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South Korea Moving To Re-Open Schools By End Of Month; Jordan Lifts Most Coronavirus Restrictions; Gasoline Demand Fuels Spike In Oil Prices; Russian Police Investigate How Doctors Fell From Windows; Pizzerias Back In Business As Italy Eases Restrictions; U.K. Surpasses Italy's Death Toll; Trump Visits Arizona Without a Mask; Pfizer Starts U.S. Trial of Potential COVID-19 Vaccine; European Countries Easing Restrictions; China Warns Hong Kong Protesters. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired May 6, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, details on new research about the spread of the coronavirus around the world, as the U.K.'s death toll becomes the highest in Europe.
While COVID cases in the United States are still rising, the White House has decided it may be time to disband its Coronavirus Task Force.
And Hong Kong is easing up its restrictions and protesters are planning to head back to the streets. But China already has a stern warning. We'll have a live report.
COREN: A new genetic analysis of the coronavirus shows it's been spreading quickly around the world since late last year. Those findings could dash any hopes of widespread immunity at this stage.
Some experts had hoped the virus may have been spreading quietly for months longer than we knew, infecting more people than reported and giving hope that some populations had already built up immunity.
But researchers in Britain estimate no more than 10 percent of the global population has been exposed to the virus thus far. The news comes as the United Kingdom marks a grim milestone, overtaking Italy's death toll on Tuesday.
Worldwide, only the United States has more deaths than Britain. This is putting greater pressure on Boris Johnson, with members of his government warning of a long road ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We will need to adjust to a new normal where we as a society adapt to safe new ways to work, to travel, to interact, and to go about our daily lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN VAN-TAM, BRITISH DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: This is with us for quite some time, potentially for as long as until we get a vaccine. From that perspective, we have to be really careful and really sure footed. We are just not going to suggest for a moment that any of this should be rushed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is due to face his first prime minister's questions since recovering from the virus. Nina dos Santos is standing by in London for us.
Nina, a great deal of criticism of the government for responding too slowly to the epidemic. The prime minister is expecting a grilling today.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, that's right, albeit in a pared down Parliament. Many MPs will be dialing in remotely, since the lockdown measures were introduced, albeit late, in this country on March 23erd.
The U.K.'s houses of Parliament have been operating with a restricted number of individuals allowed. So don't expect the kind of fiery scenes that we normally see at prime minister's questions time.
Having said that, he will be facing scrutiny about the government's response, which seems to be coming too late and too little and then chaotic at best when it came to securing safety equipment for staff on the front line in the national health system and also for testing as well, which continues to be a thorn in the government's side.
In the meantime, though, as you mentioned in your introduction, there has been this grim milestone that the U.K. has reached, which is in total, the number of deaths exceeding that of the other previously worst-hit European country, which was Italy. The total number in the U.K. now stands as of 5:00 pm local time yesterday evening at 29, 427, versus 29,315 for Italy.
The government was keen to make sure that people realize the comparisons were difficult to make, because different European countries measure COVID deaths differently. And also, Italy's population is smaller than the U.K.
But none of that will be of comfort to the more than 600 people who lost their lives to COVID yesterday in the United Kingdom. The death toll is gradually falling. The government says the country is over the peak. But still, hundreds die in this country every day.
COREN: Nina dos Santos joining us from London, many thanks for the update.
Even as a new model shows a doubling of projected U.S. deaths, the White House Coronavirus Task Force will start to wind down at the end of this month. Senior White House officials say task force members will still be in conversations with governors and industry leaders. That as the model projects 134,000 deaths by August.
COREN: President Donald Trump was asked about the move after he toured a plant in Arizona that is making N-95 masks for health workers. The signs posted at the plant called for masks. The president did not wear one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Can you just explain why is now the time to wind down that task force?
TRUMP: Because we can't keep our country closed for the next five years. You, know you consider might be recurrence. There might be. Most doctors or some doctors, say it will happen. And it will be a flame and we will put the flame out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: In an interview with ABC, Mr. Trump acknowledged the possibility that more people will die as the economy reopens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you believe that's the reality we are facing?
That lives will be lost to reopen the country?
