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China Endorses Resolution to Review Pandemic Response; COVID-19 Impact on Travel and Tourism; Airline Trade Association Sets Out Plant to Revamp Flights; U.S. Sending Ventilators to Russia; Abbas Says Palestinians Absolved of Deals with Israel and U.S.; Several Countries Roll Out Contact Tracing Apps; Experiment Shows How Germs Can Spread at a Restaurant. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 20, 2020 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Well, the World Health Organization says it will launch an inquiry into the global response to the pandemic. A number of nations, including the U.S., accuse China of withholding information about the virus when it was first detected in Wuhan late last year. Here's President Trump's latest take on it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did this great deal with China. They have to buy billions and billions of dollars of product, farm product and other product. And it was very exciting, one of the biggest deals ever made, actually not as big as the USMCA, which surprises people, but it could have been bigger over a period of time. Because the potential there is just beginning, in a sense, and it was very exciting.

But once the virus came in, once the plague, as I call it, came in, I said, how did they let that happen? Why is it that it was blocked very effectively from leaving that area and going into China, but it went out to the rest of the world, including the United States? And why didn't they let us go in and help them fix it? So, I'm very disappointed in China.


CHURCH: Well, China's President Xi Jinping says he supports a World Health Organization investigation into the handling of the pandemic, but he insists, any inquiry should wait until the virus is contained.

CNN's senior producer, Steven Jiang, joins me now live from Beijing. Good to see you, Steven. So, the W.H.O. has adopted a resolution to review the pandemic response. But what more do we know beyond that?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, what we know is, in the end, China seems to have gotten everything they wanted in this resolution. That has always been sort of the case, once China joined the discussion in the drafting process, because of its influence inside the organization. Now, you mentioned the timing of this investigation. It's now going to

be launched immediately. They are not going to do this until after the pandemic has been brought under control. That could be some time away. And also in terms of who's going to conduct this investigation, it's not going to be through a new mechanism. It's going to be led by the W.H.O. And from Beijing's perspective, most importantly, this is going to be a review of experiences and lessons from government responses from around the world, not, in their words, something based on presumption of the Chinese guilt.

So, all these factors could explain why this is going to work in their favor, especially with the potential U.S. withdraw from the W.H.O. and China's own new pledge of $2 billion donation over the next two years. Beijing's voice inside the organization is only going to be strengthened. So, that's why they are playing the long game here because this kind of investigation is always going to be lengthy and complex.

And in a few years, China's global economic and political position may have been strengthened, and the global public interest and the tension may have shifted or moved on. So, that's why this is something to their advantage. And not to mention that unlike many other world leaders, including President Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn't have to worry about election. He doesn't have term limits, so he can really afford to wait it out -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Steven Jiang, joining us live from Beijing. Many thanks.

The tourism industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, about 100 million jobs will be lost in the industry. The World Tourism Organization says overall, international travel and tourism will be down by about 20 percent to 30 percent, compared to last year. The region most affected will be Asia. And China will account for the biggest share of lost revenue.

Air travel, meantime, will most likely look and feel a lot different in the near future.


The International Air Transport Association is laying out a roadmap aimed at making the process safer. Some of its recommendations will impact airline customers before they arrive at the airport. And CNN's Anna Stewart is with me now to talk more about the association's proposals. Good to see you, Anna. So, how is air travel going to look when we all start flying again?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Oh, and I hate that as seen, but it will look incredibly different. Some of the proposals are from IARTA are for governments and some for airports, but it will really impact the traveler at every single stage. So on arrival, for instance, at an airport, before you even get through check-in, you're likely to have your temperature taken. That will also happen actually when you arrive in your destination airport as well. Your information, your contact details may be given to the government ahead of travel. So if you fall ill or someone, you're in contact with falls ill, they can track and trace that and alert you to the fact that you may have been in contact with someone that has the virus. It will go through to sort of measures in check-in, more self-service desks, less contact with people, social distancing within the airport.

