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U.K. Surpasses Italy's Death Toll; President Trump Aim to get Rid of Coronavirus Task Force; Long Way to Go Before Companies Could Reach the Finish Line in Vaccine; Three Russian Doctors Mysteriously Fell Off of a Window; President Trump Wants Allies to Sympathize with His Allegations Against China; India To Repatriate Stranded Citizens Starting Thursday; Foreign Workers Left Stranded Without Pay In The Gulf; Jordan Has Reopened Its Economy, Lifted Restrictions; Johns Hopkins, 471 Cases In Jordan, Nine Confirmed Deaths; Jordan's Quick Action Suppressed Virus; Shanghai Disneyland To Reopen On May 11; Edelman Report, 67 Percent Want Governments To Prioritize Public Health Over Economic Recovery; Weighing The Economy Against Protecting Public Health; New Models Predict Sharp Increase In Deaths; Oil Prices Jump Amid Partial Economic Reopenings; Demand For Gasoline Recovering From Historic Collapse; Syrian Boy Turned Commentator; Actor Tom Cruise Teams With NASA To Film Movie In Space. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 6, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up this hour, lives versus livelihood. As the world struggles to balance when and how to reopen.
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)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you just explain why now is the time to wind down that task force?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, because we can't keep our country closed for the next five years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: More than 70,000 Americans are dead, and President Trump wants to shut down the Coronavirus Task Force. Why? We take a look at that.
Plus, as Hong Kong eases up on its restrictions, China has a stark warning for protesters thinking about hitting the streets again. We have a live report to find out more.
Then, Houston we have a blockbuster. Also, Tom Cruise hopes as the film star looks to shoot his next movie in space. But first, we begin with a grim milestone in Britain. Its coronavirus
death toll is now the highest in Europe. The British government says at least 29,427 people have been killed by COVID-19, overtaking Italy once the epicenter of the pandemic in the region.
British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab calls it a massive tragedy as the nation waits to hear how the government will ease the U.K.'s lockdown measures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: And as we consider the decisions that we will take next to protect life, but also to protect our way of life, it's now clear that the second phase will be different. 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)
CHURCH: And CNN's Nina Dos Santos is standing by in London. She joins us now live. Good to see you, Nina. So, the U.K. death toll now the highest in Europe. And the government is facing scrutiny over its handling of this pandemic. How is the prime minister likely to respond to this?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is going to be facing his first prime minister's question time at the House of Commons, although it will be certainly emptier House of Commons, thanks to social distancing measures in a few hours' time, Rosemary. It's the first time since he himself contracted coronavirus.
And as he said in a newspaper interview a few days ago, nearly died from the disease himself. It's likely that other members of parliament are going to respectfully ask whether or not the government acted too late and whether or not the response was too chaotic to prevent coronavirus from getting that deadly foothold you mentioned in this nation.
We know as per the close of business yesterday evening that the U.K. is now the officially worst-hit nation in the whole of Europe from this virus. Its death toll standing at 29,427 versus 29,315 in a country like Italy that faced such a swift onslaught of this virus with such deadly consequences.
Now Italy is starting to emerge from its lockdown, at least some parts of Italy are. And that will be something that the U.K. will be looking at as it looks towards easing the lockdown measures, potentially some kind of statement on that in the next few days to come.
Those are the types of things Boris Johnson will be talking about. But he will also talk about this new contact tracing application that they are going to be piloting on an island, the Isle of White, off the south coast of the U.K. later on today.
That is seen as one of the crucial measures to try and get an idea of how much of a foothold this virus has had, how many people its infected across this country, and then they can plan for how to start it and open up various parts of society and the economy from there on.
A little note of caution though with regards to that contact tracing out, Rosemary, it's voluntary, and it also needs more than 50 percent of the local population to download it.
So, again, many question marks over whether or not these kinds of measures that Boris Johnson's government is implementing are actually going to be effective at all. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Nina Dos Santos joining us live from London.
Well, an embarrassing excerpt for one of the architects of Britain's stay-at-home strategy. Neil Ferguson has resigned as the government's leading scientific advisor on COVID-19.
He stepped down after the Telegraph newspaper revealed he had flouted the social distancing rules he helped set up. Ferguson says he made quote, "an error of judgment."
Well, Britain's death toll from coronavirus is second only to the U.S. now reaching beyond a staggering 71,000. And that is according to Johns Hopkins University.
Remember, it was just last week that the model used by the White House projected there would be around 74,000 deaths months from now. That key model now forecast the death toll will nearly double by August. The number of U.S. cases also on the rise, just over 1.2 million.
If you take a look at this graph, the U.S. is still adding roughly 25,000 cases a day. In view of these numbers, President Trump was asked about his move to phase out his COVID-19 Task Force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you just explain why is now the time to wind down that task force?
TRUMP: Well, because we can't keep our country closed for the next five years. You know. You can say there might be a recurrence. There might be. And, you know, most doctors, or some doctors, say that it will happen. And it will be a flame and we are going to put the flame out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Of course, no one is suggesting that the U.S. be shut down for five years, but reopening the United States economy is the biggest gamble playing out across this country right now. And the stakes are unknown.
As Athena Jones reports, many states are taking their own approach. ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As states across the country lift restrictions put in place to fight COVID-19, some are moving more cautiously than others. Stay-at-home orders remain in place in Washington until May 31st, but starting today, fishing, hunting, golf courses and state parks are open.
In Arizona, retailers are now open for curbside pickup or delivery, and restaurants will be allowed to resume dine in service with physical distancing on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all want to be safe and we all want to make sure that we are going to the right place. But I think we all need to support the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONESL In California, some Orange County beaches reopened today with some limitations, and retail shops including clothing stores, flourish, and book shops can begin to reopen Friday. And in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced barbershops, hair and nail salons can open this Friday, earlier than he had previously suggested, despite a mixed bag of coronavirus statistics in the state.
Meanwhile, two grim new predictions for telling a summer marked by more death and suffering. Both estimates now predicting thousands more U.S. deaths from COVID-19 than they were just days ago, about doubling previous projections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's the balance of something that's a very difficult choice. Like how many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be some form of normality sooner rather than later?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: New York, for one, is taking a more cautious approach, announcing that at 1 a.m. Wednesday it is shutting down sub ways, buses, and trains in the city hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic to allow for deep cleaning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Tonight, we're going to shut down the subway for the first time in history. Why? Because they have to be disinfected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Meanwhile, there could soon be more progress on the vaccine front. U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer today announcing that with its partner German company BioNTech it has begun testing a new vaccine in humans in the U.S. They say it could be ready for emergency use in the fall if it works.
CHURCH: Joining me now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine at George Washington University. Thank you so much for being with us.
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: My pleasure.
CHURCH: So, President Trump plans to dissolve his Coronavirus Task Force by the end of this month, right in the middle of a pandemic that is so far killed more than 71,000 people and all this as the country reopens. What is your reaction to the disbanding of this task force?
REINER: I think the president is trying to make the pandemic go away, but the virus isn't cooperating. In the United States, we are barely at the peak. If you exclude New York City and the New York City metropolitan area, the rest of the country still has cases that are increasing every day.
So, the number of cases are increasing every day. So, the pandemic is far from on the decline in most parts of the United States. It's still very active. We are in the middle of this. So, the notion that we can simply, you know, quote, "reopen the country," this band the pandemic task force and just sort of focus on reopening business is, I think a big mistake.
CHURCH: We all know of course that testing, isolating, contact tracing, all at a high speed and extensively is the key to getting on top of this pandemic.
CHURCH: Why are we not seeing that in this country? And why has not the superpower being unable to pull that off? Other countries have done it?
REINER: Yes, it's inexplicable. The countries that have been able to really flatten the curve, the infection curve, and drop the new infection rates close to zero, have done it with a combination of very, very aggressive testing, even more aggressive contact tracing, places like Singapore seek to find all the contacts for a new case within two hours of that person testing positive.
In the United States, we would need hundreds of thousands of people to do that, but we have so much unemployment right now that we actually have the capacity to hire people to do this. And we need to start doing this on a massive scale.
We need to do simple things like wearing a mask. Many of the Asian countries that have suppressed the virus have done it by really mandating that if you are in public, you must have a mask on.
We get mixed signals in the United States. The president desperately wants to get this right. He got it wrong today. He went to a mask factory and refused to wear a mask. A simple -- a simple measure like that can significantly reduce person to person transmission, particularly because we know that the virus is transmitted in many instances from an asymptomatic person.
So, these small measures, small and large measures, all add up to reducing both the rate of infection and the mortality with this virus. And we are really failing at it right now.
CHURCH: I did want to ask you about these new human vaccine trials.
CHURCH: They are underway in the United States and of course elsewhere. If and when there is a breakthrough, and let's hope there is, how does everyone in the world get vaccinated? And who decides who goes first? What's the process there.
REINER: We'll have relatively small doses of vaccine, in the millions, not in the hundreds of millions, fairly soon after we know that a vaccine works. And then we are going to have to make some interesting decisions. We are going to have to decide who goes first.
Do we vaccinate our most vulnerable populations? So, do we vaccinate all the folks in nursing homes? Do we vaccinate first the healthcare providers in the country? And then there is the question of, if a vaccine is discovered in a specific country, does that country take all that vaccine first? Or do they share with the world? How is that going to work?
Is the vaccine going to be patented? Or are we going to allow the vaccine, is the inventor going to allow the vaccine to be shared with other companies to mass produce it on an unprecedented scale. We have to answer these questions and we have to answer them now.
CHURCH: Yes. A lot of challenges lie ahead with that. And we will know next month at least if the Oxford University vaccine will work or not.
CHURCH: So that will certainly be a first step. I also want to ask you too, though. There is a new genetic analysis of COVID-19 that was taken from more than 7,600 patients around the world, showing the virus has been circulating since late last year.
And of course, we also learned from France that there was a patient there that they thought had pneumonia back in December. It turns out that frozen sample was tested and that was COVID-19. What do you make of all of this?
REINER: The virus has been around earlier than we thought. We've also learned recently that the virus has mutated a little bit which might explain the differential in virulence that we've seen in parts of the world.
The original virus that came out of Wuhan to places like the West Coast of the United States in parts of Europe, was perhaps not quite as virulent as a mutant strain which appeared in Europe in mid-march and infected places like Italy with a terrible fervor, and then went to New York.
So that might explain some of the differences in infectivity and death rates in different parts of the world.
CHURCH: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, always a pleasure to chat with you. Thank you so much.
REINER: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: And we were just discussing how vaccines will be distributed. But again, that is if and when one is developed. There are more than 100 vaccine programs in preliminary trials worldwide. One in the United States has begun human testing.
And as CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports, if successful, it could be distributed 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.
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 (Ph) 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 Out Front 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.
CHURCH: Well, as you heard, President Trump toured a mask factory Tuesday without wearing a mask himself. And when asked whether or not he would take a vaccine, the president said he is open to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would absolutely, Jim. If there is a vaccine and if they wanted me to be first in line, I would be first in line, or I would be last in line or I wouldn't take it at all, whatever is best for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: All right. We'll take a short break here. Still to come, China has issued a severe warning to protesters in Hong Kong. If they come back on the streets, it will take firm action. And we will have a live report from Hong Kong. That's next.
CHURCH: Well, China has a stern warning for protesters in Hong Kong. If demonstrators return to the streets, Beijing will, quote, "not sit idly by." The statement also likened protesters to a political virus in Hong Kong society.
CNN's Ivan Watson is live from outside China's Hong Kong liaison office. And he joins us now. So, Ivan, what prompted this stern warning from China? And what's been the response from people in Hong Kong to this threat?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it is as Hong Kong kind of starts to emerge from the worst of the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, there are clearly concerns that there could be a return to the cycle of protests and crackdown that we saw for a solid six months before the outbreak of the coronavirus.
So, this statement is very starkly worded, as you pointed out. It compares the protesters of those past months to a political virus in Hong Kong society, and goes 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."
And this does seem to be part of a pattern we've seen just in recent weeks of less and less tolerance for the kind of opposition that we'd seen in the past year. Not just the masked protesters who were out vandalizing public property and clashing with the security forces in 2019, but on April 18th, the roundup of some 15 moderate opposition leaders who were accused of helping organize these protests.
That was done by the Hong Kong authorities. A number of critics here in Hong Kong, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo even, has accused the situation here of being politicized law enforcement. And those are accusations and criticisms that the Hong Kong authorities and central government in Beijing absolutely reject.
CHURCH: All right. Ivan Watson, bringing us the latest there from Hong Kong. Many thanks.
Well, President Trump has been stepping up efforts to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic. Now, he is trying to get foreign allies to do the same. Two sources tell CNN Trump administration officials spoke to foreign allies about ways to point the finger at China to show Beijing deliberately concealed the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, China is pushing back. Chinese state media says the U.S. should be investigated for its mishandling of the pandemic, and with the highest death toll in the world, the U.S. is now the main exporter of the novel coronavirus.
Well, CNN's Alex Marquardt has more.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a growing international assessment about the origin of the coronavirus that is at odds with the Trump administration which has been pushing the theory that the virus was accidentally released by a lab in Wuhan.
China, instead, the growing consensus among the Five-Eyes intelligence sharing partners, which includes the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, is that it is highly unlikely that the virus came from a lab, and rather highly likely that it evolved in nature, jumping from animals to humans.
Multiple officials caution that that is s their assessment, but that they can't be 100 percent certain without more transparency and cooperation from China.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, has said that there is no indication so far that the virus came from a lab. And the WHO also says that there is no evidence of that.
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense here in Washington, as well as the American intelligence community says that they are still looking into both theories, both that it came from the market in Wuhan and that it may have escaped from a lab. Listen to what the chairman of the joint chief of staff, Mark Milley, had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MILLEY, U.S. CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: 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)
MARQUARDT: Milley also said that the release of the virus probably was not intentional, while the U.S. intelligence community says forcefully that the virus was not released purposefully.
But, so far, neither the U.S. military nor the intelligence community have released an official assessment.
Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: In Russia, police are investigating three separate incidents where doctors mysteriously fell out of hospital windows. Two of them have died. One remains hospitalized.
As Matthew Chance reports, the incidents are raising questions about their working conditions.
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 is tested positive for coronavirus, but was forced to work anyway. Now, he is 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 is dealing with severe head injuries and can say no more. But he is not the only Russian doctor recently silenced by a suspicious window fall. In fact, he is the third.
Earlier 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 her hospital into a coronavirus facility, citing lack of protective gear. I asked a 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 suggest, "do this, do that."
One Russian doctor who knows about the current pressure is Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of the Doctors' union, who has 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 work at the main cosmonaut (Ph) training center is more about psychological stress on frontline staff than a sinister plot to silence critics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANASTASIA VASILYEVA, DOCTORS' ALLIANCE: No, I don't think that somebody is targeting doctors. No. The destruction of the healthcare system and of course, this means that it's very difficult to treat in such conditions a lot of patients with coronavirus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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 shift's 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.
CHURCH: All right. We'll take a short break here. Still to come, they are out of work, out of money, and have no way to get home. The challenging reality for thousands of foreign workers stranded by this pandemic. We have a live report from Abu Dhabi. That's next.
[03:30:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: India is preparing to repatriate
thousands of its stranded citizens starting Thursday. Most will be coming from the gulf region, where many foreign workers have lost their jobs due to coronavirus lockdown measures. The Indian embassy and consulate in the United Arab Emirates have received almost 200,000 request from Indians wanting to be flown back home.
