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U.S. Still Lags Behind Mass Testing; Conspiracy Theory Ruined a Couple's Life; Britain to Extend Its Lockdown; Gradual Reopening of Businesses Seen in Europe; Coronavirus Pandemic; Wuhan, Life After The Outbreak; Camera Watch Just Outside Quarantine Homes In China; E- Commerce Soaring In South Korea During Quarantine; President Trump Adds To Confusion Over Kim Jong-un's Health; Lebanon Protesters Defy Restrictions; U.S. Oil Plunged below $11 A Barrel In Asian Trade; Economic Inequality Could Lead To Second Arab Spring; Impact Of Collapse Demand On Middle East Exporters; A Broadway Birthday Tribute, Quarantine Style; New Zealand Begins Reopening, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Says Virus Eliminated; Some Australian States Relax Restrictions Of Movement. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 28, 2020 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We've launched the most ambitious testing effort, likewise on earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Just 24 hours after shutting down his daily coronavirus briefings, President Trump is back in the spotlight, and promising big things for the country.

Plus, the surveilled state is taking it a step further. China is keeping a close eye on those who might be carrying the coronavirus. As closes inside people's own homes.

And New Zealand may have just done what no other country has managed to achieve, not just contain the virus, but eliminate it. This hour all the details on that success story.

With the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus now over three million worldwide, close to one in three infected people lives in the United States. But a number of states are reporting progress. New York and Ohio say they have fewer hospitalizations and deaths. And researchers are staging clinical trials including one for a common

heartburn medicine. The State of Georgia is letting restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses reopen. Texas will follow suit on Friday. Some California beaches have reopened, but the governor says people still have to observe social distancing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Those images are an example of what not to see. People what not to do. This virus doesn't take the weekends off. This virus does not go home because it's a beautiful sunny day around our coast. And that's why I cannot press upon you more to those Californians watching, that we can't see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach, and elsewhere in the State of California.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well other governors say more testing is the key to reopening their states. And the White House is responding, although its blueprint relies on state and local governments to carry the load. The plan says the federal government should be the test supplier of last resort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Today we are releasing additional guidance on testing to inform the states as they develop their plans for phased and very safe reopening. Our blueprint describes how states should unlock their full capacity, expand the number of testing platforms established, monitoring systems to detect local outbreaks, and conduct contact tracing.

We have it all. Other countries are calling to find out what are we doing and how do you do it, and we're helping them. We're dealing with a lot of countries, helping them on testing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, Mr. Trump said last week these daily briefings weren't worth his time and effort. But the White House Rose Garden provides a different backdrop for a president eager for positive press. It's also worth noting the president has more control over the questions. Reporters there have to be given the microphone where in the briefing room they are already mic-up.

Well, across the United States it's a story of some states rushing to reopen with others insisting it's way too soon. Missouri is the latest to lift restrictions on businesses starting next week.

Kyung Lah looks at the decisions being made in key parts of the country.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In New York, home to the nation's largest COVID hotspot, the state's governor signaled a pivot is coming as number flatten to a high plateau. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): May 15th is when the pause regulations expire statewide, I will extend them in many parts of the state, some regions you could make the case that we should un-pause on May 15th. But you have to be smart about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:05:07]

LAH: Being smart says Governor Cuomo means showing a 14-day decline in cases, that's not exactly being followed in other states.

Open for some seating in Georgia with plastic grocery bags over chairs, other seats roped off. The new dining normal rolled in. Restaurants and movie theaters with restrictions are operating again in Georgia. It is unclear if any diners are ready.

From Georgia to Montana, to Alaska, the national push to reopen expands this week. At least 13 states will reopen some of their major businesses. With as many sanitation preparations as possible, in Colorado, this barbershop is moving forward desperate to get business back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to be cautious. We need money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Each state's governor is calling the shots, leading to an uneven and dangerous national response to the pandemic, warns this Georgia coroner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FOWLER, CORONER, DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GEORGIA: I think it's likely rushing over there. Every time you walk at the house or goes to a place without a mask and practice social distancing, you're playing a rushing over there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Some state level Republicans now tell CNN they are wary of reopening too quickly after President Trump publicly rebuke Georgia's governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I disagree strongly with his decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Florida's governor likely taking note after being criticized for taking too long to shut things down. This morning signaled more caution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): This is going to be slow and steady wins the race, it's going to be very methodical, very data- driven.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: The most important metric testing and lots of is still not where it needs to be, warns the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: We have to have a breakthrough. This RNA testing will carry us certainly through the spring and summer, but we need to have a huge technology breakthrough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Dr. Birx adds social distancing will be the rule through the summer. The White House economic adviser predicted testing would catch up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: We'll be able to ramp up rapidly in the testing just as we did in ventilators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And as you just heard in Kyung Lah's report experts say the U.S. is still not conducting enough tests to safely reopen the economy. To do that the country needs to test more than 500,000 people a day, that's according to Harvard researchers, and right now the U.S. is averaging less than half that amount. Still, the president insists America is leading the world in testing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We've launched the most ambitious testing effort likewise on earth. The United States has now conducted more than 5.4 million tests, nearly double the number tested in any other country, more than twice as much that any other country. Think of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And for more, David Heymann joins me now from France. He is a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Good to have you with us.

DAVID HEYMANN, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE & TROPICAL MEDICINE: Thank you.

CHURCH: So, we are all learning that testing for this novel coronavirus is key. So, what percentage of any population in the midst of this pandemic needs to be tested before a country can be sure that it's safely opening up.

HEYMANN: Well, it's more wise to look at where testing should be done, and that should be done in people who have signs and symptoms of infection, as well as people who are contacts of those people to make sure that you can identify where transmission is occurring.

So, the best testing strategies include a test to determine when somebody is acutely sick, but also testing to determine when people have been sick in the past, and that's an antibody test.

In many countries, before they are unlocking they are also looking to see where transmission has been greatest by using antibody tests, but those tests do have some difficulties.

CHURCH: It's interesting that you mentioned to focus on those who show symptoms, because we have learned that 25 percent of those who are infected are asymptomatic, they do not show those symptoms. So, wouldn't it be key to ensure that you're doing testing on other people as well as those who are showing symptoms?

HEYMANN: Absolutely, and that's where the contacts of person who are infected are important because many of them may be infected but asymptomatic and develop signs and symptoms later on. So, testing strategies have to be adapted to what the country can do, and what it feels is most important. And usually that is looking at people who are sick and their contacts.

CHURCH: Right. Interesting. Now the World Health Organization is suggesting caution when it comes to assuming that COVID-19 survivors are immune for any particular length of time.

[03:09:57]

What studies are currently underway to try to determine the immunity of survivors, and what might the ramifications be for any future vaccine if we find that immunity is short-lived?

HEYMANN: Well, there are several what are called cohorts or groups people who have had infections then positive on the PCR testing that tells they have the virus present. And then a few weeks later, they either develop signs and symptoms where they are followed up with testing and found to be positive again with the virus.

Those studies are trying to determine whether this is a reinfection, or whether this is just a recrudescence of a previous infection that wasn't completely cured. Those studies are going on in many countries, in South Korea, and in many countries in Europe and North America.

CHURCH: And I did want to ask you this. Because we are now learning that India plans to make a COVID-19 vaccine that's been -- or manufactured, I should say, that's been developed by Oxford University. The problem is of course that Oxford has only just started human trials. So, what's your reaction to the Serum Institute of India mass

producing this vaccine before we know that it actually works or is safe?

HEYMANN: Well, as you know, it's really not clear that a vaccine can be developed that would effective in preventing this infection. But if it is there would be a need for massive production capacity. And many countries are considering how to do that, but there is also a caveat with that when a country does produce vaccines.

There are many times national laws which say that that vaccine must first be used in the country where it's produced and satisfied demand in that country before it goes out further.

So, if Serum Institute is developing vaccines, hopefully there are agreements that if that vaccine is effective and then developed within India and produced in India it can be exported to other countries.

CHURCH: Right. OK. But they are actually using the coding from Oxford University for that. But we shall continue to watch that. David Heymann, thank you so much for talking with us. I appreciate it.

Well, while scientists are busy trying to understand how COVID-19 got started, conspiracy theorists are busy making things up. A baseless accusation has made the lives of one couple a living nightmare.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAATJE BENASSI, U.S. ARMY RESERVIST: It's like waking up from a bad dream going into a nightmare, like day after day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: This is Maatje Benassi. She and her husband Matt are the center of an elaborate conspiracy theory promoted by George Web.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WEBB, CONSPIRACY THEORIST: This goes back to our story here, which is patient zero which is Maatje Benassi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'SULLIVAN: He is a conspiracy theorist who has nearly 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. He falsely claims without evidence that Maatje brought the virus to China during a cycling competition.

Maatje is in the U.S. Army reserve, and last year October she competed in the military World Games in Wuhan, China. Six months later, comments under Webb's YouTube videos about the Benassi's have become the stuff of nightmares.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATT BENASSI, MAATJE BENASSI'S HUSBAND: Execute them by firing squad, we need to be killing these key people. These people will get a bullet to the skull.

WEBB: This is March 20th here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'SULLIVAN: The conspiracy theory has even reached China where that's been featured in media controlled by the Chinese Communist Party which sorted to deflect blame for the coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. BENASSI: We've gone to law enforcement. But because they are not direct threats there's not a lot that they can actually do. But for folks like us, it's just too expensive to litigate something like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'SULLIVAN: Could you talk me through the specific evidence you have that she is as you described the coronavirus patient zero.

WEBB: Yes. Well, I have to -- there's a lot of circumstantial evidence and then there's a source here that I cannot reveal.

O'SULLIVAN: So, specifically on this Maatje Benassi, how do you know that she has the coronavirus or has antibodies or how do you know that for sure?

WEBB: Well, I have a source at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and she actually works that or I have someone saying that she works at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and she tested positive for the coronavirus.

O'SULLIVAN: She denies that.

WEBB: She denies that? Did she deny that she works at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital?

O'SULLIVAN: She denies that she's had the coronavirus, that she had any symptoms of the coronavirus.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'SULLIVAN: A YouTube spokesperson told CNN the company is committed to promoting accurate information about the coronavirus and taking down misinformation when it's flagged by users. YouTube took down some threatening comments under Webb's videos after CNN asked about them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:15:00] M. BENASSI: A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer, dealing with that situation is way easier than trying to deal with this George Webb situation.

MAATJE BENASSI: It's getting out of hand, and it needs to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Donie O'Sullivan with that report.

And still to come, preaching patience. Britain's prime minister is back on the job after a severe case of coronavirus. And he is warning the U.K. don't expect the lockdown to end anytime soon.

Back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: That's opera singer Phoebe Haines performing from a balcony during lockdown in London. And that lockdown in the U.K. is going to last a while longer.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday the danger is still too high to relax the restrictions. He knows all about that danger firsthand, of course. Monday was his first day back on the job after recovering from a serious case of COVID-19 which put him in intensive care for several days. And he warns reopening too soon could cause a second wave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I ask you to contain your impatience because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict. And in spite of all the suffering, we have so nearly succeeded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: The government will take another look at its lockdown measures on May 7th.

And CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Nick. So how are people across the U.K. responding to the prime minister's decision to stay the course and avoid any temptation to lift restrictions any time soon.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: There have been indications in the past days that perhaps we are seeing more people out on the streets an increased desire for people to try and get back to their normal life.

Remember, the U.K. for about four to five weeks now has been under serious restrictions on movement and employment attendance since World War II. But Boris Johnson's message there, a man looking little more tousle, a little thinner, more gaunt than usual after his battle with COVID-19 was to try and use his personal experience to tell people to continue to adhere to these measures for the next 10 days, certainly at least until that May 7th review.

[03:19:53]

Now some of the media here already beginning to try and tease out or speculate or use anonymous sources to suggest the possible easing of how restrictions may occur in the weeks ahead here.

And it's a mix picture for the United Kingdom because they are seeing, possibly a reflection of the lower reporting over the weekend. In the last few days, the number of deaths reported in hospital in 24 hours to be in the mid-300 or so. That's significantly less than the peak of 900 plus, awful still for every family involve.

But at the same time, a suggestion that perhaps one of the five test the government have to pass, the number of people dying or the number of people infected is being to edge in the correct direction.

Boris Johnson, though, was saying this was the time of, quote, "maximum risk." And urging people to continue with their patience. He did also point out the risk to their economy too being felt in every country around the world going through a lockdown under big balance between keeping people healthy, and able to contribute to their economy whilst allowing their economy to deteriorate so much, that it can't actually fund the health service, which in the U.K. is funded by the taxpayer.

And then in almost complicated questions for politicians to ask. Boris Johnson, himself, still probably dealing with some elements of residual symptoms too given his age and the severity of the disease he had. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. No doubt. And of course, he seems a changed man as a result of it. But I did want to ask you what the current situation is across the U.K. when it comes to COVID-19 testing. Because of course, the more testing, the greater likelihood of being able to let people out of their homes. So, what is the situation with that, and any contact tracing?

WALSH: No for the contact tracing at this point. The government has launched a scheme, wants to get thousands of people involved, potentially in assisting in contact tracing. At the same time, they launched an ambitious, well, for the U.K, ambitious target of 100,000 daily tests by the end of this month.

It looks very unlikely they'll get to that. Thirty-seven thousand test done on Sunday. They suggest possibly they may be about 50,000 tests at this point because they have capacity but they just can't with the time like necessary to share the numbers. It was their own target so they are fair enough being held to it. It looks unlikely they'll make it in full.

But also, you have to remember, Rosemary, testing in of itself despite being a key mantra the WHO have put out doesn't fix the problem. You can't test millions of people daily. People can still pass the disease amongst themselves. What it does enable them to do is to be sure that health workers who

are positive can look after themselves and not spread the disease further, and at the same time enable to find out who has it and therefore can be taken out of social interaction for a period of time.

The U.K. though, was initially not that keen for its own scientific and medical reasons on testing. It since had to get on board kind of the international bandwagon, so to speak, of testing. It's significantly late to that.

And the real question, I think for the U.K. moving forward is exactly how does that play into the strategy of releasing people back into broader circulation again, is that staggered of the vulnerable kept aside? And what role can antibody testing and testing for the virus play in all of that given the reduced capacity the United Kingdom has. And it's increasingly burning desire to get life back to as close to normal as it possibly can. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. We have really seen a shift in approach, haven't we, from the very start of this to where we are today have. Nick Paton Walsh, bringing us the very latest live from London. Many thanks.

While the U.K. warns of the dangers of reopening, other countries in Europe are starting to ease restrictions.

Let's get to our reporters now beginning with CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Germany.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Germany most people are now required to wear face masks when going into a lot of public places. Now in most of the country that means when using public transport but also when going into stores.

However, in some parts of Germany, there are some exceptions. Because this country has a lot of federalism exactly like the United States. All this comes after Angela Merkel has warned that Germany risks squandering some of the gains that have been made in combatting the coronavirus crisis.

However, the Germans are also saying that the number of new infections continue to decline, but Angela Merkel says that they do risk a new spike in cases if the Germans don't continue to adhere to social distancing measures.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Potsdam, Germany.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Spain, kids are getting their first taste of freedom after six weeks of being trapped inside. Since this lockdown began, adults have been able to go to the store, the pharmacy, or in some cases, even their jobs. Kids though, have been the one demographic with virtually no reason to go out at all.

Today is the second day that they've been able to go outside and play in the street for an hour a day with a parent provided that they stay clear of their neighbors. Parks and playgrounds though, are still closed.

This small bit of freedom for children is being floated as a sort of trial balloon to see how quickly Spain can further loosen its restrictions. Tomorrow the government will release its roadmap on how to lift restrictions over the next couple of months.

[03:25:04]

Some regions with fewer cases will be able to restart their economy sooner, though nothing is likely to happen quickly.

Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Italy, the prime minister has announced that one week from today the coronavirus lockdown will start to ease, starting off with the resumption of construction and manufacturing, also the resumption of funerals which have been banned since the 12th of March.

There will be restrictions however, only 15 mourners per funeral, and given that around 27,000 people in Italy have died from coronavirus, it's expected that the churches are going to be very busy.

Now if the numbers don't surge from the virus, there will be also gradual easing, with perhaps on the 1st of June, bars and restaurants reopening but with severe restrictions.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.

CHURCH: Meanwhile, in Russia a spokesman for the Kremlin says predicting when the country's lockdown will end is like taking a shot in the dark. Arguing it's too early to make that call. With nearly 90,000 cases nationwide, President Vladimir Putin is meeting with regional governors Tuesday to discuss the spread of the virus.

And CNN's Matthew Chance is live with us now. Good to see you, Matthew. So, with nearly 90,000 cases and the death toll nearing 800, how reliable are those numbers, and over all, how is Russia dealing with this pandemic?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of numbers Rosemary, I think from the outset there's been a high degree of skepticism when it comes to dealing with these figures as announced by Russian officials. I mean, part of the problem is it's the world's biggest country and gathering statistics from its disparate region is logistically quite difficult.

But also, there's been a sense that the authorities may have been sort of curbing the numbers that they actually put out there publicly because they're concerned at the impact that could have.

But just look at those figures, 80,000 or more, nearly 90,000 in fact that they said in the latest casualty figure estimates it's the number of people have been confirmed as having COVID-19. Nine hundred deaths. I mean, compare that to a country like Britain which has a much smaller population than Russia, and there are over 21,000 deaths so far.

And so, I think when it comes to the final reckoning, the death toll and the number of people who had the virus in Russia is bound to be much higher. In terms of how Russia has been handling the response, well, officially, the Russian government say they are in control of the situation, but anecdotally you get a much different situation, much different picture emerged.

You've even had medical staff appearing on social media complaining about the lack of PPE, personal protective equipment, complaining about, you know, salaries or bonuses not being paid, and you know, various reports coming out on Russian media, national media, and regional media, talking about the sort of crisis and the extent of it in those various, sort of isolated regions.

In terms of, for instance, hospitals being isolated and lockdown because the staff and the patients have, you know, largely got infections there and they had to close off certain hospitals in the country because of the infection rate in those actual buildings.

And so, look, I mean, the Russians like everyone else are struggling with this pandemic. And it's probably too early to tell yet how they're coping.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Our Matthew Chance bringing us the latest on what's happening in Russia from his vantage point there in London. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, the surveillance state takes it to a new level. Big brother works overtime in China with eyes on those who might carry the coronavirus. We'll explain after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone, well the Chinese city of Wuhan was the first city in the world to go into a coronavirus lockdown, now things are slowly returning to normal, but it's not exactly business as usual. CNN's David Culver, left Wuhan just as that lockdown was beginning, and he has since returned to the city, to show us what it's like now

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tuesday April 21st, and after about I guess it's about two and a half months, we are leaving Shanghai.

Our journey back to the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak required weeks of planning, while within China, some cities are easing travel restrictions, new hotspots can suddenly surface and so to new lockdowns, which could trap us mid-travel for an unknown amount of time. But all layered up, and we felt that this was the moment to return.

And this is our ticket here. It might reverse but, you could see it take a picture you can see it our destination, is set for Wuhan. It's going to be about a four hour train ride. You would notice it's relatively full so far, let's say at least, pretty half-full, which is pretty significant given it is next to no one travelling for several weeks. Let's get on board here.

On board the train attendants collect our passports, they try to place CNN photo journalist Justin Robertson's accent.

JUSTIN ROBERTSON, CNN PHOTO JOURNALIST: I am from London. I'm from London.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: London?

ROBERTSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do not know?

CULVER: It is not just friendly conversation, because they want to be sure that we've been in the country for at least two weeks, so that we are not potentially importing the virus from other areas. The threat to China now, thought to be external.

Arriving in Wuhan, I'm quickly reminded of the last time we were here, almost three months to the day, we've spent just 29 hours on the ground, when we abruptly learned that Wuhan was going on lockdown, CNN share that scramble out of Wuhan with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check out sparked by 3:00 am phone call,

CULVER: We are rushing right now to check out, get out.

We headed to the train station as soon as we got word.

As we arrived crowds already lined up for tickets, stretching out the door.

4:15 in the morning here, and the only way to buy a ticket at this hour, is in person.

From there it was off to a Beijing hotel, quarantining before the rest of the world realized, you would soon be doing the same, 14 days in a hotel room, to make sure we did not contracted the virus, we continued our live reporting from quarantine, and then relocated to Shanghai. Here we were three months later, headed back to Wuhan.

The lockdown was over, but the hesitation remains. As we interviewed an American who is lived Wuhan since 2009, we also experience the increase skepticism towards foreigners like us, and the growing distrust of western media. A crowd of police questioning us.

What did he say?

Oh you speak English.

I'm from the U.S., but I live in Beijing. It was not our only interaction with authorities, when we return to

what some Chinese scientist believed to be the source of the outbreak. Wuhanans see food market and started recording police step out the nearby tent, asked us why we were there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just be quick.

CULVER: Perhaps the most sensitive spot on our visit, this funeral home and crematorium. Normally you do not find police posted outside. But last month, Chinese media published a report claiming more urns were distributed, then reported coronavirus deaths. Calling into question the official figures, we want to investigate. But even as we were across the street, police quickly approached us.

[03:35:20]

We just attempted, to go to one of the funeral homes, and hopes of seeing some of the grieving families, and hearing from them, their perspective of what transpired, over the course of the lockdown, and losing their love down love ones, as we were there the police did not like that we were there, they happen to be positioned right outside, held us there for a little bit, didn't let us leave, and then finally after a few minutes, we were able to continue on our way.

Given that many medical experts believe the virus transmitted from wildlife to humans, we wanted to go to another Wuhan wet market to see what they were selling.

You know in the China market serves like this all across China. This actually a pretty normal one. You've got a bag full toads, some fish on a chopping block over there. No wildlife here, but some snakes, lots of frozen poultry, along with an array of fresh vegetable and spices, all under the same roof.

Scenes like this appear to show the city of 11 plus million plus residents coming back to life, folks enjoying a game of badminton, or just soaking in the stillness, knowing that after weeks sealed inside your home this is a luxury after and while many of the business here remains close, the ones that have reopened are changing up the way they re-operate, keeping customers outside, and bringing the products to them. Hotels like ours, spraying down everyone who walks inside with disinfected.

The elevators are mark with a safe social distance, they provided tissue to keep your bare fingers form touching the buttons. All of this as testing for the virus, has become streamlined here. Before we left, we had to get ours done to. An easy appointment to make, a quick throat swab, a 35 dollar fee to expedite the results, and 24 hours later, we were handed the paperwork showing we were negative. And with that we could then safely depart.

A far left less rushed check out this time laving Wuhan, compared to three months ago. You get in the car, headed to the train, or headed to Shanghai.

On the train back, police carefully examining our passports and test results, allowing us to return to Shanghai, without having to do another quarantine. Once again leaving behind Wuhan, as it slowly awakens in this post lockdown era. The people left a bit shell- shocked, navigating this uncertain moment with a cautious optimism.

And the story now finds us here back here in Shanghai, a lot of folks will ask, what life is now like in Wuhan, given that they technically reopen on April 8th. The reality is they are still far from open many businesses still remain closed, by our guest more than half based on what we saw, driving through many of the commercial streets. And a lot of the folks are still hesitant, uncertain about what they believe, might come assuming that could be a second wave. David Culver, CNN Shanghai.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And China already has widespread surveillance to ensure absolute loyalty to the communist party, now some unconfirmed reports, say officials are exploiting the pandemic, to install cameras in the homes of people under quarantine, the country has eight of the 10 most surveilled cities in the world and already controls where people can go where using a digital health code system.

And CNN's digital producer Nectar Gan is following this story for us from Hong Kong, and she joins us now. And Nic you've talked to people who actually had experience with these cameras, what are they saying?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NECTAR GAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Right. So, actually there is no official national announcement stating that you know, cameras must be installed to enforce home quarantine, but we spoke to people who have had experience with the cameras, and one Irish expert living in Beijing, told me that, you know, the morning after he returned to the city from a trip to southern China, he found a camera being installed on a wall right outside his apartment door. And he was just going into a two week quarantine as required by the Beijing government to help stop the spread of the virus. And he said wasn't warned about it, and community workers just showed up at this front door and install the camera.

And he said, he felt it was a huge erosion of privacy on to him. So we've spoken to several people and also on social media, people have been talking about it, and posting photos on surveillance cameras being installed on their front doors or the doors of their neighbors, but they are also people who told us cameras have been installed inside their home. There is this Chinese resident in the city of (inaudible), who said, on the first day of his home quarantine, a police officer and a community worker came to his apartment to install a surveillance camera pointing at his front door.

[03:40:10]

But from cabinet wall, from inside his apartment. He really didn't like the idea and he tried to protest, he tried to complain to the mayor's hotline, but officials only tell him to please understand and cooperate the epidemic control measure. So, in the end he had to live with a camera in his living room for two

weeks, during the time he was under home quarantine. And he said he had taken a huge psychological impact on him. He said, he couldn't stop worrying about the camera, even when he try to go to sleep in his bedroom with the door shut. He also tried to minimize pause, because he was just really afraid that, you know, his conversation will be recorded, recorded at the camera.

And in the end, after he finished his two week quarantine community workers came to his house to put the camera down and said, well, you can have this as a free as a souvenir. But the resident is so angry about having to live under stage for two weeks. And he took out a hammer and smashed the device in front of the community workers.

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CHURCH: Extraordinary measures taken in China, hearing that from Nectar Gan in Hong Kong, many thanks to you for sharing those experiences that they've shared with you. I appreciate it.

With lockdowns, and stay-at-home orders in place, many people are turning to the internet to shop. Online shopping is soaring especially in places, like high tech South Korea, Paula Hancocks has our report.

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PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Staying at home's means shopping from home, something South Koreans have done for years. There is no panic buying, no empty shelves. People here know they can get what they need online delivered within hours or at least the next day. Coupang, it's the largest e-commerce platform in Korea, it soar it's next day delivery orders jump from just over two million to 3.3 million a day when the coronavirus hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw surge of demand across all categories, of course, you would imagine fresh products, milk, eggs, basic necessities surge more in the short term. The equipment to work from home, educational toys for the children.

HANCOCKS: South Korea has plenty of options to choose from when it comes to e-commerce. A recent study says last year alone 2.7 billion parcels were delivered, maybe not that surprising for a country where nine out of 10 people on a smartphone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mobile and internet infrastructure that existed, and the ease with which customers were able to access technology. By the way, it's not just e-commerce, when you think about educational, you know, classes online or just consuming media and other services online.

HANCOCKS: In some way, South Korea has been setting itself up for social distancing for years. This is how a lot of people shop here, myself included. And for the customer, at least, it means that from start to finish there is zero contact with another human being.

Delivery men and women are being praise for being on the front line, allowing people to stay home and social distance. Coupang says, even before the virus it was delivering 1,200 products to customers every minute. Delivery man leaving a package outside the front door, a photo and a text to let you know it has arrived, a faceless hero of the crisis.

Do you feel like a hero?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

HANCOCKS: It's hard to know if this increased demand will stay once the crisis subsides, but it is clear the e-commerce industry made social distancing in South Korea a lot easier. Paula Hancocks, CNN, South Korea.

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CHURCH: While the U.S. President, is making cryptic comments, about the health of North Korea's leader. Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public for more than two weeks. And President Trump indicated, no one knows where he is, last week the U.S. was monitoring intelligence, suggesting Kim was in grave danger after surgery, and here is what President Trump had to say when asked about his absence.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Kim Jong-un, I cannot tell you, exactly, yes I do have a very good idea, but I can't talk about it right now. I just wish him well, I've had a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un, if I weren't president, you'd be in war, you would have been in war with Korea, you'd be in war with North Korea if I wasn't president, that I can tell you. He expected that. That I can tell you, I hope he is fine, I do know how he is doing, relatively speaking, we will see you probably be hearing in to the not too distance future.

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[03:45:00]

CHURCH: Meanwhile, North Korean state media, has published two messages, since Sunday that it claims are from Kim Jong-un. Well, much more still ahead on CNN Newsroom, an economic crisis in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Protesters in Lebanon, to fight a ban on large gatherings to speak out against soaring prices and growing poverty. That's straight ahead right after this short break.

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CHURCH: Protest erupted in several cities in Lebanon on Monday despite government restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus. Look closely and you will see a wall of burning tires blocking the road there. Clashes with security forces broke out in some areas, Protesters are furious over Lebanon's financial crisis. Prices for basic goods, are soaring, even as the value of the currency continues its month's long decline. Well, the economic outlook for the entire region is bleak with the

collapse in the oil market. U.S. crude prices plunge below $11 a barrel in trading today in Asia, investors aren't looking to buy, when storage capacity is running out and demand remains low. With more on how this is impacting the Middle East region, we turn to John Defterios, who joins us live from Abu Dhabi. Always good to see you John.

So the focus has been on the U.S. oil sell off, but where you are in the Middle East, 10 to $20, clearly doesn't help those states like Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, the major producers, what is the danger with all of this?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, this is an entire region, Rosemary that does benefit from higher prices of oil, particularly from $80 to $100 range. Everybody benefit, but it's the exact opposite in this case, of course, as you suggested below $20 a barrel. We are feeling the pain. Those protest in Lebanon are in part due to this, because the remittances from Lebanese expats, going back into the country dramatically, they used to depend quite heavily on the gulf Arab tourists visiting. Again, down sharply.

Now the International Monetary Fund, a virtual roundtable that I was chairing, put this into perspective for the Middle East oil exporters specifically like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Algeria. They are saying the contraction of 4.2 percent this year. They were supposed to grow 2 to 3 percent, so that's a massive swing.

And a snap back to 4.7 percent in 2021, that seems ambitious. We have a chief economist in the region here and a former minister of economy from Lebanon, on the panel. He is making comparisons to the Arab Spring in 2011, and said this could be much worse. Let's take a listen.

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NASSAR SAIDI, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, NASSAR SAIDI AND ASSOCIATES: This is depression economics. Unfortunately the countries of the region, don't have the automatic stabilizers, they don't have the physical tools. And what we may be heading towards is a vast increase in inequality. A vast increase in poverty, and a lot, I think a lot of social interest, and a lot of political unrest.

[03:50:12]

So this could be the beginning of a second Arab Spring, or Arab firestorm as I pretty sure you call it.

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DEFTERIOS: The new name for the firestone for Nassar Saidi, who is very respected in the region now. He is an economist, as I was noting here. Now the head of the IMF, in the region was suggesting, Rosemary, we have to prepare for round two and round three of the economic falloff, from the coronavirus. And we had this partial reopening, but the demand for airplanes, and trains, and trucks, cars, consumer spending, is just not clear, so obviously it's keeping a cap or pushing oil prices even lower at this stage.

CHURCH: Yes. It is incredible isn't it to witness it, right? So why do we continue to see such price fallout in U.S. crude, despite the efforts by the Trump administration to stabilize the situation.

DEFTERIOS: Well in fact, we do not have the final definition of that support from the Trump administration, we are even taking equity stakes of the small and mid-sized producers which is incredibly radical. President Trump is very proud of this 13 barrels a day of production, that's going to drop 2-3 million. And the reality which we just have so much oil on the market in the United States was so little demand and no storage. You talked about it in your lead, and Rosemary you could run out of surges from three to four weeks. And in fact there's what 80 super tankers around the world, carrying about 2 million barrels each, being used for storage is outrageous that we are at this stage right now. But that's why we see it and we even had exchange traded funds in the states that don't want to hold the U.S benchmark at all.

CHURCH: All right, John Defterios, always great to chat with you. I appreciate it. And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, New Zealand begins to ease its lockdown, with hundreds of people enjoying their newfound freedom. That is a hint as to what they're doing.

Plus, a Broadway tribute, like no other.

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(MERYL STREEP SINGING)

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CHURCH: Actress Meryl Streep and some famous friends give a birthday salute quarantine style to one of the most famous composers in theater, back in a moment.

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CHURCH: In New Zealand, dozens of cars had been seen waiting in line, not for fuel, not for drive-thru coronavirus testing. This is a line for, you guess it, McDonalds. Hundreds of New Zealanders queuing up and camping overnight as fast food chains began to reopen their doors on Tuesday. Really?

Now this comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the coronavirus eliminated in New Zealand and lockdown measures are beginning to ease there, 400,000 New Zealanders were set to return to work, Tuesday as retailers, restaurants, construction site and schools started reopening with some limitations.

But the Prime Minister, has stressed that they're restarting the economy, not everyone social lives. And she warns New Zealand is not out of the woods just yet. CNN Kristie Lu Stout, joins us now from Hong Kong, good to see you, Kristie.

[03:55:04] New Zealand's Prime Minister, showing the rest of us how it's all

done, right. Rather than flattening the curve, her goal was to eliminate the virus, was that the key to Prime Minister Ardern's success?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There are number of keys here, you know, one key was that they move quickly. They also tested widely and crucially, they respected and relied on the advice of scientists and disease experts, and on top of that, New Zealand and its Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are not resting on their (inaudible), in fact earlier today we heard from the Prime Minister, who said that New Zealand is not out of the woods just yet, they're on strict lockdown might have been lifted, but the level four alert has been downgraded to a level three alert.

So, what does that entail? Well, first of all, it means that 75 percent, of the economy will open up, and start operating again, that means 400,000 people will return to work, working alongside the essential workers, who already have been working, that means everyone else, must continue to work from home. Students up to year 10, can return to school, but students on year 10 and above must continue with virtual learning.

As for social gatherings of up to 10 people allowed, but only for weddings and funerals. Domestic travel, is restricted, only essential domestic travel, as for international travel, there is still a ban on international travels who are entering the country, despite these measures, that have had such a negative impact on the economy there, they are still 87 percent approval of (inaudible) of the virus, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Kristie Lu Stout, many thanks. Joining us from Hong Kong. And nearby New Zealand, Australia's famous Bondi Beach in Sydney also reopen, Tuesday. The local surfers, and swimmers, many hitting the waves for the first time in weeks, after the tourist hot spot was closed last month. Australia has more than 6,700 cases, and 83 deaths, as a result of covid-19. The state of New South Wales, has nearly half of the nation's cases, but it is set to relax some restrictions, of movement this week, as are some other states.

And I will be back with more news in just a moment. But first we leave you with Meryl Streep, and her girlfriend, singing and having cocktails, in bathrobes, in honor of Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim, 90th birthday.

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