And then, of course, measures on the plane itself. And so much attention has been given here, because you wonder, how can you socially distance on a plane, where the whole design of a plane is to fit as many people and as many bags as possible in a fairly small space. There were proposals to remove the middle seat of planes. IARTA now says that is not the answer. That would make costs really far too high for customers to travel and put even more airlines out of business. They are proposing that passengers wear masks as well as staff. Some airlines have already made that compulsory. We've seen that from United in the United States, from Lufthansa, Air France and KLM here in Europe.

Now, making that mandatory is one thing, but enforcing it is another. And this is something I think we will see more of in the months to come. How airlines and maybe governments decide to enforce those rules to ensure that people can be safe when they travel and support the airline industry, the aviation industry, and of course, tourism all around the world. As you mentioned in that lead-in, it's taken such a huge hit. Millions, tens of millions, 100 million jobs at risk -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, it is a real concern. And of course, I worry once you get airborne, if someone takes their mask off, who's going to say you can't do that? We'll see what happens. So, Anna Stewart joining us from London. Many thanks.

Well, the U.S. is sending a shipment of ventilators to Russia to aid the country's coronavirus battle. A U.S. spokesperson said 50 ventilators will be ready to go in the day ahead. President Trump has promised to send a total of 200. Russia has become one of the epicenters of the virus. And for more, I'm joined now by Matthew Chance who's there in London. Good to see you, Matthew. So what is the latest on these ventilators and the way President Putin has been handling this pandemic?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of the shipment of medical aid, which includes, as you mentioned, 50 ventilators from the United States, we understand that that shipment is going to be dispatched from the U.S. today. We're not sure exactly when it's going to arrive in Russia, but obviously, it will be pretty soon. 50 ventilators at first, along with some other medical supplies as well, another 150 to follow.

And I suppose it's interesting because just last month, it was the other way around. Russia sent a shipment of Russian-made ventilators to the United States, to New York and New Jersey, where there was a massive sort of outbreak of coronavirus there to try and assist. That model of ventilator, interestingly, that Russia sent later in Moscow and St. Petersburg is believed to have caused hospital fires, which killed a number of coronavirus patients that were hooked up to those ventilators that were on those wards. And so, the ventilators that Russia sent to America were actually never put into service out of those concerns.

But I think the very fact that a month ago Russia was sending aid to the U.S., it was sending aid to Italy and to Serbia as well, and said it was in control of its pandemic and of the outbreak of coronavirus there. Contrast that with what the situation is now, where Russia has the highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, after the United States -- latest figures this morning bringing that recorded number up to just over 308,000. It shows you just how much the situation has spiraled really out of control in Russia in recent weeks -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Matthew Chance joining us live from London. Many thanks.

Well, restaurants are now slowly reopening with limited seating, but just one sick person could ruin a meal for an entire group. Coming up, a simulation of how far germs can travel. Back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even the woman sitting to my right, several feet away from the mannequin that coughed, had droplets on her face.




CHURCH: The Palestinian Authority President has announced an end to all agreements signed with Israel and the United States Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech Tuesday, accusing the new Israeli government of having annulled the Oslo Agreement by pursuing an annexation of parts of the West Bank. Because of that, Mr. Abbas said Palestinians are, quote, absolved of all agreements, including security ones.

And CNN's Oren Liebermann joins me now from Jerusalem. So, Oren, what is the latest on this?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, this is a threat we've heard numerous times from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the past. Although this time he appears to go further, even giving a specific date for the dissolution of the security coordination and the agreements between Israelis and Palestinians. Still we haven't seen anything definitive change on the ground in the immediate hours after what is such a broad and sweeping announcement. In fact, there has been no response from Israeli officials, that as Western officials and diplomats we've spoken with wait to see what actually changes in the immediate future with some even expressing skepticism that anything real would change.

