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Foreign Secretary Raab To Step In Where Necessary For Johnson; Cardinal Pell Freed, Sex Abuse Conviction Overturned; Japan PM To Declare State Of Emergency In 7 Areas; British Prime Minister in ICU; U.S. Faces Widespread Shortage of Medical Supplies; China's Continuing War on COVID-19; Spain and Italy Face Economic Instability amid an Extended Lockdown; Ecuador Struggles to Bury Its Dead. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired April 7, 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): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, after his first night in intensive care in a London hospital, growing concern for Boris Johnson as his symptoms from COVID-19 continue to worsen.
Donald Trump declares his response to this pandemic incredible but his own government disagrees. A new report confirms hospitals struggling with severe and widespread shortages of crucial supplies and equipment.
And the most senior figure in the Catholic Church ever to be found guilty of pedophilia has been set free. Australia's highest court quashed George Pell's guilty verdict, his prison sentence overturned.
VAUSE: We start in London this hour. British prime minister Boris Johnson remains at the ICU in St. Thomas Hospital, symptoms taking a turn for the worse. Max Foster is there. He has the very latest.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: John, here's the hospital; the prime minister's condition worsening last night, which is why he ended up in ICU. He's here near many other patients having similar symptoms.
The death toll in the U.K. passing the 5,000 mark, hospitals getting tight on space as we speak so they don't want to keep the prime minister in here any longer than he needs to be.
We're told he is conscious, he is receiving oxygen. He was admitted to the ICU late on Monday, just hours after Downing Street announced he was still leading the country. But now he has relinquished some decision-making powers.
We're going to cross to Nick Paton Walsh, over in Downing Street. Nick, the first secretary, Dominic Raab, effectively picking up the prime ministerial role but it was something that was organized before the prime minister worsened.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: In the British system, the prime minister designates who he would seek to take up the reins in the event that he is unable to do the job. That is how the system works here.
And in the hours ahead, Dominic Raab will chair the COVID meeting inside this building. Raab was foreign secretary until earlier. But there is still this morning I think obviously great concern about what is not known about Boris Johnson's condition.
The closing phrases Downing Street released yesterday said that he was in the ICU as a precaution, should he need to be put on to a ventilator. And I think the fact that they raised that possibility in a statement, meant some degree of alarm.
Remember if you wind the clock back a few hours before the statement was released, Dominic Raab stood before the country and said that Boris Johnson had spent a comfortable night inside St. Thomas.
So the slow drip of information that is being released by Downing Street is entirely understandable, considering the concerns around the prime minister as a private individual, having some privacy. The national security concerns of the key decision-maker being unable to be able to do large parts of his job.
Too, in the hours ahead, we'll see how seriously this disease was taken initially by Downing Street, clearly Boris Johnson had symptoms for a number of days. Initially they were said to be relatively mild, he was in isolation and then a fever was persisting. Later that became more than one symptom and suddenly we were told about 36 hours ago now, that he was admitted to hospital.
Max, that's an admission that no government ever wants to have to make about their leader and that he's gone into an overnight stay in hospital. We are on night two and each hour that passes, we seem to learn something a bit more concerning about his condition.
Obviously we have to draw a line between what we know about the prime minister and what we know about what other patients suffered. But I have to tell you that some medical research does suggest that white males between the ages of 50 and 70, often suffer quite disproportionately from this disease.
So he will be receiving exceptionally high medical care. Everything that the British government can throw at him, making sure that he is in the best possible condition. But all the same, the simple fact that we are having this conversation suggests that there are deep concerns at the highest levels of British government on how Boris Johnson will fare in the hours ahead.
FOSTER: OK, Nick on Downing Street, thank you.
FOSTER: Let's get some medical expertise then, an infectious disease specialist from the Australia National University, associate professor from the medical school there, Dr. Sanjaya Senanayake.
Thank you for joining us. When you heard that Boris Johnson had been put into ICU, what would've been the thinking, do you think, of the doctors here on that decision?
DR. SANJAYA SENANAYAKE, AUSTRALIA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Well, thank you for having me, I am sure that they would've been concerned about his ability to oxygenate his lungs properly. They were concerned that his ability to breathe significant oxygen on the normal ward wasn't enough.
We know with COVID-19, on average, even a mild illness lasts about two weeks but for people who start to get short of breath, that will often occur about seven days into the illness.
