quarantined at home and people are bored, there's a great opportunity for free to be able to come and watch our safaris.

And the first 45 minutes of our sunset safari is dedicated only to kids. And during this period of time -- although everybody can watch -- we only answer questions from kids all over the world. Usually, it's done in schools but as you know, most schools now are closed around the world and so everybody's at home.

We've seen a monstrous surge of parents looking for things to do with their kids and this is a great way to come. It's educational, it's not something that's inappropriate, and it's a great way to keep kids engaged and entertained during these tough times. CURNOW: Yes -- and, I mean, what you're doing is a lot -- you know,

what a lot of art galleries are doing around the world. They're also trying to sort of --


CURNOW: -- give virtual tours of some of the great art galleries.

How hard-hit has the industry -- the travel industry across the world, of course, hard hit. But also, I mean, South Africa's on a 21-day lockdown. Many countries around the world and many people can't go on safari at the moment, so people are feeling this as well.

WALLINGTON: Absolutely. Yes, it's been incredibly hard hit. You know, there are currently really no tourists whatsoever in any of these reserves. This has meant that there's really no income whatsoever. A lot of people, particularly temporary transient workers, don't have work. There's a lot of layoffs.

We're really concerned about how long this will last and what the impact is going to be on the tourism industry across Africa, not just inside Africa, of course.

CURNOW: OK. Graham Wallington, thanks very much. And I think in about 12 hours' -- 12 hours' time -- it's about 5:30 here in the morning in the U.S. -- you're doing to be having your sundown and sunset safari. So I might -- I might just pour myself a gin and tonic and sit in front of the T.V. and pretend I'm at a waterhole. Thanks very much.

WALLINGTON: Well, 11:30 eastern time -- 11:30 eastern time this morning and you'll be able to catch us --

CURNOW: That's so good for us (ph).

WALLINGTON: -- as we go out on safari.

CURNOW: Fantastic. Thanks so much -- appreciate it.

WALLINGTON: Thank you, Robyn.


CURNOW: OK, so you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, humans are stuck inside. As we've been saying, we're in this together. But that also gives some penguins a chance to come out and see the sights. Talk about social distance here. That's in "The Good Stuff" after the break.



CURNOW: As you know, the daily tide of troubling news reports can be overwhelming, even for folks like us who have to read it. Sometimes people just need a smile even if it only lasts a moment, and that's where this wonderful story comes in. Anna Stewart has actually three of them. Here's a dose of "The Good Stuff."


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): One family in the U.K. vented their isolation frustrations with an adaptation of a "Les Miserables" song. Online shopping delays, canceled football, not enough phone data, and missing their grandparents.

They can't work Skype, we're broken-hearted!


While much of the world is staying at home, penguins all over the world are having a field day. Andy the Humboldt in the Saint Andrews Aquarium and his meerkat neighbors following in the waddle of Wellington, the rockhopper in Chicago, and Jasmine in Cape Town. Some very happy feet.


A nurse in Springfield, Missouri is keeping spirits up on TikTok with the help of Mercy Hospital's finest backup dancers, and they have some advice. Seriously, she says, don't touch this.

CURNOW: So, thanks for your company. Wherever you are in the world, have a beautiful day. Let's help our medical workers by staying at home and staying safe. Have a wonderful weekend.

I'm Robyn Curnow. "NEW DAY" is next. John and Alisyn are up -- enjoy.



MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: We are recommending that we use non-medical-grade masks or facial coverings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Experts telling the White House coronavirus could be spread directly by patients' exhalation.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: This outpouring of support for New York, it's just so intense and it's only begun.

ROBERT KRAFT, OWNER, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: We have a big tractor- trailer loaded with 300,000 masks that will be coming to the Javits Center.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: It's like watching a slow-moving hurricane across the country. Why not deploy the national resources and just stay ahead of the hurricane?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are dying. We are getting sick. It doesn't matter how many ventilators we get if we are dead.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, April third, 6:00 here in New York.

And we have a lot of new information to give you this morning.