Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Muslims Celebrated Eid al-Fitr Amid a Pandemic; India Gradually Reopen its Economy; U.S. Economy Enormously Hurt by the Pandemic; Business Giants Felt Pandemic's Turbulence; Sports Champs Raised $20 Million for COVID-19 Efforts; Americans Have Forgotten There's a Pandemic; Churches Welcomed Back Their Parishioners; U.S. Restricts Travel from Brazil; Boris Johnson's Aide Criticized for Violating Lockdown Rules; Protesters Are Outraged Over China's Controversial Legislation; Benjamin Netanyahu Calls Charges Against Him a Political Coup. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 25, 2020 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you with us.

Well, it is Memorial Day in the United States, and many Americans have already been marking the holiday weekend outdoors even as the death toll from the coronavirus nears 100,000.

And scenes like these are only heightening concerns. A large crowd packed this busy street in Daytona Beach Florida, where a man apparently making a music video through money from a car. As you can see, no social distancing and no masks.

And in Missouri, more alarming images. This time of the giant pool party. Again, no visible masks and no social distancing with people packed together. Another case of not following the safety advice of medical experts who warn the virus can spread among people in close proximity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: You don't know who is infected. And so, we really want to be clear, all the time, that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Meantime, churches in the U.S. have slowly started to reopen days after President Donald Trump called them essential, and while some people attended Sunday mass wearing face masks, Mr. Trump was seen spending the day on a golf course in Virginia without a mask.

Well, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina one of many places in the U.S. where crowds gathered for the holiday weekend, even state health authorities announced the coronavirus numbers hit 10,000 for the first time. The pandemic did not seem to be on people's minds.

Natasha Chen talked to beachgoers, and has the latest.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People here on Myrtle Beach are for the most part practicing social distancing by keeping apart from the next party, and the city manager tells me that for the most part this weekend has been extremely peaceful, with the exception of a shooting incident overnight Saturday into Sunday.

In about the same spot where another shooting happened, the previous weekend. So, some of that behavior prompted the city to form a resolution and an executive order, giving police a bit more authority to do things such as shutting down businesses from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. if they need to.

Now in general, masks are recommended by the governor, by the city, I keep mine on when I'm not on camera, especially when I'm interviewing people, but otherwise we do not see anyone wearing them. Here is what some beachgoer said to me about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wouldn't know a pandemic was going on by looking at the beach today. You just wouldn't, because even during other summers, people are about spread about they are today. It's about the same. People usually don't sit that close to each other. They give each other a little bit of space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there is some people wearing masks, but I'm not wearing one. So, I should have a mask, but I'm not -- I don't have a mask on right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since I've been here, honestly, no. I mean, you're the first mask on I've seen, if I'm being honest. Everybody here is kind of letting it fly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Another indicator that things feel pretty normal here, a lot of people heading to the restaurants that so desperately need those tourism dollars right now.

But there are so many people that the city manager in fact told me that when city staff went out to regulate that 50 percent capacity, they had to a couple of restaurants to show out some patrons out the door for excluding that limit.

Natasha Chen, CNN, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

CHURCH: Joining me now is CNN medical analyst, Dr. Saju Matthew, he is a primary care physician and a public health specialist. Thank you, doctor, for being with us.

SAJU MATTHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good day to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Now in the U.S., this holiday weekend crowds gather on beaches and in pools across the country. Clearly, not keeping their social distance, and certainly not wearing masks even though health experts urge caution. What was your reaction when you saw some of those images?

MATTHEW: I was disappointed, Rosemary. You know, ultimately, we talk about this so much on air everywhere, I'm sure all over the world just not on CNN.

Masks are key. You know, it's not about not having fun. I mentioned this earlier today. That's not what this is all about. This is about having fun responsibly while wearing a mask and maintaining six feet.

If you look at those images that we saw the beaches and people walking on the streets, it didn't give me the impression that they were six feet away. And I definitely did not see a lot of masks.