So the first seven days you might be relatively well but it's the second week that you can turn the corner. And once you become short of breath, again in a median of about 2.5 days, can occur before you get very short of breath and have rea problems with your lungs.
FOSTER: What sort of treatment will he be getting now to address those sorts of symptoms?
SENANAYAKE: So he will be getting treatment to help oxygenate his lungs from the intensive care doctors. At this stage we haven't heard anything about mechanical ventilation, that is where a tube is put into the airway to help the breathing when someone cannot do it sufficiently by themselves or with non-invasive methods.
The other issue is antiviral treatments; unfortunately, there are no approved or proven antiviral treatments for this virus as yet.
FOSTER: And how do we know whether progress is being made?
When we get announcement from Downing Street later on, what we should we be looking our for?
SENANAYAKE: I think the most important thing will be whether he has had to be intubated, to start on mechanical ventilation or not. If he can avoid that and get back to the ward without having the need for mechanical ventilation, that is a very good sign.
If unfortunately it happens and he has to have mechanical ventilation, then it will be a matter of daily progress to see how it goes. But of course, we all hope he does well.
FOSTER: Of course. Our thoughts are him with him and his family and all the other patients here in the same unit of the ICU unit. We have following this infection as it traveled the world and they have become quite specialists in this process.
The doctors are speaking to each other in the different countries. So at this point in the virus in the pandemic, there is a level of expertise there. That wasn't on earlier in China let's say. So a more hopeful situation perhaps at this point in the pandemic.
SENANAYAKE: That's quite right, I mean we are globally connected, which is the problem of this pandemic in the first place. But it means health care professionals are talking to each other. We referred to guidelines from China, Italy, data from the United States, the U.K., to help guide us so every day that we progress in this outbreak, we learn more.
So it's good for the health care workers and more importantly for the patients.
FOSTER: What is the situation obviously the prime minister is an exceptional case.
But when he says he is still conscious and still making decisions, does that is that concerning to the doctors, is that something they would want him to be focusing on?
What kind of advice do you think they will be giving to his advisers?
SENANAYAKE: I think any patient in intensive care -- and I can't speak obviously of Mr. Johnson's circumstances right now -- but any patient in intensive care I would be telling them to concentrate on getting better and nothing else.
FOSTER: OK, Associate Professor, thank you so much for joining us, for insight in what's going on at the hospital.
And obviously at the same time Downing Street trying to manage public perception as well, because any sudden jolts in the prime minister's condition is very concerning not just for him and his family but also to the wider world here in the U.K.
And the queen stepping in, of course, recently, trying to reassure people that we will all get through this. But when things will happen like this happen, it's very concerning.
Since the prime minister was put into intensive care, there's been a global get well soon message for Boris Johnson, people really rallying around him.
FOSTER: Very heartening for the U.K.
In a tweet from David Cameron, former prime minister, he said, "You are in great hands and we all want you safe, well and back in 10 Downing Street."
The new Labour leader of the opposition party, tweeted, "Terribly sad news, all of the country's thoughts are with the prime minister and his family during this incredibly difficult time."
From the Scottish National Party, "Our and everyone's thoughts at the SNP are with the prime minister and his family right now. We hope and wish for a speedy recovery."
The French president tweeted, "All my support to Boris Johnson and his family and the British people during this difficult moment."
And U.S. president Donald Trump called Boris Johnson a friend, saying his administration has been in touch with the prime minister's doctors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are saddened to hear that he was taken into intensive care and Americans are all praying for his recovery. He's been a great friend, he has been something very special, strong, resolute, does not quit or give up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Very true, John. He's a very resolute chap, all thoughts with him now, we are expecting an update from Downing Street, of course, because the whole of the U.K., indeed the world, very much is looking to see how he recovers, the first leader to have gone down certainly to this level with this virus.
VAUSE: Certainly as soon as anything happens, we'll have it here live, thank you, Max. We will get back to you.
Here in the United States this pandemic has been a slow-moving disaster, killing almost 11,000 people so far, more than three times the death toll from the 9/11 terror attacks.
As bad as that day was, it was still just one day, the American death toll from the coronavirus has been ticking over for months, growing in number and pace. While New York remains the hardest hit state, the governor says the number of confirmed cases in recent days has appeared to be plateauing.
But a few days do not make a trend. As hospitals confront or brace for the worst, this virus will bring a new inspector general's report that contradictions Donald Trump in almost every way.
The report found hospitals continue to have severe and widespread shortages of medical supplies and the guidance from the federal government has been confusing. If there has been anything that could be described as a success, it has almost nothing to do with Donald Trump.
As of Monday, more than 97 percent of the U.S. is now under a stay at home order. For the most part, sticking to it. CNN's Nick Watt reports now from Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what we trained to do and this is what we signed up for, just not in this volume.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In New York state, the rate of new infections is finally falling.
ANDREW CUOMO (D), GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: It is hopeful but it's also inconclusive and it still depends on what we do.
WATT (voice-over): So despite good news, the governor just extended their stay at home order through the end of the month and doubled the fine for noncompliance.
CUOMO: This is an enemy that we have underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly. Well, the numbers look like they may be turning. Yay, it's over.
No, it's not. And other places have made that mistake.
WATT (voice-over): Even if peak infection has passed, health officials say peak death rate still likely to come.
ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, M.D., ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH: For New York and New Jersey and Detroit, this is going to be the peak week.
WATT (voice-over): In New Jersey, Sheryl Pabatao just lost both her parents, both health care workers.
SHERYL PABATAO, DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 VICTIMS: This was the year that they were supposed to retire and this was their retirement.
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly. This will be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.
WATT (voice-over): Around our nation's capital, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, confirmed cases have near tripled in just a week. More than 10,000 Americans dead already, according to Johns Hopkins University.
And one model the White House task force is using suggests we are still 10 days from the peak, when we could lose 3,000 or more in one day. In Michigan, more than 600 dead and counting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are running dangerously low on PPE. At one hospital, we have less than three days until N-95 masks run out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a nationwide impact and it's hard to adjudicate those resources across the nation, knowing we will not have enough for everybody.
WATT (voice-over): Peak infection in California now not projected until mid-May.
LT. GOV. ELENI KOUNALAKIS (D-CA): I think it's pretty clear at this point that this is what April will look like.
WATT (voice-over): Most of us still told to stay home at least another three weeks, likely longer. In Louisiana, the same model suggests they have actually passed their peak need for beds and ventilators. It was grim, it still is.
LATOYA CANTRELL, NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: Our coroner's office is at capacity as it relates to our dead bodies of our loved ones.
WATT: Here in the U.S., the coronavirus is hitting different places at different times. California yet to see a surge so the governor has given 500 ventilators to the national stockpile.
But we are being told here in L.A. County to brace ourselves. We were told that, if we have enough supplies, this week might be a good week not to even go to the grocery store -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: To believe the U.S. president is to believe that no one predicted the coronavirus pandemic, someone did, not just anyone, not some liberal holdover from the Obama administration, not some deep state partisan hack, as the president likes to call his critics but rather one of his own most senior and trusted advisers.
Peter Navarro, a close adviser to the president, he is his trade adviser and he wrote a memo in January, warning the virus could put millions of lives at risk across the U.S. and cost trillions of dollars.
The memo goes on to say the lack of a cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless. That memo warned the administration not to overlook the worst-case scenario, given the information coming from China.
New Zealand's health minister has learned the hard way that breaking the government's coronavirus lockdown does not end well. Jacinda Ardern demoted health minister David Clark after he admitted to a trip to the beach when the restrictions first went into effect, adding that "he is an idiot," he said, and understands why so many people are angry with him.
Clark keeps his health portfolio but will lose his role as associate finance minister, he will be sent to the very lowest end of the cabinet rankings.
Planning for normalcy with the number of new cases now slowing in Italy and Spain, both countries are looking ahead to what life will be like after the worst. Live reports to come.
And in Ecuador, the crisis gets worse; the death toll is causing one city to take some extraordinary measures. Those details in just a moment.
VAUSE: On Monday, a milestone where this outbreak began. China reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since the official death toll began back in January. For more, Steven Jiang in Beijing.
As good as this news is, there seems almost reluctance there to embrace it.
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: That's right, John, that's why the government here has not really been (INAUDIBLE) they reported no new coronavirus for Monday.
JIANG: Even their own state media and government experts have been pointing to the other latest figures, including over 2,000 active confirmed cases. These are people who have not been released from the hospital. Also more than 1,000 asymptomatic cases.
So even for Monday, they confirmed new and suspected cases, so this war against the virus is very much ongoing. That's why you see authorities continuing to strengthen their screening, contact tracing and quarantine measures, targeting both international arrivals and asymptomatic cases.