TRUMP: It is possible there will be some, because you won't be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is. But at the same time, you are going to practice social distancing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Nick Watt reports, the push to reopen the U.S. economy is persistent, despite repeated warnings from medical experts.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept, to get back to where you want to be some form of normality? The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost. But the higher the human cost.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At least 42 states have now taken steps towards that some form of normality. Today in Washington State you can fish, hunt and play golf again. In Arizona barbers can open this weekend. Restaurants with distancing can open their doors Monday.
MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D-AZ), PHOENIX: You very shortly will be able to get your nails done here in Arizona. That's not something I would do. I would encourage people, if you can still stay home, please do so.
WATT (voice-over): In California, three counties are defying the governor. Governor Gavin Newsom says some retail can finally reopen Friday after 50 days, but the state's two biggest cities say they might take it slower.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA), LOS ANGELES: Our timing on opening may vary from other parts of the state.
WATT (voice-over): One national model has now near doubled our number of projected deaths to nearly 135,000.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): because now they're factoring in the reopening plans, the faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost.
WATT (voice-over): And we're still waiting on some much needed tools.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We can't resume normal life until we have a vaccine.
WATT (voice-over): Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech just began human trials here in the U.S. of a potential vaccine. But a safe working vaccine is best case still many months away. And some researchers say we'll also need 100,000 contact tracers as we reopen, to keep track of the virus.
CRYSTAL WATSON, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHN HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: We don't do this I believe what we're going to see is large surges and cases large epidemics that may send us back under social distancing measures.
WATT (voice-over): Now, new case counts are dropping in New York.
CUOMO: There's no doubt that we're coming down the mountain.
WATT (voice-over): But they're still putting new precautions in place. 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, the City Subway will stop, the first suspension of 24 hours service in 115 years.
CUOMO: Why? Because they have to be disinfected.
WATT (voice-over): Meatpacking plants across the country have also closed for cleaning after outbreaks. Nearly 800 employees were second at Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it's now reopening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what these plants are having to try and figure out is where do they get to a point where they can say to their employees with confidence? Yes, it is safe for you to return to work.
WATT (voice-over): The president has ordered plants open; the supply chain is suffering. And according to one analyst, one in five Wendy's is now out of fresh beef, no longer serving burgers -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
COREN: Right now according to the World Health Organization, more than 100 vaccine programs are in the works. One has now started human trials in the United States. As Fred Pleitgen reports, if successful, the vaccine could be ready by the end of the year.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A simple injection that some hope could help bring an end to a global pandemic. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announcing today they dosed the first participants in the U.S. with a vaccine candidate in a clinical trial. Twelve study participants in Germany received doses last month. BioNTech CEO saying pre-clinical data showed good results.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UGUR SAHIN, CEO, BIONTECH: We've seen vaccine responses -- we've seen vaccine response at even low dose and they believe that this vaccine responses since we have seen that in different models, will also translate into vaccine responses in human subjects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: The program is BNT162, and it's actually a group of four trial vaccines using what's called an MRNA or a messenger RNA approach, which causes the body to produce a protein that triggers an immune response.
PLEITGEN: Pfizer and BioNTech claim if the certification process go smoothly, they could have millions of doses ready by the end of this year. Hundreds of millions of in 2021. BioNTech's CEO is saying he believes regulators will move fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAHIN: The benefit of a vaccine in a pandemic situation is much, much greater. And therefore, therefore, an approval an authorization of a vaccine in a pandemic situation has to follow other rules than what we have seen in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: But there is a long way to go, and a lot that can go wrong. Pfizer and BioNTech are only two of a flurry of companies and institute trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine ASAP.
The World Health Organization says there are currently more than 100 vaccine candidates under development. Though, only eight have been approved for clinical trials.
The first was an experimental trial vaccine spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health. In the U.K., researchers at the University of Oxford are also in clinical trials with their own vaccine candidate, a chief researcher telling "OUTFRONT" they are hoping to make the vaccine ready for use by fall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN HILL, PROFESSOR OF HUMAN GENETICS, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD: We'll probably enroll as many as 1,000 people into this trial, partly because we use this type of vaccine before for other immunizations, and partly because we believe the safety protocols should be very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: While some of the early indicator seem promising, there are also a lot of experts around the world who warn there probably isn't a quick fix when it comes to a coronavirus vaccine. Many of the candidates currently under development around the world probably won't be ready anytime soon, and many won't be certified at all -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
COREN: Joining us now from London is Clare Wenham. She is an assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics and a political science professor.
Let's start with the research out of Britain, that only 10 percent of the global population has been exposed to coronavirus. That's an incredibly low number, considering the world has been dealing with this now for many months.
What does this mean for the pandemic and for the 90 percent of the population not yet exposed?
CLARE WENHAM, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: That's an interesting question and first of all we have to remember, this is just assumptions. We haven't tested the whole population. We don't know the true burden amongst the population.
But it is showing us and policymakers that we are not over this at all and we need to start thinking seriously about how we are going to live with this in the long term because until we have a vaccine, like your previous guest was talking about, we won't be in a position to go back to life as normal.
We are really only 10 percent population infected at this point.
COREN: We know the pandemic is still raging in the United States and yet President Trump has come out, saying he is going to dismantle the White House task force probably by the end of the month. That, to me, makes no sense.
What was your reaction?
How critical is it to have the nation's top medical experts, like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, talking to the public every day in the midst of this crisis?
WENHAM: When I heard that news, I just sighed. To me it is an absolute mistake to think about bringing down the task force when we are in the midst of this. When we see New York go over the peak, even, then we have no idea what will happen anywhere else. We have no idea what is going to happen when things reopen.
Will we have a second peak, potentially?
So I think it is extremely premature to think about ending any sort of task force. And obviously, you also have to remember that the task force will deal with the longer term consequences, all the millions of people who are unemployed, who have been claiming universal credit.
How are we going to deal with the secondary effects of this outbreak, which are going to be so long-lasting?
COREN: Countries, as we know, are beginning to ease restrictions. Obviously, where you are in the United Kingdom, prime minister Boris Johnson will come out this weekend and announce those measures.
There is obviously a strong desire by everyone to get economies running again, people back to work.
Are you concerned that everyone is jumping the gun too soon on this?
WENHAM: It's a fine balance, right?
I understand that every policymaker, every head of state is making a decision and they aren't doing it lightly and it must be difficult to weigh up. You don't want to be having the economic impact impacting your population.
But you don't want to reopen too soon and risk a secondary wave that overwhelms the health system. And the lockdown would have been in vain.
WENHAM: Economists are saying, from an economic standpoint, it's better to have a longer lockdown the first time rather than have continual cycles of opening up and locking down. It's a very fine balance. People should really be putting people's lives as the number one priority.
COREN: But opening up and locking down, is not that what we are facing in the future, if we reopen too quickly?
And we get second and third waves?
WENHAM: It is but I think the idea is, if we lockdown longer now, then we might avoid those future secondary peaks and we can try and crunch it now. If we look at the countries that have done exceptionally well in this crisis, they have managed to smash the curve. They won't be in this perpetual cycle.
And if any cases emerge which will be travel related cases, they can be rapidly quarantined and isolated and contact traced.
COREN: Social distancing and other protective measures like wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, is that enough to keep the virus at bay in countries that seem to be on top of this pandemic?
WENHAM: We will have to see. Again, we can say we are the best in the world and we can look at what has worked in previous outbreaks and look at countries that are opening up again.
We will start to see, I think, some increases in cases when countries do open up, such as in Hong Kong and Singapore.
But by all intents and purposes, low level social distancing is seeming to work. But we cannot say that as an absolute. It is also being done in conjunction with heavy surveillance, heavy quarantine of anyone arriving in the country, using things like apps to be able to track who has been in contact with whom.
So I don't think you can just say that it is those small efforts on their own.
COREN: You mentioned quarantining passengers from overseas. Obviously, that is something we are doing here in Hong Kong and the government has done an exceptional job getting on top of the pandemic.
It's not something the U.K. is doing. I think the government has come out saying that less than 300 people arriving from overseas have been quarantined.
What do you make of that?
WENHAM: I think it is quite alarming. I think it shows that maybe when the government, the U.K. government, were in the containment phase of the outbreak, they were not really in containment. The only people that were quarantined were those arriving from Wuhan and one plane from the cruise ship in Japan.
So why weren't they quarantining people coming in from Italy or other hotspots at the time?
I think it was maybe the scale of it. I think, in comparison, somewhere like Hong Kong, we simply don't have the structure to be able to identify all passengers coming in from the U.K. and quarantine them in time.
But going forward, when these restrictions are eased, the U.K. will have to think seriously about how it will keep the global grip at once they had and ensure that we have travelers coming in, all the trade in tourism. But this is done in a way which does not risk the public health in the U.K.
COREN: Clare Wenham, great to get your insight on this. Many thanks for joining us from London.
Protests defined Hong Kong last year. Now as the country's coronavirus cases begin to ease, China has a stark warning for those wanting to take back to the streets.
And Disney announces its first theme park to reopen, as well as how it plans to keep the virus away.
COREN: Welcome back.
China has a stark warning for Hong Kong protesters. Quote, "We will not sit idly by."
A statement urged activists to not restart a so-called "political virus." Last year there was a massive movement but so far this year's protests have been smaller and swiftly shut down by police. Ivan Watson covered the months-long protests and joins us now from Hong Kong.
Ivan, we have heard these warnings time and time again.
But does this one seem more ominous?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it sure does. Here, you have had Hong Kong, which has been struggling and largely closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And as it begins to ease up some of those restrictions and now we start to see protesters calling for new rounds of protest, the liaison office from the central government in China has increasingly been asserting itself.
It issued this starkly worded statement, comparing the protesters of last year to a, quote, "political virus" in Hong Kong society and going on to say, quote, "Hong Kong will not be at peace unless the violence is eliminated. The central government will not sit idly by with this destructive and recklessly demented force in place."
We have just heard from the Hong Kong police, that they are issuing a letter of objection to a request from an opposition group to hold the protest on Sunday, May 10th. The police are using the argument that this would be in violation of the prevention of control of disease regulation.
But that is coming as the Hong Kong government is announcing that it is easing some of the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus this Friday. They will be opening up cinemas again and allowing groups of up to eight to gather but still using coronavirus as an excuse to not allow opposition protests.
Then we have to recall, Anna, just a couple weeks ago, April 18th, the authorities here rounded up at least 15 moderate opposition leaders, placed them under arrest for their roles, allegedly, in the protests of last year.
So it does seem that as the threat of the disease seems to subside, the old political fault lines are reemerging here -- Anna.
COREN: Ivan, I was out last week to cover the May Day protests that were called off by protesters at the very last minute. But police were out in the thousands. I get the impression that they are not going to tolerate any social unrest in the weeks and months ahead.
WATSON: Yes, that is the message we are really hearing. And the question of the liaison office behind me and their involvement is basically, Hong Kong was guaranteed a degree of autonomy until the year 2047 after it was handed over from British rule, with the central government in Beijing running foreign affairs and defense matters.
The liaison office has been increasingly asserting that it does have a right to step in when it does come to politics here, claiming that it has this right in the defense of this odd arrangement that has been in place, one country, two systems, whereby there is less censorship in Hong Kong.
And there are democratic freedoms that simply aren't tolerated on the other side of the internal boundary between Hong Kong and the central government in China.
WATSON: A lot of independent observers and pro democracy activists are criticizing the central government and the liaison office for trampling on that division of powers and the autonomy that Hong Kong is supposed to be granted until 2047 -- Anna.
COREN: Ivan Watson, good to see you. Many thanks.
For weeks, the U.S. has been blasting China for the way it managed the coronavirus pandemic. Now it is trying to convince its allies to do the same.
Sources tell CNN President Trump and other senior officials have spoken with dozens of foreign allies about how to collectively address China's response effort. Washington accuses Beijing of deliberately concealing the severity of the crisis early on.
And the secretary of state claims the virus came from a Chinese lab. But a top U.S. general says the evidence is inconclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, USJC CHAIRMAN: Did it come out of the virology lab in Wuhan?
Did it occur in the wet market there in Wuhan?
Did it occur somewhere else?
And the answer to that is, we don't know. And, as mentioned by many people, various agencies, both civilian and U.S. government are looking at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Live now to Beijing. Steven Jiang is with us.
With mounting global pressure on China, no doubt angering Xi Jinping and his government, but is it likely to force China to fall into line and allow a global investigation?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: It doesn't look likely at this point, Anna. You are seeing an increasingly vitriolic campaign from Beijing against top U.S. officials, especially Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, who has claimed the virus came from the Wuhan virology lab.
The reasons for these kinds of increasingly over the top attacks from Beijing is because the stakes here are enormously high for the government and for President Xi Jinping. If Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Trump turned out to be right, imagine the kind of pressure China will be under to be held accountable because of the resulting pandemic that has cost the entire world economically and human lives.
That's why they don't want to be in this position. That's why they are pushing back at U.S. claims and assertion so hard. And in a way the Trump administration is doing their cause a huge disservice by not providing concrete proof so far to prove their point.
As you mentioned, they have not been able to convince their own officials and the intelligence communities of their allies, let alone the international community. That has allowed Beijing to sow doubts and division among different countries and governments.
One thing, for sure, is this kind of tit-for-tat mudslinging between the two governments is only going to get worse as we get closer to the U.S. elections. Already, people are talking about a new Cold War. Some assessments even see a hot war, armed conflict between the world's two biggest powers. That is certainly very unsettling.
If there was a decoupling process between the two governments that already started before the pandemic, it now looks increasingly like a very messy breakup with real world consequences, not only for people in both countries but the rest of the world as well -- Anna.
COREN: Steven Jiang joining us from Beijing, many thanks.
South Korea is moving to reopen schools. When and the measures they are taking to keep classrooms safe.
Plus, getting back to normal in Jordan. After some of the tightest lockdown measures in the world, we will have a live update.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic, is taking another step toward normality. Officials say they are reopening more than 100 schools across the region. They expect nearly 60,000 students to return to class after spending months under lockdown. China claims to have the outbreak under control and has not reported a single death from the virus in three weeks.
As South Korean coronavirus cases slows, schools are gearing up to open classrooms again. The country's Education Minister announcing students will gradually return on May 13th, with high school students taking first priority. Meanwhile, over 70 South Korean universities are also planning to offer in-person classes this month. Well, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong. This hour, Kristie, there must have been a collective sigh of relief from parents who've been homeschooling their children since January. You'd have to say this is a strong sign that authorities in this country are on top of this pandemic.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a strong sign of confidence and it is finally a positive milestone in the ongoing brutal saga that is the coronavirus pandemic. Schools here across the Asia Pacific region have been closed since January. And they are finally starting to reopen, including places like here in Hong Kong, and I have to tell you, parents are ready, students are ready, teachers, administrators are ready for this, but the city is ready, as well.
Just yesterday, we heard from Carrie Lam, she announced that Hong Kong has announced 16 consecutive days of zero local infection. Status-wise schools are reopening here in Hong Kong. It's going to begin May the 27th. But it's going to happen in stages, starting first with the upper secondary students and then with the primary students, their duty to work return to school in June.
Now in Vietnam, elsewhere on Monday, students are already on campus. In fact, according to Vietnamese state media, some 22 million students returned to school on Monday across Vietnam, ending about three months of school closures there. We're also monitoring the reopening of schools elsewhere in the region. In South Korea, schools will be reopening from May the 13th. That's also going to be done in a stage process with secondary students returning, then the primary students.
Singapore, schools are going to reopen there on May the 19th. In Thailand, we understand the schools will reopen there in July. And meanwhile, in Japan, it's kind of a mixed picture, where you have the major cities there like Tokyo and Osaka schools likely to remain closed there until the end of this month of May. You have the government they're really taking a wait and see approach.
Now, meanwhile, today, May 6th in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of pandemic. This day is a very critical day for students there because the most senior secondary students will be able to return to the classroom today. And they'll be able to do that study the critical, pivotal and punishing Gaokao college entrance exam. So, they'll finally be able to do that next to their peers who they haven't seen in months. Anna? COREN: Yes, I bet you they can't wait to get back to the classroom. Kristie Lu Stout, as always lovely to see you, many thanks. Well, the streets of Jordan are coming back to life after the government lifted most Coronavirus restrictions. Jordan had some of the toughest lockdown measures in the world. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh often covers Jordan for us, but right now, she's in Hereford, England. Jomana, you are across this story. Jordan like other countries, obviously desperate to kickstart its economy, but there will also concerns about social unrest erupting there due to the economic impact. Tell us more.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anna, so many countries around the world found themselves in a very tough position when this outbreak happened. How did they deal with this? What do they do with the economy?
And Jordan was one of those countries. And officials there tell you back in March, they were looking at different plans. They were looking at other countries, what other countries were doing. And you know, some of the plans that they considered, they said would have resulted in about hundreds of cases every single day, about 2,000 deaths by now. So, they opted for the harshest, one of the strictest lockdowns, some of the strictest measures in the world to try and suppress the outbreak. You know, the lockdown was so strict at one point, Anna, people were not allowed to leave their homes for a few days under any circumstances. You have the military on the streets, the country still under an emergency law.
And now, officials are saying they are seeing how this has been successful. This country about 10 million people has 465 confirmed cases and nine deaths. Over the past eight days, they have recorded no new cases in the country. And so, they believe that they have succeeded in this first phase, they know that the battle is not over. The risk is still high of a second wave. They say that is why they're keeping some of the restrictions in place like a nighttime curfew and serious social distancing measures as much as they can enforced them when people go back to work this week.
But they are, of course, very concerned about what comes next, Anna, as you mentioned, the economic fallout from this pandemic and the lockdown that ensued, they could not keep the country shut -- its economy shut any longer because, as you know, countries like Jordan, their economies are already struggling, the country is already under IMF austerity measures. And we have seen over the past couple of years, protests taking place in Jordan over the living conditions. So, the government, in a very tough position, they have had to reopen now, the risks are still high. But they are hoping that they're going to be able to have it under control now that they have suppressed this outbreak, Anna.
COREN: Yes, obviously, Jomana, with reopening the economy, there's always the threat of a second wave or it preempting the second wave, or authorities are prepared for what may lie ahead in the months to come. KARADSHEH: They believe that they have been very successful, Anna, in their methods. It's not just the lockdown. It's what they have had in place in terms of the health measures. They've had a very strict quarantine. The country is still blocked off. You can't fly into Jordan, for example, yesterday, they repatriated thousands of Jordanians from different countries. They are going into a really strict quarantine, two weeks in government facilities. And following that, they are going to be in self-quarantine. They're going to be monitored. They're not allowed to leave their homes for a certain period of time.
And other measures that have been put in place, you've got this aggressive contact tracing that they have had their medical teams doing. They have blocked off entire cities at times when it comes to contact tracing. And also random testing. They have tried to do this as much as possible. Of course, having enough testing kits for a country like Jordan has been a challenge, but they have still tried to do as much as they can in terms of random testing to make sure that they haven't missed it anywhere. The risks are still high, but again, they say they just can't afford to keep the country shut down any longer. But they're hoping that what they have done so far will allow them to keep this under control, Anna.
COREN: Jomana Karadsheh joining us from Hereford, England, many thanks. Working conditions for Russian doctors are under scrutiny after several of them died while fighting the pandemic, what officials are and are not saying about their mysterious deaths.
COREN: A massive fire has engulfed the residential high rise in the UAE. The flames tore through the Abbco Tower in Sharjah Tuesday evening. The cause of the fire is unclear and the seven minor injuries have been reported.
The U.S. jobs report comes out Friday, and it's expected to be the worst in decades. President Trump's senior economic advisor spoke with CNN's Poppy Harlow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: My guess right now is it's just going to be north of 16 percent, maybe as high as 19 or 20 percent.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Worse. Wow.
HASSETT: And so, we are looking at probably the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression.
HARLOW: Wow. Well, then --
HASSETT: It's a tremendous negative shock, a very, very terrible shock. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Kevin Hassett initially expected the right to hit 20 percent in June, but he revised his prediction after 30 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last month. The oil market is showing signs of new life as the demand for gasoline rises. U.S. crude jumped 20 percent on Tuesday. Our John Defterios joins us live from Abu Dhabi with more. And John, as we know, the oil price has been extremely volatile since March, these 20 percent jump, I mean, it's offered a low base. It still has a long way to go.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: A long way to go from where we were in January, Anna, that is for certain, because we were above $60.00 a barrel, the international benchmark close to 70. But literally, we've gone from zero on April 20th to where we are today. Let's take a look at the gauge. We're over $24.00 a barrel for the U.S. benchmark. And this is where the big concern is. And that's why I mentioned it first because of the glut that's in Oklahoma, and Texas. The international benchmark even crossed over $31.00 a barrel. It was enough for Donald Trump to kind of weigh in saying that he likes to see oil prices rising again, along with the demand. He doesn't like them too hot because that makes petrol prices very high. But petrol demand has gone up 20 percent in the last month alone in the United States, and that's why he was excited.
But the chief executive officer of the largest commodity trading group in the world, Vitol, was suggesting this could be somewhat like a head fake that you'd get this recovery. And then we could go sharply lower. You talk about the unemployment figures that we see in the United States, that could climb to 50 million people by the end of June, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve in the worst case scenario. So, this is going to be a very fits and start nature to this supply and demand that we see today.
And even in the region, Anna, here in Saudi Arabia, their Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and his cabinet, particularly the Minister of Finance is guiding people to lower spending in the future. They're even looking at private sector salary cuts of 40 percent in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps layoffs if the pandemic continues. There was concern in the last few days that the reserves there, the foreign exchange reserves of Saudi Arabia dropped to $465 billion from $750 billion, six years ago. They've been spending to diversify, but with the oil revenues where they are now, they have to slow that process down. Let's put it that way.
COREN: John, from oil to entertainment, we heard from the CEO of Disney saying that quarterly profits dropped by more than 90 percent, and that was for a period only partly affected by Coronavirus. What does this mean for the Magic Kingdom?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I'm glad that you talked about that partly because they had the shutter their entertainment theme parks in mid-March. So, the second quarter could be much worse. And as you suggested here, the Coronavirus has been extremely costly if you put it that way. $1.4 billion is the number they put on it. They're going to open up Shanghai here, but it's going to be the new normal because it'll be fewer crowds and the social distancing, so it'll be a good test for the other theme parks around the world.
Disney, Anna, at the same time, invested heavily on its online digital platform, Disney+ and picked up 54 million subscribers. That's a big jump. It competes against Netflix. However, they spent a lot of money in the process. We don't have to look very far for trouble every segment of the economy. Airbnb laid off 25 percent of its employees, United Airlines 30 percent of the white collar and administrative workers right now. (INAUDIBLE) is going to need a bailout. J.Crew, the retailer, went bankrupt in the last few days. This is going to be much longer and more pronounced than people are thinking at this stage even though people are happy that things are opening up. The consumer is on a spending bust right now if you will.
COREN: John Defterios, as always, great to get your insight and take. Many thanks.
COREN: Ecommerce giant Amazon says a warehouse worker in Staten Island, New York has died from COVID-19. The company says it is deeply saddened by the loss and promise to support the workers colleagues. A different employee from that warehouse made headlines back in March. He was fired after you protested the company's response to the pandemic. Amazon says it terminated him for violating a quarantine. Russia has the seventh highest number of Coronavirus cases in the world with more than 150,000, but as medical staff battle the pandemic, questions arising about their working conditions. And as CNN's Matthew Chance reports, police are investigating several incidents where doctors died after falling out of hospital windows.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Behind the face masks, two stressed out Russian doctors struggling in this country's Coronavirus pandemic. We haven't got enough protection gear, the one on the right complains on social media. Now, he says Russian police are accusing him of spreading fake news. The other doctor says he's tested positive for Coronavirus that was forced to work anyway. Now, he's fighting for his life after falling mysteriously from a hospital window.
This was him, Alexander Shulepov, shortly before his unexpected plunge with a video statement completely retracting his allegations of mistreatment. I was just overwhelmed with emotion, he explains and scared of my condition. But of course, I was taken off shift and didn't treat any other patients. Now, he's dealing with severe head injuries and can say no more. But he's not the only Russian doctor recently silenced by a suspicious window fall. In fact, he's the third.
Early this month, the acting head of this hospital in Siberia, died after plunging out of a window during a meeting with health officials. Local television reported she opposed plans to convert a hospital into a Coronavirus facility citing lack of protective gear and asked the colleague what happened. It's all very strange, he says. She was a kind woman, maybe with all this Coronavirus, they pressured her with requirements, he suggests. Do this, do that. One Russian Doctor who knows about the current pressure is Anastasia Vasilieva head of a doctor's union who's become an outspoken critic of Russia's Coronavirus response, accusing the Kremlin of underplaying the pandemic.
This is her being manhandled and arrested last month trying to deliver protective equipment. She says the strange case of the three Russian doctors in suspicious window falls, including another last month who worked at the main Cosmonaut Training Center is more about psychological stress on frontline staff than any sinister plot to silence critics.
ANASTASIA VASILIEVA, DOCTOR'S ALLIANCE: No, I don't think that was somebody targeting doctors, no. Their destruction of our healthcare system. And of course, this means that it's very difficult to treat in such conditions a lot of patients with Coronavirus.
CHANCE: We've seen the strain on Russian medical staff already, like these workers with Coronavirus symptoms in southern Russia crammed into a laundry cupboard with no space on the wards. Elsewhere complaints abound of shifts lasting days or 10-hour waits in ambulances to admit patients.
Russia may not be murdering its doctors, but the pressures of its pandemic could be what's really killing them. Matthew Chance, CNN.
COREN: After nearly two months of a harsh lockdown, pizza is back on the menu in its first place of Naples, Italy. How it's restoring hope to the region, that's next. And even though he can't go to a soccer match in person, when Syrian boys finding new ways to enjoy his favorite game.
COREN: Welcome back. Well, ovens firing up again in Naples, Italy, as the birthplace of pizza is back in business. The country is continuing to ease its restrictions allowing restaurants to reopen and offer to- go orders. CNN's Ben Wedeman has this report.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dario is busy, busier than he's been in more than 50 days. Monday, at least nationwide lockdown was eased. And L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele is now back in business, but only for takeaway and home delivery.
A year ago, the restaurant would be full and there'd been maybe 20 people waiting outside, Dario tells me. It was hear that Julia Roberts ate pizza in "Eat, Pray, Love," but today, she'd have to do her eating outside. This pizzeria opened 150 years ago. In that time, it stayed open during a cholera epidemic and the entire second World War. It only shut its doors when Coronavirus came to town.
Elsewhere in Italy, pizzerias continued to provide home delivery. But the no-nonsense governor of the Campania region, where Naples is located, wasn't willing to take risks in this relatively poor crowded city and ordered all pizzerias to close.
He famously threatened to send police with flamethrowers if students gathered for graduation parties. That fortunately never happened, and the outbreak here has been mild. Now, Napolitani (PH) can be reunited with their beloved pizza, which local lore insists was invented here. Giuliano (PH) and Francesca (PH) got by on homemade pizza during the lockdown, but it just wasn't the same.
For us, Napolitani pali to go without pizza for this long is almost impossible, says Giuliano. Bruno is happy to get his pizza again, but worries people, especially the young, are letting down their guard. Everyone is together, he says, it's more dangerous now than a month ago as far as I'm concerned. But the pizza's getting cold, so goodbye. This pizzeria has been in the same family for five generations. Closure in the high cost.
It was depressing says Sergio Konduro (PH). We have 17 workers which means 17 families, and then their producers of tomatoes and flour and mozzarella. Lockdown created pockets of poverty. Now, some stomachs and pockets can be filled again. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Naples.
COREN: Well, South Korea is ready to play ball. Tuesday marked the country's opening day making the Korean baseball organization one of the first leagues to kick off its season during the pandemic. All players and officials must wear masks and anyone entering team facilities will have the temperature taken. There weren't actual people in the seats, but the painted faces of fans cheered the players on. With most professional sports postponed or canceled because of the pandemic, diehard fans have had to get creative. CNN's Anna Stewart looks to the soccer fan using his talents online and on the streets.
ANNA STEWART, CNN LONDON REPORTER: 12-year-old Hazem Al-Hossain has a budding career in sports commentary.
HAZEM AL-HOSSAIN, 12-YEAR-OLD SPORTS COMMENTATOR: I love commentating more than playing. For me, it's more interesting.
STEWART: Like many soccer fans around the world, he is missing the game, suspended due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.
AL-HOSSAIN: I don't support any one team. Any commentator should be neutral. STEWART: And stay neutral is, of course, critical when you comment on
your friend's alleyway matches. He also does play-by-play for online games at home in Damascus with his big brother Mohammed.
MULHAM AL-HOSSAIN, BROTHER OF HAZEM: When I play PlayStation, he always sits next to me and starts commentating on the match. I wish him luck and wish to see him as a famous commentator one day
STEWART: Hazem has a few followers on his Facebook page.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His videos are very nice, and he has a beautiful voice. We have to remember that he is only 12 years old.
STEWART: Plenty of time to finesse his skills for the big leagues.
COREN: A big future ahead. Well, thanks so much for joining us, and watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. CNN NEWSROOM continues with my colleague, Rosemary Church, after this break.