So, let's go to CNN's Sam Kiley, who is at the opening of the biggest walk through testing center in the Emirates, which is near an accommodation center for workers there. Good to see you Sam. So, how does all of this work? And talk to us about just how likely it is some of these workers will get back home.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, for the last few weeks, Indian workers, but really workers from around the world have been trapped in the Emirates because they have been unable to go home because the airlines have -- the airports here are closed. And in the case of India, they have actually closed their airspace even for repatriation flights.
Now, they will be beginning again soon. But there are millions of foreign workers here and the Emiratis are working extremely hard to try to screen and isolate infections from the densely populated area. This location itself is planning to process 10,000 people in just one day. The people are being left behind, and this is what it looks like from their perspective.
KILEY: Foreign laborers in Dubai, many of them now unemployed, stranded, feeling hung out to dry by governments struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic back home.
The Emirates simply couldn't function without these laborers. They keep the wheels of commerce turning. They keep the buildings being built. But the problem is, there is no welfare state here. When they lose their jobs, they used to get sent home. Now, they can't even get home.
Foreign workers make up nearly 90 percent of the Emirates population of about 10 million. About 40 percent of the foreign born workforces is from India. To control the virus spread, the Emirates have imposed weeks of lockdowns and curfews, leaving 10s of thousands either unemployed or unsalaried.
He says, I have not receive the salary of the previous month, March. And out of that salary they only gave me 150 rupees. That is $2 for food and told us to manage. This construction worker asked not to be named for fear of losing a job that for now doesn't even pay.
He has been unable to get home because as part of the fight against the coronavirus, the Indian government has shut its airspace completely and refused to repatriate anyone from abroad. He says, so we want that until the flights start, give us our salaries. If not, at least give us food. We will be happy with that too. But they are not giving that, they are just saying go. Just go. But many of these workers just cannot.
So while about 200,000 Indians have applied to go home, for now, they are stuck trying to make a few cents to get them through the day. The Emiratis are aware that they've got a serious humanitarian problem that also risks undermining the country's glamorous self-image. So, they are offering free health care for stranded foreigners during the pandemic. After years of criticism from human rights groups over a lack of worker rights here, the Emirates have ruled out an aggressive testing and quarantine campaign to combat the virus.
DR. AMER SHARIF, HEAD OF DUBAI'S COVID-19 COMMAND AND CONTROL CENTER: There are measures in testing. These labor camps are screening them and isolating those who are positive. So, there is a lot of efforts across the government teams and the non-government teams to make sure of the well-being of the laborers and labor camps in high dense areas in general.
KILEY: More than 1 million people have already been tested. That's about 10 percent of the population. For, weeks India has refused to repatriate its citizens, because of the strict lockdown back home. Now the Indian government says it hopes to start repatriations this week. That is a huge number of foreign workers. Their dreams of earning enough here for a better life back home is now in tatters.
KILEY: Now Rosemary, for these small and impoverished countries, those poorer countries around the world, remittances from the gulf in general are officially estimated at about 500 billion dollars a year. So, they are very, very important in terms of the export of currency. But it's also very important to countries like the Emirates, but other countries in the gulf that completely depend on foreign workers. And it is for that reason that the Emiratis, especially have been well- ahead of the curve when it comes to isolation, but above, all testing. They are testing more than any other country in the world, apart from Iceland is a proportion of the population. And that's because the Emiratis know that they've got to get the workers safe, healthy, and back to work. Rosemary.
CHURCH: And you are at that testing facility. How does that all operate?
KILEY: Well, this is the last stage of the testing facility. The kind of yellow and red areas of where people have nasal swabs for actual test. Earlier on in the process, and there are enormous halls, four of these enormous halls, as part of the process, Rosemary. They come in, they are given a health education while their temperatures drop from coming in outside. They're tested there. They then go forward to the next stage, where they ask about their medical backgrounds and whether or not they are sharing any symptoms or if they are asymptomatic, they go on and out.
If they are showing symptoms or have any concerns, then they come through and everybody who is assigned to the green or red or yellow areas here that has a nasal swab. It takes 24 to 48 hours before the results are back at them. There is actually a clinic right here, so a few cases, cases that are worrying anybody, then go straight off here. Whether they get chest x-rays, blood works and if necessary they are being put into ambulances and evacuated.
So, people could be quarantined directly from this location straight to free accommodations. The whole process is entirely free. It is paid for by the Emirati government. Even here for illegal immigrants they are saying.
CHURCH: That is an incredibly impressive system. Thank you so much for walking us through that. Sam Kiley with that live report from Abu Dhabi. I appreciate it.
Well, also in the UAE, a massive fire engulfed a residential tower in the city of Sharjah. Flames tore through the 49-storey apartment building on Tuesday evening. Police say all residents were evacuated and seven people sustained minor injuries. Firefighters used drones to help them detect any tenants who may have still been in that building.
Well, now to Jordan, which is reopening its cash strapped economy. Jordan's government has been praised for its quick action in containing the coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins University, Jordan has reported fewer than 500 cases and just 9 deaths, one of the lowest figures in the world. And our Jomana Karadsheh is with us now from Hereford, England. She was based in Oman, Jordan for years with CNN. Good to see you, Jomana. Of course, one of the poorest countries in the region, but able to keep its numbers impressively low. How did Jordan do this?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, Jordan acted really fast early on. And they hit hard, with one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. You know, they deployed their military to the streets. It was so strict at one point that people were not allowed to leave their homes under any circumstance for several days. The country is still under an emergency law, but they also say that this initial success has been because of some of the health measures that they have put in place.
Strict quarantine, aggressive contact tracing, and also random testing. Over the past eight days, Jordan's health ministry says they have recorded zero new cases in the country. And officials there would tell you that they could not have done it any other way. Take a listen to what King Abdullah of Jordan told global leaders this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING ABDULLAH, JORDAN: In my region, failure is not an option. With ongoing crises, conflict, and unemployment, the risks are way too high. And we cannot forget that those that are most vulnerable, in such difficult times, or people such as refugees and displaced communities.
And Jordan protecting refugees from covid-19 is a priority. And while the lockdown has exacerbated our economic difficulties, our quick action has thankfully helped suppress the spread of the virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHEH: And the king has been very vocal recently saying that this is something that the world should be working on together. Countries should not be left to deal with this alone, saying that this is the time for what he described as re-globalization. Saying that, we are all in this together. That countries should be cooperating and not competing.
You know, Jordan right now is reopening its economy. They are doing this slowly. They are doing this gradually, cautiously. They know the risks are high of, you know, a return to a more positive cases, or second wave. They are concern about that, but they cannot afford, Rosemary, to keep the country's economy shut down. As you heard from the king there, the impact of this lockdown over the past two months is probably going to be felt by this country in the months, if not years ahead.
CHURCH: It has been extraordinary, watching to see what Jordan has done. And some countries have surprised us in the way they have approached the pandemic. Some of them have not done such a great job. And living in one of those countries. Jomana Karadsheh, many thanks to you for bringing us up to date on the situation in Jordan.
Well, there is some hope for the oil markets. As economies reopen, the demand for gasoline is rising. The upward trend. That is ahead.
CHURCH: Well, you are looking at time-lapse video from Shanghai, China, where Disney is preparing to reopen its theme park on Monday to visitors. Shanghai Disneyland has been closed for three months due to the pandemic. It's the first of 12 Disney theme parks to reopen. Guests will have to wear masks, have their temperatures taken, and use the government's contact tracing system. Disney says U.S. parks will reopen in phases. But so, far no dates have been announced.
A substantial majority of people around the world say they want their governments to prioritize saving lives over restarting economies. A new report from the U.S. communications company, Edelman found that almost seven in 10 people say public health should be the top priority. Roughly half of the people asked say they believe businesses are putting profits before people, and around 40 percent say companies are not protecting employees well enough.
Well, U.S. President Trump meantime appears to acknowledge that a rise in coronavirus cases, or even deaths, might accompany reopening efforts. But he insists the country must reopen in order to protect the nation's economy. He traveled to Arizona, after weeks of sheltering in Washington, to make his point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of our
country are warriors. And I am looking at it. I'm not saying anything is perfect. And yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, the governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, says the faster the U.S. reopens the economy, the higher the death count will be. He says leaders must ask the difficult question of how much is a human life worth when deciding how to move forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The fundamental question, which we are not articulating, is how much is a human life worth? How much do we think a human life is worth? There is a cost of staying closed, no doubt. Economic costs, personal costs. There is also a cost of reopening quickly. Either option has a cost. You stay close, there is a cost. You reopen quickly, and there is a cost. The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost. But, the higher the human cost. Because the more lives lost, that, my friends, is the decision we are really making.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And one of President Trump's top economic advisers expects a jobless rate as high as 20 percent, when the numbers come out this Friday. The worst since the great depression. And those dire figures are what is driving the push to reopen American businesses, even if it means putting more lives at risk. CNN's Brian Todd has more.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The images make it clear, people want to get out. And millions are desperate to get back on the job.
WAYNE RICHARD, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, FRISCO, TEXAS: The constitution says we have a right to life and liberty. I have a right to work.
TODD: But the rush to get back to normal brings a stark warning from America's top infectious disease expert.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASE: How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be, some form of normality, sooner rather than later.
TODD: The jarring choice offered by Dr. Anthony Fauci comes as new models project a possible sharp increase in coronavirus related deaths in America through August. Those models, tied to recent reopening of businesses and public spaces across the U.S., and relaxed social distancing. But the president was adamant again that people have to be allowed back to their jobs. And he believes keeping them awake could kill them too. TRUMP: if they held people any longer with the shutdowns, you are
going to lose people that way too and you already have, I'm sure. But between drug abuse and, I mean they say suicide, a lot of different things.
TODD: Former New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie, whose state has been hit harder than most told our Dana Bash, as many lives as possible should be saved. But he asked if Americans could come to an acceptance of certain levels of death in order to get the economy moving again.
FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R-NJ): You got to -- some of these folks have to get back to work. Because if we don't we are going to destroy the American way of life for these families.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But will people be able to swallow the notion if these projections are right, of nearly 3,000 deaths a day?
CHRISTIE: They are going to have to.
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DISEASE DETECTIVE: Some of this language from Chris Christie and other politicians lacks basic humanity, I think. And in the long run, we won't be able to replace some jobs. We are not going to be able to replace the lives that are lost.
TODD: That debate between America's political leaders and its top doctors over the human costs of reopening, over the kind of carnage Americans could be willing to accept, is intensifying.
YASMIN: You can't have a strong economy when people are dying or are dead. How will you reopen offices and factories and schools if people have died?
TODD: But one public health experts says Chris Christie's message is an important one. That Americans need the unvarnished truth that reopening, whenever it happens, will come with a human cost.
DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: The fact that you are now admitting that there are going to be increased deaths, I think is a step to actually being honest with the American public. That's what the stakes are here. That's what the trade-off is going to be. The cost of having an economy functioning are going to be increased cases and increased deaths.
TODD: And despite the projections for an increase in deaths tied to earlier re-openings, two Trump administration officials have told CNN those numbers are not expected to affect the White House's plans for reopening the country.
It could set up an excruciating, drawn out debate between Americas political leaders and top doctors, which could extend maybe into next year. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHURCH: And CNN's John Defterios is with me now from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, we just saw images of Disney preparing to reopen in Shanghai. But it seems we are mostly seeing a pretty depressing economic global picture of companies laying off workers or going out of business. How bad do you think this could get?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Wm this is an incredibly difficult win though, Rosemary. Let me start there, because it's challenging to know what the new normal will look like, right. As you restart these economies, people get excited. And at the same time, we have the global companies around the world starting to lay people off, restructure for that new normal that I'm talking about.
For example, Mark (inaudible) is the CEO of sales for enterprise software company, he said, this doesn't feel like recessionary times. It feels like depression-ary times. What does he mean by that? You can go across almost any sector today. Look at lay-offs. We had them with Airbnb, which is a fast growing company struggling to make profits. But they had to lay off 25 percent of its workforce worldwide.
United Airlines laying off 30 percent of the white collar administrative staff, have in all employees take 20 days off unpaid before October. That's what the $9.5 billion borrowing bailout from United States. Lufthansa is going to need at least $10 billion, says the German carrier restructures.
And then you see Disney with its profits drop of 91 percent. And the first three months of the year, and that's alarming because the pandemic didn't really settle in for Disney until the second half of March. So, it is starting to reopen, again, under the new guidelines here with social distancing and limited crowds into the theme parks that invested in online subscription group to compete with Netflix. That already has 54 million subscribers. That's good news.
But we are far from over with the restructure that is going to take place, the Fortune 500 companies of the world, and even the start-ups that you see in Silicon Valley that are trying to make their way in this new economy.
CHURCH: Yes. Totally understood. And we are watching a pretty big jump in oil prices as demand comes back to life, prompting President Trump to cheer on the recovery. How are markets responding to this?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I am glad you flag that subject, because we have seen this recovery which is a good barometer of demand picking up. And demand did pick up in the United States for petrol or gasoline as they call it there by 20 percent. So that's encouraging as the economy starts to open, up again, but if you look at prices, we are hovering around $24 for the U.S. benchmark.
Incredible, Rosemary, because April 20th, we had this discussion of going to zero, and we have the global benchmark above $30 a barrel. But what's the other harsh reality in today's environment? Is that nobody goes into the black with prices at this level, not the United States, and a key example is not here in the Middle East as well.
The number one exporter, Saudi Arabia, is having to restructure because its budgets are breaking even at $80 a barrel, even though it's a low cost producer. So, the Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman and his 2030 plan will likely have to be slowed down. Now we talked about this diversification into tourism and getting dependence on oil down substantially, but the minister of finance was suggesting over the weekend that indeed, painful times are ahead. The basic needs will be met for the Saudi citizens, but prepare for the worst going forward if oil prices stay in this range.
CHURCH: All right. We are in an interesting spot right now. John Defterios, bringing us up to date on the situation across the globe. Many thanks. We will take a short break here. Still to come, with professional sports canceled, a young football fan is taking his friends games to a whole new level, and he may have found his calling. We are back in a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. With most professional sports postponed or canceled because of the pandemic, diehard fans have had to get creative. CNN's Anna Stewart looks at a soccer fan using his talents online and on the streets.
ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER: This 12-year-old Hassam Al-Hussein has a budding career in sports commentary.
HASSAM AL-HUSSEIN, 12-YEAR-OLD LOVES SPORTS COMMENTARY: I have a goal. I love commentating more than playing. For me, it is more interesting.
STEWART: Like many soccer fans around the world, he is missing the game, suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
AL-HUSSEIN: I don't support anyone team. Any commentator should be neutral.
STEWART: And staying neutral is of course, critical when you comment on your friends alley-way matches. He also does play by play for online games at home in Damascus, with his big brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When I play PlayStation, he always sits next to me and starts commentating on the match. I wish him luck. I wish to see him as a famous commentator one day.
STEWART: Hassam has a few followers on his Facebook page.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): 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.
CHURCH: That little guy is going to do really well. And finally, the head of NASA confirmed Tuesday that the U.S. Space Agency is working with actor Tom Cruise to make a movie in space. Cruise is planning on staying on board the International Space Station to film an action adventure movie. It's not clear how or when Cruise will travel up to the multibillion dollar laboratory orbiting some 400 kilometers above earth. A few films have been shot on the space station already, including an IMAX documentary cruise narrated. But if the actor's plans take off, he could become the first actor to film in space.
And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I will be back with more news in just a moment. Do stay with us.