These are their priorities. But these numbers have been encouraging lately, that is why they're going ahead with their plan to reopen Wuhan. That is the original epicenter of this global pandemic.
For the first time in over two months, people deemed healthy and low- risk will be allowed to leave the city if they have the green QR code on their cellphones. And we see life returning to some sense of normalcy, including in Wuhan, where public transportation has been restored, shops have reopened and workers are returning to their jobs.
And you see even now people appearing on the streets and in public parks. Of course the authorities here are trying to strike a delicate balance here. They are trying to encourage this kind of orderly gradual reopening resumption of business and economic activity.
On the other hand, they can't afford to lose control over the situation again, especially when people seem to be starting to congregate again. Last weekend we saw thousands of people crowd down a narrow path to try to get into a tourist attraction in eastern China.
So government officials and experts here are warning against complacency, saying that is their biggest enemy right now, especially at a time when they are very much afraid and concerned over a second wave of new infections, not only involving cases from overseas but also domestic transmission as well.
VAUSE: Steven, thank you very much, Steven Jiang in Beijing.
Italy's month long lockdown may be paying off with a continuing decline in new case. So too, Spain, where the percentage of new cases have been dropping for two weeks. The Spanish government is making plans for a gradual return to normalcy after Easter.
Joining us now, Al Goodman in Madrid and Barbie Latza Nadeau in Rome.
We'll start with Al and I guess this is some type of exit strategy for this lockdown. But it's coming with some severe warnings that the economy has been absolutely devastated.
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All of that, John. A few days ago they were talking about a stabilization phase. Now one senior minister, government minister talking about a de-escalation phase. And the reason they talk about that is because the numbers that you just mentioned, while rising, the numbers of new cases and deaths, the percentage is very low.
The percentage rise on new cases in the last previous day has just been 1.6 percent, the number of people going -- new cases into intensive care ward only 70, I say only 70 because in recent days it was in the hundreds.
So they are really seeing some good figures. And another one here, the infection rate, of somebody who has coronavirus, how many people do they infect, that is down to less than one in many parts of Spain.
So the person is infecting less than one on average. Those are the reasons they're getting ready to start to lift some of these restrictions, get some of the workers, like construction workers, back to work. But definitely not they're not going to open the door wide open and have everybody come rushing out of their homes.
So the state of emergency, the lockdown order has been extended, it will now be six weeks long, going almost to the end of April. And as they try to get the economy back on track, they're saying that they're still going to need isolation for people, as they ramp up testing and find new cases.
They might want to isolate these people in hotels without violating their civil rights, the socialist government says the rule of law has to play into effect and the social government here in Spain, aligned with Italy and some other countries like Portugal, have been hammering hard on the European Union, to make a plan so that northern Europe, which has been a little less hurt by the health aspects of the coronavirus, can help financially with southern Europe. And that is where the battlegrounds have been drawn right now -- John.
VAUSE: Al, thank you.
Now let's go to Rome, we have a similar situation to what's happening in Spain. They're looking to the end of this but the economy has been devastated and, you have the massive financial aid package that has been passed by the government. But many say they have not received a nickel.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today is day 30 of the lockdown, many people are very, very restless, the economic situation is tragic for so many people. Especially in the southern part of the country, where they haven't seen the high number of cases.
We have seen great numbers, they are calling it a trend now, we're on the back side of, this of the curve and everybody is looking forward to what phase 2 looks like.
NADEAU: The government is working very hard right now to try to construct that and we're going to be looking at the lockdown, supposed to end on Monday, everyone thinks that will be extended for sure.
But we are looking at a very hopeful spring ahead, I guess. And people are thinking, hey, it's time to get some of these factories back, get back online, do some testing before people go into their jobs again. And there is optimism here and we haven't seen that for a long time. People are hopeful and people are looking ahead finally -- John.
VAUSE: Well, that is something, after so many weeks and so many months, Barbie, thank you so much.
Also Al Goodman reporting for us in Madrid, thank you.
Funeral homes and morgues in Ecuador are overwhelmed by the mounting death toll from the coronavirus, wooden coffins are also in short supply, forcing one city to take a grim but necessary measure. Here's CNN's Matt Rivers.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A brutal situation in Ecuador, in the Guayas province in the city of Guayaquil, looks to be continuing, unfortunately. A few days ago we reported that family members who had loved ones die inside their homes, some of them put the deceased bodies out into the street because private funeral homes and local government morgues were at or over capacity.