To that end, if Abbas were to carry this out to its conclusion, that would be he'd be dissolving the Palestinian Authority. PLO Secretary General, Saeb Erekat, said that's not happening at this point. So there is certainly at least some limitation on here. If that's the case, what was the point of Abbas' speech, and a

powerful one at that? Well, he may be trying to draw attention, essentially, to the plight of the Palestinians in this case and the promise of Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, which could start in about six weeks. In that case, his speech is a message to the European Union, to the Arab League, perhaps to Israel itself that this could very well happen and they need to pay more attention to the Palestinians and take more action to prevent the Israelis from annexing.


There are two things worth pointing out about the timing of Abbas' announcement. First, it's the month of Ramadan, with the holiday of Eid coming next week, so any big changes aren't likely to happen over the course of the next week or so. So we'll certainly pay attention, but we don't expect anything big now. We may after Ramadan, but again, we'll see.

Second, his statement comes right after Israel's new government was sworn in with a foreign minister and a defense minister that, at least during the campaign, opposed unilateral annexation, so they, too, may be part of the audience for Abbas' speech.

CHURCH: All right, Oren Liebermann. Many thanks to you. Appreciate that.

Countries all over the world are using smartphones to track the virus, and we will look at apps that can identify COVID-19 hotspots and where they're being used. We're back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. New Zealand is the latest country to launch its version of a contact tracing app which tracks a person's movements to see if they've been around anyone infected with the virus. In Singapore, "Trace Together" was released in April and has been downloaded about 1.5 million times. India's app, which translate to health bridge, has faced scrutiny because of privacy concerns. The COVID safe app is being used by about a quarter of the Australian population.


And health officials in the U.K. say their app isn't ready yet. It needs to be tested before wider public use.

Hadas Gold joins me now from London. Good to see you, Hadas. So New Zealand, of course, has shown the world how to eliminate this virus and now they'll be using a contact tracing app along with some of these other nations. How's it all going to work, though?

HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Rosemary, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, when introducing this app, described it as a digital diary of sorts. Because it is quite a bit different from a lot of the other apps we've been talking about in other countries in recent weeks. One of the biggest differences is that it requires the human to have a bigger part of the app. So, what happens is when a person enters a public building or a public space in New Zealand, they will scan a poster that will have a QR code. By scanning that poster, it will sort of mark the time and the place that they had entered into that building into the sort of digital diary.

Then, if they need to trace where an infected person has been, that digital diary will help the human contact tracers in New Zealand alert other people who may have been around them or notice what may have been a hotspot, a certain building where a lot of COVID-positive people had been.

This is in contrast to many other countries that are choosing to use Bluetooth. Because what Bluetooth does is it essentially takes the work out of the hands of the human. Your phone is always running in the background. It's always running with Bluetooth. And it is marking down all of the other devices it comes into contact with off of these other apps, and then if you test positive, it alerts any of the other phones that you have been in contact with.

One of the issues, for example, with this New Zealand version, is that just because you've been in the same building with somebody doesn't necessarily mean you were close enough in contact with. If it's a ten- floor building and you were on the 10th floor, the person was on the first floor. Whereas with the Bluetooth technology, once you're in a certain distance for a certain amount of time, it alerts that you have had contact with somebody.

But this New Zealand app is just a different version of what all these countries are trying to do. They're trying to complement the human contact tracers with technology to try to get a better grasp of this virus. And we still have to see which version works best. And there's a lot of discussion, of course, over privacy, over how the data is stored, whether it's stored by the health authority, whether it's stored on people's phones.

One of the biggest issues, though, is getting enough people to download it. Because experts say you want at least 60 percent of the population to use the app in order for it to have an effect to tamp down on the infection. As you've seen from the numbers, I don't think we have yet to see a country where more than 60 percent of the population has downloaded the app, even in places where it's being used a lot, where it's being hailed, we're not seeing numbers really above 25 percent of the population to use this app.