CHURCH: Yes, when we look at -- we're looking at that aerial shot there of Daytona Beach in Florida, just extraordinary images of people very close together and not sticking with the social distancing or the wearing of masks.

[03:05:00]

And White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx called on everyone to wear masks out of respect for each other. And polls suggest that most Americans do agree with her, but others are either ignoring or defying those guidelines.

Why is it such an affront apparent already for some of these Americans to wear a mask including President Trump who seems to think perhaps it's a sign of weakness?

MATTHEW: Yes, rosemary, right on the nail. Sign of weakness. And that exactly is what this is not. It's really trying to make sure that you protect other people. You know, if you look at the whole story behind the mask just to be fair, initially the CDC was really hesitant to say that yes, you needed to wear a mask. Because it wasn't your fault, we didn't really have the science behind it.

Few weeks later we are absolutely sure that a simple measure of wearing an inexpensive mask, a cotton mask, can really prevent the infection from spreading. And I think it's important for people to know that really if you're going make a decision to not wear a mask, unfortunately you're not only making a decision for yourself, you are making a decision for other people as well that want to be healthy.

CHURCH: Yes, that's a very key point, isn't it? And what was your reaction to President Trump pushing for churches and other houses of worship to open over this memorial holiday weekend and threatening to override any state that prevented that from happening?

And then Dr. Birx reveal that 35 percent of those infected with the coronavirus are asymptomatic. But then minutes after that, she said anyone who knows they're sick will clearly avoid going to church. I mean, that's going to be difficult if you don't know that you're sick, right? So, what did you think of those mixed messages that were being given out by President Trump and Dr. Birx?

MATTHEW: You know, we're always taught in public health that a simple clear message is way more effective when you say that over and over consistently. Listen, you know, ultimately, you know, Rosemary, we all need to go back to a new normal. Those are the two buzz words now.

And what is that new normal? Well, that new normal really means being very strategic about the places that you're visiting. So, for instance, the other day I was giving the example of a grocery store where people are running around you and you may not have as much control.

If you look at a church setting, as long as people are not congregating in the lobby and when you're seated you're sitting six feet apart wearing a mask, I think that it is possible -- I mean, a lot of churches are hurting and I can see why they want their members to get back to church. And I think things can be done.

Even one simple thing could be making sure that you made the offering online so that the -- that basket is not passed down the pew. Simple things can be done to make it possible.

CHURCH: Yes, that is critical, isn't it? And, you know, some of the faith leaders are going slowly. They do want to take it slowly. Others not so much.

And doctor, I wanted to ask you this because now we're learning that the Centers for Disease Control and 11 states have been counting antibody tests in with diagnostic testing for COVID-19 which clearly would inflate the numbers showing the level of testing. What's your response to this revelation?

MATTHEW: Very disturbing. Ultimately if you think about it, one of the measures of the metrics about whether we are ready to open up a state is that downward trend of cases for two weeks.

So, if you're mixing the result of an antibody test which reveals previous infection and you're mixing that with a COVID-19 or a viral test which means a current infection, yes, you're inflating the numbers and almost giving people that impression that testing is available and that you're ready to open.

And then really quickly as well, it's really important that we know people that are positive because if you test positive for a COVID-19 infection, that means that you are potentially infectious and that you can transmit that virus unknowingly.

CHURCH: Dr. Sanju Matthew, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it and everything that you do. Thank you so much.

MATTHEW: Thank you, Rosemary.

Well, U.S. President Donald Trump is restricting travel from Brazil to the United States to anyone who's been in the South American country in the last two weeks. The White House says the move is aimed at slowing the coronavirus pandemic. In an e-mail to CNN, the Brazilian foreign ministry says the two nations are collaborating in the fight against COVID-19. Brazil is now the country with the second most cases worldwide behind the U.S.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more.

[03:09:55]

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Brazil pretty clearly now the second most impacted country in the world by coronavirus after figures emerged late on Saturday night that seemed to be responded to by the United States, the most impacted country in terms of confirmed cases, by banning entry into the U.S. for those from Brazil or those who have been to Brazil in the last 14 days.

It seems indefinitely a bid to try and prevent the infection from here from getting into the United States and contributing to its spread inside the U.S.

But this piece of bad news of course for Brazilians comes on a day in which their president, Jair Bolsonaro has again been seen near crowds of supporters not wearing a mask. An unexpected rally in Brasilia, the seat of government in Brazil.

He was reported to have flown over these crowds in a helicopter then landed wearing a mask and is then later filmed -- flagged at one point by a cabinet member into lawmakers supporting him greeting supporters. These are very common displays by the president of his support in the capital of government and is often used to suggest that he is comfortable amongst other individuals, that masks aren't necessarily essential despite the growing catastrophe inside Brazil itself.

Jair Bolsonaro's statement was always it was a little flu, coronavirus, or a cold. His latest modified his language talks about the fight against it being a war. But that was more to justify the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine which has in some studies been proven to actually be harmful to individuals and certainly yet to be proven to be beneficial in the fight against coronavirus.

But Brazil still it seems a week to two weeks away from its peak and its political leadership giving very divided signals themselves, the main figure, Jair Bolsonaro, not wearing a mask this day.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Manaus, Brazil.

CHURCH: And you just saw some supporters of the Brazilian president. But his critic also showed up. This video shows him being heckled by people in the crowd later in the day. According to local media, Mr. Bolsonaro was going for a hot dog and soda when protesters started banging pots and heckling him. Some could be heard calling the president a killer and trash.

Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still defending his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings. This as Cummings faces allegations he twice broke the country's lockdown rules by traveling. He denies the allegations and says he isn't stepping down. But that's not enough for many people facing a lockdown Cummings helped design. Here he is being heckled in London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mum is terrified. My dad had three shoulder operations (Inaudible) left him without his shoulder, and she wouldn't even let him walk in the garden, won't let him go to pub, won't let him sit on a bench. She won't even entertain me in her garden with a tent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you recommend Bernard Castle for a day out?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And CNN's Hadas Gold joins me now from London. Good to see you, Hadas. So, pressure clearly building over Cummings two lockdown breaches. Apparently, one rule for him, another for the rest of Britain. What's the latest on this?

HADAS GOLD, CNN REPORTER: Well, this all stems of course from that initial Friday report that Dominic Cummings and his wife while they were both fallen ill with the coronavirus drove more than 250 miles away to self-isolate closer to family who could help them take care of their young son when they both fell ill.

But this coming at a time when the government advice that Dominic Cummings helped craft the messaging that was being sent out was pretty to most people. They interpreted it as don't leave your house, don't travel even if you're feeling well, and especially if you have coronavirus symptoms, do not leave your house for at least seven days until after the symptoms subsided.

But this has come out, Dominic Cummings has been defiant as has Downing Street saying that he did nothing wrong, that he acted responsible.

But the criticism has been mounting all weekend. Even some members of Boris Johnson's own conservative party, members of parliament have been tweeting that Dominic Cummings needs to step down because it sends the wrong message. It sends the message that there's one rule for the rest of the country and another rule for the political elite.

Boris Johnson held a press conference last night where again he defended Dominic Cummings and said he was not planning on firing him. But again, that has not stopped the criticism.

This morning the Daily Mail, conservative leaning newspaper one of the best-selling newspapers in the U.K. pretty clear in its cover saying that Dominic Cummings needed to go.

CHURCH: Yes, it does appear to be a double standard, doesn't it? So, how likely is it that Cummings can withstand this mounting pressure?

GOLD: Well, it is unique to see how he has been able to withstand it because just a few weeks ago there was actually a scientific government adviser who he himself stepped down after it was revealed that he visited a girlfriend while in lockdown. And this girlfriend was in the same city, not even needing to travel.

[03:14:55]

And the government adviser as far as we know was not suffering from coronavirus. But you also have to keep in mind the political calculations here. Perhaps Downing Street wants to see if they can wait this out. Dominic Cummings is very important to the Downing Street. I would equate him to perhaps Steve Bannon or a Stephen Miller from the White House.

But also keep this in mind, Boris Johnson don't have an election coming up, he just recently won so perhaps they think they can wait this out. But others in his own party are saying that they are spending precious political capital at a time when they really need the public to be working with them to be adhering to these lockdown rules. And if they see that a senior adviser is traveling at a time when everybody understood that they should not be, that could not help this public health crisis.

CHURCH: We'll watch to see the outcome of this. Hadas Gold, many thanks to you joining us live from London. I appreciate it.

Well, Hong Kong police clashed with protesters marching against a controversial new security law Sunday. The bill is the biggest threat to Hong Kong's civil liberties in decades. CNN reports from Beijing. That is next.

Plus, the Israeli prime minister calls the corruption charges against him a stitch up on day one of his trial. We'll get you the very latest from Jerusalem. We're back in just a moment.

[03:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Hong Kong police fired tear gas and arrested at least 180 protesters Saturday in clashes. Thousands of people marched against a controversial new security law proposed by China.

Multiple Hong Kong government departments are welcoming the mainland's proposal which is the biggest threat to the city's autonomy and civil liberties since the handover from British control. China's rubber stamp parliament, the National People's Congress is set to vote on the security law later this week.

And CNN's Steven Jiang reports on Chinese lawmakers discussing this security law.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: China's nearly 3,000 delegates of the National Peoples' Congress spent their Monday morning behind closed doors to deliver this Hong Kong law. Now its passage never much in doubt because NPC is largely ceremonial. But the Beijing leadership is deciding to act now because they are losing patience with the Hong Kong local authorities.

Hong Kong government tried in 2003 to introduce a similar bill but it was met with huge protests on the streets they shelved it and never reintroduced it since. Now with the current Hong Kong protest movement that began last year but really showing no sign of abating despite the pandemic, the Beijing government is getting increasingly frustrated with this process.

And they're also seeing Hong Kong becoming a bastion of N.P. China forces including not only local pro-democracy activist but also a growing pro-independence movement not to mention rampant interference and involvement of external forces including governments like the U.S. government according to Beijing.

That's why they say it is urgent and necessary to act from Beijing to bypass this process in Hong Kong and to enact this law directly from the central government.

There are of course political calculations as well with the U.S. and other countries preoccupied with the pandemic.

Beijing is probably expecting weaker international push back and even if there are backlashes from Washington given how bad relations are really hitting a rock bottom right now, ramming this bill through right now really is probably a better option since things cannot get any worse.

This, of course is also a sign of President Xi Jinping's increasing confidence as he really cares less about international -- or potential international rebuke. And this kind of attitude reflected increasingly in how Chinese diplomats conduct themselves around the world with many of them including ambassadors and spokespeople are really having a daily war of words with their foreign counterparts especially with the U.S. officials on a whole range of issues.

But lately, of course, about government responses to the pandemic. And these diplomats have been called -- have been described by state media as wolf warriors based on a Chinese blockbuster movie.

Now I asked the foreign minister about this, is this kind of approach and rhetoric the new norm for Chinese diplomacy. He did not address this question directly but instead he said China never picks a fight or bully other. But China has principles and guts it will push back against any deliberate insults to defend its national honor and dignity.

This kind of nationalistic themes playing very well here domestically with the Chinese audience.

Steven Jiang, CNN Beijing.

Benjamin Netanyahu has become the first Israeli prime minister to stand trial. Mr. Netanyahu is facing criminal corruption charges in three separate cases. They include charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The prime minister, though, says, it's part of a political coup against him.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is following the trial, he joins us now live from Jerusalem. Good to see you, Oren. So, Israel's prime minister calls it a political coup. What all came out of day one of his trial and where does the process go from here?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, day one of trial here in Israel is largely technical. Yes, there's a part where the judges asked the prime minister or the defendant in this case, does he understand the charges against him. And that's the only time Netanyahu spoke, essentially acknowledging that he understands the charges.

But the rest of the hearing is about evidence, scheduling hearings, what's confidential and what's not confidential. So, there wasn't much else in term of -- there wasn't anything in fact in terms of evidence or in terms of witnesses. That's all very far down the road. And the next court date isn't until late July, and Netanyahu is not expected to be there.

But it was a dramatic, perhaps even a surreal day in Israel as the leader of the country stood to face trial and then sat for the first time in the defendant's chair.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu entered room 317 in Jerusalem district court, marking the start of his criminal trial. He stood defiantly, refusing to sit in the defendant's chair until the camera was removed from the courtroom.

[03:25:00]

Inside, he told the three-judge panel he understands the charges against him, bribery, and fraud, and breach of trust, but said little else during the hearing. In the State of Israel versus Benjamin Netanyahu the prime minister fired his first shot before the hearing began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Elements in the police and prosecution have aligned with the left-wing press in order to stitch up hallucinatory and false cases against me with the aim of toppling a strong prime minister from the right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: The criminal trial is just beginning, expected to take years. But the court of public opinion, or at least its rival halves, decided long ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not allowed and we are grateful about everything that he's doing.

LIEBERMANN: Dueling protests faced off outside, those demonstrating in support of Netanyahu, those demonstrating against. No matter the outcome, half the country will feel their side lost.

Senior members of Netanyahu's Likud Party came to the courthouse to support the 79-year-old head of state. They stood behind their leader as he attacked the media and the judicial system. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU (through translator): I hear it from so many citizens telling me be strong, we don't buy that nonsense. We all understand they stitched up a case against you. Elements in the police, the prosecution, the media are trying to commit a government coup against the will of the people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: Right before the hearing, Netanyahu held his new government's first cabinet meeting where he spoke about coronavirus and the budget, showing it's business as usual. His coalition partner and former rival who swore never to serve under an indicted politician didn't mention the court proceedings either. This is the country's new normal, a prime minister on trial.

At this point, Netanyahu's best political defense is the coalition agreement with his former rival now partner Benny Gantz, the head of the Blue and White Party. Gantz who had sworn never to serve under an indicted prime minister is now doing just that.

And in terms of the attacks we saw from Netanyahu and his allies against the judicial system and the investigative process, Gantz on the other side tried to come to their defense putting out a fairly short defeat saying Netanyahu has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and that he has faith in the investigative process and the court system.

But it didn't compare to the attacks we saw on the judicial system on the investigative process from Netanyahu and those closest to him. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much, Oren Liebermann joining us live from Jerusalem.

Well, Spain's two largest cities have been under strict coronavirus restrictions for weeks. Now Madrid and Barcelona move to the next phase and relax some of those rules. We will go live to Madrid.

Plus, Muslims across the globe are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, many amid strict confinement measures. But there are fears some festivities could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church.

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr. The three-day holiday, that ends the fasting month of Ramadan, began on Sunday. Traditionally, whole communities turn out to attend Eid prayers at their local mosques, but with fears of potential surges of coronavirus, many countries have reimpose strict confinement measures.

Now Sam Kiley joins us now from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, Sam. So, in the midst of this pandemic, how subdued have Eid celebrations been so far? And what are the concerns and fears and the restrictions?

SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's been a remarkable contrast between the reaction of much of the Islamic world at this very important period of time. The Eid celebrations, marking the end of a month of fasting. At time, when the pressure on governments, authoritarian or not, would and was to ease the lockdown.

But the experience actually of the Ramadan period where people, even in countries such as this where I am, United Arab Emirates, but also in neighboring Saudi Arabia, where lockdown was extremely strictly imposed, people met illegally effectively outside of mosques for the post-Easter prayers in the evening meal -- the evening prayers after the evening meal breaking the Ramadan fast every night.

And in the UAE and particularly in Saudi Arabia, there was observed during the month of May a significant increase, in other words a second wave of infections that have been blamed on these meetings and gatherings around prayer groups.

So, in Saudi Arabia, in Jordan, here in the United Arab Emirates, a greater or lesser increase in the lockdown was imposed over the Eid prayer -- sorry, over the Eid celebration period, Rosemary. In Saudi Arabia, a three-day total curfew, the opposite of celebration with Mecca and Kaaba, the famous Kaaba Square area normally absolutely rammed with worshippers, a token presence of officials from the local authorities there praying to mark Eid.

Elsewhere, in Indonesia, 225 million people also banned largely from mosques. And in Pakistan really the outlier on this within Imran Khan, the prime minister there saying during the month of Ramadan and Eid, the people should avoid going to public gatherings.

But because of the pressures on him, in terms of being a largely secular leader in a Muslim nation, he has -- he did allow a degree of meeting there in the office that there will be an even faster uptick particularly in countries like Pakistan, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Understood. Sam Kiley joining us live from Abu Dhabi. Many thanks.

Well, the pope blessed the faithful in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican for the first time in months on Sunday. The pontiff looked over the crowd from a window high above the area. And as you can see the crowd left plenty of space between themselves. The reopening comes as the number of people actively infected with the coronavirus keeps falling in Italy.

And Spain's two largest cities are now joining the rest of the country in easing more coronavirus restrictions. Madrid and Barcelona have been held back in phase zero of Spain's reopening plan until now.

And Al Goodman is in Madrid, he joins us now live to explain. So, how is this all going to work, Al?

[03:34:59]

AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Rosemary. Well, the scene behind me here, something so ordinary as having a coffee outdoors at an outdoor table has some -- become something extraordinary because for 10 weeks, this has not happened here in Madrid and in Barcelona due to the confinement measures from coronavirus.

And now this day, these measures being lifted for the regions around Madrid and Barcelona so the people can go out for the first time. They can meet with people up to 10 people who are not living with them. They can go out to an outdoor terrace.

This is the first one in my neighborhood that we found to be open. These two young women here, said they're so excited. They don't usually come out to have coffee this early, but they decided to get up here and come out try it. Because they didn't think they would be able to get a table. So you can see that they're spaced out.

Now, just about half of the country is on this phase one, which also allows some stores to be open, the smaller stores to be opened. And the other half, just under the -- the other half of the country is on a more advanced level called phase two which allows for meeting with 15 people sitting at restaurants outdoors and indoors, shopping centers to stay open, but masks are required across the country in all public places.

That's why I have one on because people are passing by less than two meters or six feet away. The whole point, the government says, is if the country opens up, they expect to be ready for international visitors, tourism in July. They're trying to avoid at all cost a second wave, which the first wave was so hard on this country that they don't want to go through that experience again. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Totally understand that. It's critical. Al Goodman reporting there live from Madrid. Many thanks.

Well, domestic flights are resuming across India. That's as the number of new cases of coronavirus reached to new high Sunday. The World Health Organization reported more than 6,700 new cases in a 24-hour period.

India imposed strict lockdown measures in late March but began easing some restrictions earlier this month. India's government allows its 28 states to set their own rules. And some wanted to limit the number of flights. The civil aviation minister said the resumption of flights was the result of a day of hard negotiations.

Vedika Sud reports on the precautions being taken.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Most airports in India have reopened after two months in lockdown. One domestic air service resumed one-third of its operations. New standard operating procedures have been strictly implemented to encourage contactless travel. On arrival at the Delhi airport terminals, self-service kiosks will help print boarding passes and bag tags. Passengers will undergo a quick temperature check while their luggage goes through ultraviolet disinfection tunnels. These measures have been introduced to prevent COVID-19 infections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

V.K. JAIPURIAR, CEO, DELHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT LIMITED: Overall, about 45, 50,000 passengers in terms of departure and arrival is the level that we're looking at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUD: Only security personnel will check documents handed over by passengers, now just stand behind glass shields to verify identification papers. Thermal scanners have been placed at the entrance of the Delhi airport to detect any active cases of coronavirus.

Efforts are also on to avoid any contact with airline staff behind counters, checking bags that to be dropped off in designated areas. After clearing security where self-distancing will be given priority, travelers will be guided to the waiting lounge, where distance between seats will be maintained. Strict guidelines have also been issued over ticket pricing and cabin crew.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARDEEP SINGH PURI, CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER, INDIA: The cabin crew will be required to be in full protective gear, full protective suit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUD: While a host of safety precautions have been announced, keeping the middle seats of flights vacant isn't one of them. Full flights are still allowed to operate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. NARESH TREHAN, CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR, MEDANTA HOSPITAL: Wherever possible and that's my preference, middle seats should be kept vacant. It only helps to distance. It doesn't harm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are requesting to respect social distancing while you're at the airport.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUD: At a time when India is witnessing a consistent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the government of India has taken a bold step with its decision to reopen the skies for domestic travel. Is this a risk worth taking? We'll be watching.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.

CHURCH: And you're watching CNN Newsroom live from our global headquarters here in Atlanta.

Coming up next, the White House issues a dire warning on America's unemployment rate right here on CNN. We will look into that.

[03:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Right now, the world's largest economy, the United States is suffering from massive unemployment. Forty-three states hit record high numbers for people out of work last month. The national unemployment average is hovering around 15 percent.

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, a senior White House adviser painted an even more dire picture to come.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think unemployment is going to be even higher this month?

KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER: Yes, it's going to be quite a bit higher. And, you know, there were some technical things that kind of messed up and on the economics lecture we deal into them but it could be if they fix the numbers and fix the thing that they mischaracterized last time that you'll end up with a number north to 20 percent in May. Since this --

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: But I just want to underscore what you're saying, is that as the president is on the ballot in November, you think there could be double digit unemployment still?

HASSETT: I think, yes, unemployment will be something that moves back slower. I think it could be better than that, but, you know, you're going to be starting at a number in the 20's and working your way down. And so, of course you could still not be back to full employment by September or October. Again, if there were a vaccine in July, then I would be way more optimistic about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Now despite that forecast, the White House's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, doesn't think it make sense to extend more help to those who've lost their jobs. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: I think we've learned in the last recession, the so-called Great Recession, that increasing and extending unemployment benefits are these incentives to work. I'd rather people went back to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Well, some of America's best-known companies have been declaring bankruptcy amid the sudden and massive economic downturn. Just before the weekend, car rental firm Hertz, became arguably the highest profile bankruptcy of the COVID-19 crisis. It's among the latest in the string of well-known American brands like J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus to file for bankruptcy this month.

[03:45:04]

So, let's bring in CNN's Anna Stewart to break this all down for us. Good to see you, Anna. So, White House economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, predicts unemployment will be north of 20 percent in May, but his colleague Larry Kudlow, doesn't think that means additional help should be given to those out of work. How will that play with the unemployed?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, Rosemary, I think those unemployed are worried, of course, that they could soon be. Those comments from Larry Kudlow will feel somewhat tone death.

Now, since mid-March, over 38 million people have filed for initial unemployment aid in the United States. That equates to around a quarter of the workforce just to give you an idea of just how huge this issue is.

Now, some states are reopening. Some people are going back to work. There is some hope from analysts and economists that we'll see some hiring in the back half of the second quarter. However, will businesses and industries be returning to normal any time soon? For so many that is an absolute no.

Revenues won't return to normal for months, possibly even years for some sectors if you look at travel or tourism, for example. Now, businesses are under pressure. Some will go under. Many will survive, but only through big restructuring and that means job cuts. And the fear over job cuts, and particularly if there is an aid to help people is people will spend less and you get to see how a recession becomes so entrenched and prolonged. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And Anna, as you mentioned, some businesses will go under and Hertz is filing for bankruptcy along with other big-name companies. What will be the likely impact of this?

STEWART: Well, Hertz is a really interesting one, Rosemary. I mean, they weren't in possibly the best financial position going into this crisis. They've had a lot of pressure from the likes of Uber, of course.

Now, two-thirds of their revenues though are generated from airports, so you can imagine the immediate huge impact that the pandemic and lockdown has had on their revenues. So, they're looking to restructure by filing for bankruptcy. They've already announced job cuts of 12,000, 4,000 on furlough. They hope to see it through. They hope this restructure will work.

Many other businesses are in a very similar position. It's crucial that there is a way for some of these businesses to survive in some form, some sustainable form post-pandemic, maybe some sort of slimmed down operation because you've got to see it in the wider economy, car rental companies they contribute 10 percent of purchases of new cars in the United States.

So, a company like this is crucial, the employment of people in the car making business, in the car supplying business, and right through the economy. So, each week that we get this news you've got to start thinking of the really big, big picture, and it is a very worrying one. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, it is. And meantime, Larry Kudlow saying no help for those unemployed, they can go back to work. I mean, if there aren't the jobs there, it's really difficult to do that, right?

CNN's Anna Stewart joining us live from London. Many thanks.

Well, an earthquake hit New Zealand, while the prime minister was live on television, but Jacinda Ardern managed to keep her cool.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: The last thing we need is another shield for clogged, he has to (Ph) -- we're just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan? Quite a -- quite a decent shake here but if you see things moving behind me, the beehive moves a little more than most. Yes, no, it's just stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: OK. So, she has to be just about the coolest leader in the world. Right? The beehive she mentioned there is New Zealand's parliament building. The capital, Wellington, was shaken by the 5.8 magnitude quake but no reports of damage or injuries.

Well sports fans have been eager for live competition to return, and now a few of the all-time greats have teamed up and teed off to raise money for pandemic relief efforts. The highlights, next.

[03:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Here's a story that made everyone happy. Two golf legends and NFL quarterbacks have raised over $20 million for coronavirus relief efforts, Sunday. Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeated Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in the champions for charity golf match.

World sports Patrick Snell has the highlights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: It may have been wet and rainy, no caddies, no spectators, golf as we know it now. Instead though, four global superstars who simply refuse to have their spirits dampened. There were cart counts, old rivals reacquainted, all mic'd up, and most definitely not holding back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had the coffee. I've got to activate the calves and I got to step on one here. Come on, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man does have some calves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is what I have to listen to every time we play.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: There were also enticing challenges from the commentary booth at the event presented by Turners Sports, a division of CNN's parent company WarnerMedia. The match champions for charity and all in support of COVID-19 relief. NBA legend Charles Barkley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA legend: You know what, Tom, because you're my man, $50,000 if you hit the green.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chuck, you saved yourself $50,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Tom, that was -- I should have just said if you could just keep it on the planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: On that occasion, Brady playing with Phil Mickelson was well off the green. Meantime, his longtime NFL rival, the now retired Peyton Manning was partnering with Tiger Woods. Manning gleefully draining a 25-footer much to the master's champions' delight, as Woods shared some personal insights after further back issues earlier in the year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIGER WOODS, 15-TIME MAJOR WINNER: It's been nice to be at home and train each and every day and get some treatment on it. Get into a routine basically. You know, I didn't have to play for a while, trying to peak for Augusta and trying to get ready for that.

[03:54:58]

And, you know, obviously with this pandemic and everything that's happened we've all been, you know, very careful and have had to stay at home. And it's been good in that regard and I've been able to spend a lot of time with my kids which has been awesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: What followed at seven though was quite extraordinary. Brady a 6-time Super Bowl champion, he and Mickelson's three down at this point. But the legendary quarterback with the perfect response, holing out from the fairway after some apparent ribbing from that man Barkley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, T, hey, hey, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chuck, Chuck, shut your mouth, Chuck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: That shot alone earning an extra $100,000 courtesy of a donation from four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, a majestic birdy, but then came somewhat a humbling fall from grace for the Buccaneers superstar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the way, did you just add some rain pants or change pants?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I split my pants. So much torque in that swing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: In the end, this would be a close fought one up victory for Woods and Manning. Live sports back will be a debrief temporary distraction from the devastating global pandemic.

Well, there's plenty of fun and frivolity out there on the court at times but there was also real power and purpose to Sunday in South Florida. And now, four global sporting icons who can say they've played their part in helping to raise $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Best story of the day. Thanks for watching. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of CNN Newsroom right after this short break. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END