And now we know the government is trying desperately to try and fix the situation. The government says that they will be sending in coffins made of cardboard. The distribution of those coffins began on Sunday. We also know that they are going to be providing extra portable morgue facilities to handle this demand.
It's unclear how many people exactly died as a result of this virus; 191 confirmed dead in Ecuador as of Monday evening, 130 of those were from this province. But because many of the deceased were not being tested for the disease, it's hard to say exactly how high the death toll is from this virus.
But meanwhile the government is trying to apologize, at least in part, with the country's vice president saying, quote, "This week Ecuador has suffered a strong deterioration of its international image and we have seen images that should have never happened. And therefore, as your public servant, I apologize."
Meanwhile the mayor of the city said that two extra spaces will be set aside to become cemeteries and memorials for those who have died as a result of this coronavirus outbreak -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, from mild symptoms to hospital admission to intensive care and oxygen, we'll have more on prime minister Boris Johnson's fight against COVID-19.
Also justice served or a slap in the face to survivors of clergy sex abuse? We will have more on the court decision to free one of the most prominent figures in the Catholic Church abuse scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC RAAB, FOREIGN SECRETARY, UNITED KINGDOM: The prime minister is in safe hands with a brilliant team at St Thomas' hospital. And the focus of the government will continue to be on making sure at the Prime Minister's direction, all the plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus and pull the country through this challenge will be taken forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Reassuring words for the man to stand in for Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister's battle with coronavirus moves to a hospital intensive care unit. He tested positive last month but had insisted his symptoms -- his symptoms at the time were mild. Downing Street officials say Mr. Johnson is conscious and breathing on his own though, in the ICU unit which was an update last night. We're expected to hear what happened overnight though at a briefing around lunchtime here in the U.K.
Now, before Mr. Johnson went into the hospital here, he called on Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, to deputize for him if that were needed if he were incapacitated in some way. And now Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary is effectively in charge. Here's Nic Robertson on the man now running things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Dominic Raab has been handed days at a decision making by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Raab was effectively Johnson's deputy, serving as Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State. While Johnson remains Prime Minister, Raab is now leading the country.
So who is Dominic Raab? The 46-year-old is a former lawyer and staunch Brexiteer. Raab himself wanted to be head of the Conservative Party.
RAAB: And the candidate who can be trusted to deliver on Brexit and then unite our party behind an optimistic vision fitting for our great country and worthy of our great people.
ROBERTSON: But he lacked enough support from other MPs last year and didn't make it past the second round of voting. Raab quickly endorsing Johnson, a move that would land him the position of foreign secretary in Johnson's cabinet.
RAAB: I'm hugely humbled to take on this role at this time, and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Obviously, we've got the challenges of Brexit, but that's something that we want as a country to rise to.
ROBERTSON: Brexit was an important stepping stone in Raab's career. In July 2018, he was made Brexit Secretary under then-Prime Minister Theresa May, but quit the post after four months, saying he could not get behind May's Brexit plan. In recent weeks, Raab has increasingly focused on the coronavirus.
RAAB: The U.K. travelers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries.
ROBERTSON: The pandemic now a monumental battle in the U.K. is putting unexpected responsibilities on Raab as Boris Johnson continues his deeply serious personal fight against the virus in a London ICU. Nick Robertson, CNN, London.
FOSTER: Carole Walker is a political analyst. Of course, he joins us from here in London. I've met him, you've met him. Describe the character of Dominic Raab because I don't think there's any doubt is there that he's up to the job currently.
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Dominic Raab, as you heard in that report, is someone who has had quite significant experiences and challenging roles, not least when he was Brexit Secretary before he resigned from Theresa May's cabinet. But I have to say, that I think that when we heard the update last night that the Prime Minister had been taken into intensive care, Dominic Raab did appear somewhat shaken. And I think that that news really did send shockwaves through Downing Street.
The Prime Minister, of course, was taken into hospital as you know on Sunday after suffering from the coronavirus for some nine days, still suffering with the cough, still suffering with the high temperature. At that time, Dominic Raab was simply chairing meetings in his place. And clearly, Dominic Raab has now had to take on a great deal more responsibility.
In the U.K., we don't have the same formal system that you have, for example, in the United States where there is a formal deputies role, but Dominic Rob has been designated as the most senior minister who's going to deputize for the Prime Minister. He will once again this morning be chairing the key committee meeting to consider the next steps on the coronavirus.
Although even last night, even after the Prime Minister was taken into intense intensive care, Dominic Raab was insisting that he was carrying out the instructions of Boris Johnson, and that there was a strong team there at the top of government that were going to be carrying out the plans that had been agreed. And of course, there are very senior health officials, experts in the
field of immunology, the virus, it spread and so on, who have a key role to play as well.
FOSTER: But you're highlighting one of the issues here, which has come up, hasn't it, over the last 12 hours, because obviously, Dominic Raab's position, it goes back to the fact he was appointed, you know, some time ago is First Minister, that role steps in for the Prime Minister if he becomes incapacitated, but no one expected that to happen. So Dominic Raab wasn't obviously being appointed in that light.
And there isn't this form or succession plan in the U.K. as there is in the US. And are we now in a situation where there could potentially be a conflict where it's not entirely clear, where Boris Johnson is in charge, where Dominic Raab is in charge, and if there are any divisions that set in behind the scenes. That could potentially cause a real problem for leadership in the country.
WALKER: Well, look, clearly there isn't that same formal arrangement as you have pointed out. I think what is clear is that Dominic Raab has been designated into this role. I think the sense of shock that there has been through the top echelons of government at the rapid developments and the worsening of Boris Johnson's condition yesterday afternoon means that I think that for the time being, at least, ministers will simply want to pull together.
We have had suggestions that there are tensions within Downing Street between some senior ministers, some civil servants, different departments who have different priorities. But I think that what has happened now, may well actually mean that those tensions will be set aside and that people will be really pulling out all the stops to try to make sure that they do work as a team, while Boris Johnson is in a hospital in intensive care.
I think even before yesterday is development some people had been concerned that while he was not well, he Boris Johnson was still trying too hard to try to manage the government. And indeed, at the press briefing at 5:00 yesterday afternoon, Dominic Raab was making the point that Boris Johnson was still looking at his red boxes, which of course carry the vital government papers of the day that he was still going through there, that he was still at that stage in charge of the government.
But then, of course, three hours later, Dominic Raab popped up on television again to tell us well, he has now been taken into intensive care and clearly, the prime minister will need a period of recuperation. And I think that is where it may become more difficult.
At the moment many of the key decisions have been taken about the scale of the lockdown across the country, about the efforts to try to get testing in place, particularly for key health workers. But in about a week from now, there is due to be a review of that lockdown. And I think the question then is who will be making the key decisions as to whether or not it will be possible at all to ease some of the restrictions.
Although I should add the rider, that the word that we were getting from those various Senior Health officials yesterday seemed to suggest that it was very, very unlikely that there could be any easing of those restrictions anytime soon. So it may well be that there will be time. We hope for the prime minister to recuperate, to get right back into Downing Street to regain the reins of powerfully before some of those bigger decisions are taken.
And in the meantime, I think the real hope is that the different government ministers with their different responsibilities coming together in this key COVID-19 committee will be able to continue along the general path to set out by Boris Johnson.
FOSTER: OK, I'm Carole Walker, thank you very much. Indeed for that, the optics of this as well, the government having to try to describe how the condition is changing all the time, a big issue for the government because they don't want to worry the wider nations. This is showing this united front, John, at the top of government at the moment. It's very, very difficult course for the Prime Minister in the condition that he's in right now. We'll bring you updates as we get them.
VAUSE: It's a very fine line indeed for the -- for the government right now. And Max, thank you. Max Foster there live in London. Now, the most senior Vatican official to ever see the inside a prison cell for pedophilia has been set free on appeal to Australia's High Court. In the past few hours, George Pell was released from his prison. His conviction of five counts of child sex abuse overturned.
Pell maintained his innocence from the very beginning. He says he has no ill will for his accuser. The second accuser though committed suicide. CNN's Anna Coren is in Hong Kong live this hour, so too Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher. First though to Anna. Two courts, two guilty verdicts, but the seven justices on the High Court disagreed. Why?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's interesting, John. This was a drama that's played out over five years. The High Court of Australia, the highest court in the land, made its decision that within 26 days. And at the end of the day, it came down to reasonable doubt. It believed unanimously the seven judges on the high court that there was reasonable doubt, and that could not support a guilty verdict.
So despite the jury unanimously finding him guilty, despite this going to the court of appeal, majority there, the High Court just overturned their decisions. It was quashed and he is now a free man. He drove out of Bowen prison a few hours ago. We don't know where he is heading. He's 78 years old, turning 79 in June.
Obviously, his supporters elated, but for the survivors is a clerical sexual abuse, this is absolutely devastating. I spoke to several of them this morning and they are absolutely gutted. They are in disbelief. They feel that this makes a mockery of the Australian justice system. The former choirboy who obviously testified that Pell had abused him and his friend back in 1996 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, his lawyer will be speaking on his behalf tomorrow.
As for the father of the other choirboy, who, as you mentioned, committed suicide in 2014 before any of these legal proceedings began, he blames Pell solely for his son's death and will be taking it civil action.
Now, there will be multiple lawsuits filed against George Pell. That is what we're hearing coming out of Australia. Lawyers are getting ready for that. And then of course, there is the Royal Commission findings that were redacted. (AUDIO GAP) pages involving Cardinal Pell. Well, they will be released to the public and by all reports, John, they're damning.
VAUSE: OK, Anna, thank you. So, Delia, Pell is 78, 79 years old. So what happens now? Does he just go to his old job, his old role as treasurer or some other job at the Vatican or just into retirement? What happens?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me tell you, John, that Rome is just waking up to this news. And we're waiting comment from the Vatican. Excuse me. Pope Francis has said from the beginning that he would comment about this once the Australian justice system had run its course. So we do expect within the course of today to hear from the Vatican on it.
In terms of Cardinal Pell and the Vatican, he hasn't had an official role here for some time. Both his term as finance minister and his term as an adviser to Pope Francis on his Council of Cardinals expired last year. So he doesn't currently have an official role. And when he was here, as finance minister, he met with a lot of internal resistance to his reforms which many say have largely stalled now.
So obviously the question in front of Pope Francis is whether or not he wants to bring him back as finance minister. Of course, the cardinal is 78 years old. That has passed the general retirement age of 75 for Vatican officials. So that combined with everything that has happened, leaves a decision to Pope Francis as to what he wants to do in terms of giving Cardinal Pell an official role at the Vatican.
The other option, John, is that he allows him to retire here in Rome. That also happens for Cardinals who have worked at the Vatican. They are allowed to work live out their retirement in Rome. Of course, all of this a little too early to say. It will depend on the decision of the Pope and Cardinal Pell as to what they intend to do. John?
VAUSE: Delia, thank you. Delia Gallagher there in Rome with what we can expect maybe for George Pell, and also Anna Coren there explaining why this conviction was overturned. Thanks to both. When we come back, state of emergency in Japan. The government moves to toughen restrictions and try and impose social distancing, which could actually force some businesses to close.
Also, Wall Street had its best day in two weeks. We'll see if that momentum is carrying over to the financial markets in Asia this hour.
VAUSE: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will declare a state of emergency in the coming hours but only for certain parts of the country. He's also announced almost $1 trillion in financial aid to help soften the economic blow from all of this. CNN's Will Ripley reports now from Tokyo.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Japanese Government right now really trying to balance the health of the economy with public health unveiling this massive stimulus package on the same day that they're announcing a lockdown that only affects seven Japanese prefectures, which means people here in Tokyo or Osaka could potentially travel to other areas and potentially spread the virus.
In this trendy Tokyo neighborhood, the stage is set. The band is ready. The show may never go on. What's your biggest fear?
I don't know when the coronavirus outbreak will end says Yu Suganami. He's been saving for years to open a live music venue. He can't have a concert without an audience. You have a cushion that can last you one maybe two months. What happens after that?
He says, this place will be closed without ever being open. For small businesses already on life support, Japan's state of emergency threatens to pull the plug. People in seven prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka are being told to stay home. Only basic economic activity like public transit and supermarkets will continue.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an unprecedented stimulus package worth nearly $1 trillion, 20 percent of Japan's GDP. It includes desperately needed handouts for struggling families and small business owners, also tax deadline breathing room for cash strapped corporations.
JENNIFER ROGERS, ATTORNEY, CORPORATE BOARD MEMBER: I don't think there's any company that hasn't been adversely affected unless they're selling ventilators or really needed items.
RIPLEY: Japan has only 22,000 ventilators for a population of almost 126 million. Around 40 percent of those were already in use a month ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a country that prides itself of being the best manufacturing country on Earth, that is excusable.
RIPLEY: Yes. And there's a real shortage.
Making more ventilators takes time. Time Tokyo hospitals may not have. The city is running out of beds for coronavirus patients. Japan only has seven ICU beds for every 100,000 people. That's one-fifth of the United States. Government warnings to stay at home cut hairstylist Takeki Suzuki's business by more than half.
Can you survive this pandemic?
I don't know, he says. It depends on how long this goes on. If everyone listens to the government and take strong measures, I believe this will end.
For now, he's giving home styling lessons on social media.
Because of coronavirus, I'm afraid of draining my savings, he says. But my passion, my dream won't die.
That dream, to study in New York someday. A dream that can only come when this nightmare is over. We'll Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.
VAUSE: And we'll stay in Tokyo now and journalists, Kaori Enjoji is with us live again this hour. And Kaori, you know, $1 trillion in financial aid. It may be good news for the markets, but it's still one of those hospitals which are facing huge shortages in medical equipment across Japan.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. And they're starting to move some of the patients who have mild symptoms are asymptomatic to some of the hotels that have raised their hand trying to -- trying to help the crunch at the hospitals. And that started today, John. And the government has been calling on manufacturers to ramp up production of ventilators.
And when the biggest of the blue-chip companies Toyota just announced that they will start using their facilities that have been idled, to start printing, 3D masks. These are face shields, they're really direly needed at the front lines of the hospitals. And this is in response to requests from the government, and they'll be able to produce about 500 to 600 a week.
And they said they're also going to be trying to relay some of the production know-how in the supply chain know-how that they really have to help other medical equipment manufacturers ramp up production. And I think this is what they've been doing in the U.S. already for the last couple of weeks.
You know, as far as the financial impact is concerned, we've talked about this before, but shutting down Tokyo and the vicinity means half the economy is basically going to be shut down, regardless of whether this is a soft lockdown or not. And that is very, very worrying. And some economists are saying that that could push down growth by as much as 20 percent in the second quarter. So this is very alarming, even though the economic stimulus is very large.
I mean, on the day today, the financial markets, the equity market had a pretty good run. It was up two percent, three days of gains. The rally on Wall Street seven percent up as well. I think oil was up. But futures, Dow Futures are down a little bit. So it's not all rosy still, of course.
I think people are concerned about whether other hotspots might emerge even beyond the areas that are covered by the current -- the state of emergency that will be officially declared later on today, particular an area called Aichi which is the headquarters for Toyota, and really the manufacturing epicenter of Japan and the number of cases there are rising. So I think that is a worry as Japan tries to contain the coronavirus. John?
VAUSE: Yes, absolutely, Kaori. Thank you for the update and also the information about just essentially what they're doing with all these patients and shortage of equipment. Kaori Enjoji live for us in Tokyo. Kaori mentioned the U.S. Futures. They have been going up and down in positive territory after Wall Street's best day in two weeks. The Dow finish Monday almost eight percent up, the NASDAQ, S&P 500 also up around seven percent.
A short break, when we come back, some good stuff. Simple reminders for children that we have to stay positive.
VAUSE: The outpouring of gratitude for healthcare workers showing no sign of ending anytime soon. On Monday, musicians with the New York Philharmonic came together over the internet performing Ravel's Bolero. So it was their way to say thank you.
All performances by the Phil have been canceled until mid-June, you guessed it, because of the coronavirus. It's important not to forget that it really is a wonderful world somewhere over that rainbow, and children in the U.K. reminding us of just that. Here's Anna Stewart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Red and yellow and pink and green.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can sing a rainbow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sing a rainbow too.
ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In Italy, Spain, the United States, and the U.K., rainbow trails are being laid around the world. Crystal Stanley set up the UK's rainbow trail Facebook group.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you might see a rainbow in the window and you think well, there's a rainbow drawing in the window. And then you spot loads more as you're walking down the road and it's incredible. It just gives everyone a little smile. It like cheers people up.
STEWART: Cheering passes by bringing communities together and keeping little hands busy at home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing, Pamela?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drawing a picture for the window.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got big following in America, in Australia as well, Thailand, just to name a few.
STEWART: Children reminding us all over the world of brighter days to come.
VAUSE: That really was good stuff. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. My colleague Rosemary Church has a lot more after the break.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This hour, almost 11,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
FOSTER: -- at Saint Thomas's Hospital in London where the British Prime Minister has spent the night in intensive care because of the virus.