Of course, another question is, will it work across borders in places like Europe, where you don't have hard borders? And also, what happens if you enter a country, if you're a traveler? Will you be forced to download the contact tracing apps? They're an important, new element, but all of these countries are working at breakneck speed on these brand-new apps, so it's sort of a learning process as we go along -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. There is a bit of a resistance to being tracked, although we are already for anyone that wants to know that. But Hadas Gold, many thanks bringing us up to date on what's going on there as far as technology goes. Appreciate it.

Well, as countries continue to relax restrictions and stay-at-home orders, restaurants are slowly reopening their doors with limited capacity. But just how easily could germs spread during a dinner out? CNN's Randi Kaye takes a firsthand look.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We put some in and should I rub it all together as well?

DR. PATRICK HUGHES, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY: Ah hmm.

KAYE (voice-over): This yellow tinted goo is a mixture of petroleum jelly and fluorescent solution.

HUGHES: Under an ultraviolet light, this will - this will glow.

KAYE (on camera): OK, and that's going to simulate germs on my hand?

HUGHES: Correct. So this will simulate contact spread, you know, from you to other things that you've touched and maybe touched by someone else.

KAYE (voice-over): Dr. Patrick Hughes is an ER doctor who oversees the emergency medicine simulation program at Florida Atlantic University.

KAYE (on camera): Hi, ladies.



KAYE (voice-over): He invited us to lunch, designating me the so- called spreader, so we could see how germs on my hand which could be coronavirus droplets could spread in a restaurant setting. At our table we keep our masks on to protect ourselves and each other.

KAYE (on camera): There's a menu for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

KAYE (on camera): Do you want a menu too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sure, thanks.

KAYE (voice-over): I pour water for everyone at the table.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gee, this is great. Thanks for having us for lunch.


KAYE (voice-over): And pass around the food, wondering if I'm passing around the virus, too. KAYE (on camera): Chips?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, awesome, thank you.

KAYE: Do you want to take the bowl?


KAYE (voice-over): We also share the salt and pepper. Then it's time to turn on the ultraviolet lights to see what I may have spread. Remember, I was the only one with what could have been the virus on my hand.

KAYE (on camera): You didn't have any germs on you, I was the spreader.


So when you look at my hands and look how it transferred to some of you just by sharing items at the table or a knife in this case or a water glass. I mean, it only takes a little bit, right, to make somebody else sick.

KAYE (voice over): How about that bowl of chips I passed around?

HUGHES: You can see where she touched the edge of the bowl to pass it around, the simulated germs, you know, stuck right to the surface.

KAYE (on camera): Then everybody else touches the bowl.

(voice-over): Same with the salt and pepper shakers and the pitcher of water. There was contact spread on the cups and menus, too. Even my lunch friends.

HUGHES: This is the spot where -- when Randi came in to have lunch with her friends, she touched right on the shoulder just to greet everybody and you can see the outline of her palm print -- her handprint right on the shirt.

It's quite scary the amount of spread one person can have in a room like that.

KAYE (on camera): We also wanted to see what would happen if you're out for lunch or dinner with your friend or your family at a restaurant and somebody coughs. So, let's turn out the lights and let's see the cough.

KAYE (voice-over): There were now more droplets on the bowl of chips, the menus and the water pitcher, too.

KAYE (on camera): Look what happened to the fork after that simulated cough those would be real germs if that was a real cough. On my fork and I would have picked up the fork, not being able to see those germs with the naked eye.

KAYE (voice-over): Even the woman sitting to my right several feet away from the mannequin that coughed had droplets on her face.

HUGHES: You can see it's on her face, her glasses, her mask.

KAYE (on camera): And if she wasn't wearing a mask, she would have breathed it in.

HUGHES: Correct.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Boca Raton, Florida.


CHURCH: Will you ever eat out again?

Thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Do stay safe. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN.