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President Trump Mocks Joe Biden for Following Health Expert's Advice; Health Experts Looking at Brazil's Spike in Cases; Protests Erupted in Hong Kong Amid a Pandemic; P.M. Boris Johnson No Plan to Oust Dominic Cummings; Coronavirus Pandemic; Tourism In Crisis, Saving The Summer Season; Floor Trading Resumes At New York Stock Exchange; Asian Markets At This Hour; All Three Major U.S. Indexes Closed Higher On Tuesday; President Macron Announces $8.8 Billion Auto Industry Bailout; Renault To Announce Cost-Cutting Plan This Week; Spain Starts 10-Day Long Mourning For Covid-19 Victims; Spain Attempts To Save Summer Tourism Amid Covid-19; Hotels Prepare For The Future Of Hospitality; Hotel Rethink Service As Guest Stay Home; Migrant Workers In Lebanon Hit By Crisis; Dubai Allows Cinema And Gyms To Reopen; Mosque To Reopen In Saudi Arabia Starting May 31; Middle East Countries Begin To Ease Confinement Measures; Lebanon's Lockdown Pushes Migrants Workers To the Streets; SpaceX Prepares For Historic Launch; The Controversies And Conquest Of Elon Musk. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 27, 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: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: While health officials caution people to wear masks in public, the U.S. president mocks his Democratic rival for doing just that. Now, that rival is firing back.
A distinction no region once. Latin America becomes the new coronavirus epicenter, where the hardest hit country Brazil.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five, four, three, two, one, zero.
(END VOICE CLIP) CHURCH: Countdown to history. The coronavirus has slowed many things around the world, but it's full speed ahead for the next era in U.S., space travel.
Good to have you with us.
Latin America is now the us. Latin America is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. That's the warning from the head of the Pan- American health organization.
The region has surpassed Europe and the United States in the daily number of reported cases. Health officials are particularly concerned about Brazil. The number of new cases there last week was the highest for a seven-day period since the outbreak began.
The disease is also surging in other regions, other parts of the region. On Tuesday, Peru reported nearly 6,000 new infections. In Chile, nearly 4,000. And Mexico is recording its largest single day increase in both new cases and deaths. Health officials there reported more than 500 fatalities Tuesday.
Well, the numbers coming out of places like Brazil are staggering, but as CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports, the official figures do not tell the full story.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: This is a landing of last resort, seeking salvation in a coronavirus hotbed. Tiny planes bring the sickest COVID patients from hundreds of miles away, deep in the Amazon to Manaus, Brazil's worst hit city, and to a hospital bed, a journey most make alone, from which some won't go home.
This is what doing well looks like on these flights, moving. The woman on board, struggling, motionless. Once they had to intubate a patient in midair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very hard. You carry a weight that you don't see. Every time I carry this weight, I feel like I carry this weight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: They arrive in a city mired not only in death, but also fury. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made light of the virus and called the mayor here a piece of excrement for digging these mass graves. They had little choice here when the bodies started piling up.
This month, they buried 103 in one day, digging at night. Even in two hours, five come, one by one, laid in the trench. Many mourners say there's aren't coronavirus deaths, but it's hard to know here.
The official numbers in Brazil don't tell the whole picture, partly because there isn't enough testing. You can see that here. These are those who have died, and have tested positive for coronavirus. But these graves, staggeringly, well, they are the ones that they suspect may have died of the disease. The mass burial itself distressing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEDRO CHAVES, MANAUS RESIDENT: I just want to put my mom there and finish this. We don't need this. My family doesn't need this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: We asked the gravediggers who thinks fewer would have died here if the president had kept quiet.
"No one listens to Bolsonaro," one says. "He is not there for the people," said another. "He should have asked us what was going on."
But still, the hospitals here receive a daily stream of new patients, these from outlying villages where local tribes live, badly hit.
The ICU, which avoids ventilators where possible, using less invasive means, is frenetic. And even the patients have heard what the president said.
"The mayor is just trying to save lives," says Raimondo (Ph), "and the president is against that."
Inside, a local indigenous leader visits, newly adopting the role from his father killed by the virus two weeks ago.
"I took my father into hospital where he was intubated for five days," he says. "Now, we have 300 people with symptoms. Politically, the president forgot us, and it's killing the indigenous people."
Bolsonaro insists he is for economic growth and safety, but the virus is still tearing through the poor here. Their remote way of life was no protection from this modern plague. It just put help further away.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Manaus, Brazil.
CHURCH: Meantime, in the United States, President Donald Trump is unleashing a series of distractions, pushing false claims, and irrelevant, debunked conspiracy theories as the coronavirus death toll creeps ever closer to a disturbing milestone.
Jim Acosta has our report.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As the U.S. approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 American lives lost to the coronavirus, President Trump is touting his handling of the pandemic as a success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think cures are going to be in there shortly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The U.S. will hit 100,000 deaths this week in a astounding number, far higher than countries like South Korea, which does have a smaller population, but fewer than 300 deaths.
The president is defending his performance, tweeting, "for all the political hacks out there, if I hadn't done my job well and early, we would have lost one and a half to two million people, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number. That's 15 to 20 times more than we will lose."
But, hold on. The president once predicted the virus would just disappear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It looks like by April, you know, in theory when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away. I hope that's true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump is attempting to distract the public tweeting about false conspiracy theories, calling for the opening of a cold case against MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, perpetuating a baseless accusation and insisting without evidence that there is no way, zero, that mail- in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.
Mr. Trump also mocked former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask to a Memorial Day service, something the president decided against, making for a split screen campaign moment.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany questioned why Biden isn't wearing a mask in his basement, but health experts are not recommending masks at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is a bit peculiar though that in his basement, right next to his wife, he's not wearing a mask. But he's wearing one outdoors, when he is socially distance. So, I think that there is a discrepancy there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The president later claimed he wasn't criticizing Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Biden can wear a mask, but he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather. They're inside they don't wear masks, and so I thought it was very unusual that he had one on.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: The problem for the president, his own health experts, the
CDC, and even his former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney recommend masks in crowded settings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: What it means is that, if we are careful about social distancing and putting on masks and so forth, we should be able to go back to work sooner rather than later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: A recent Quinnipiac poll found two-thirds of Americans believe masks should be required in public. Some Trump supporters would rather face the virus without protection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, if he's not wearing a mask, I'm not going to wear a mask. If he's not wearing, I'm not wearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Another Trump distraction, his threat to move the upcoming GOP convention out of North Carolina in protest of that state's reopening plans. Now other states are vying for the event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The door is open, we want to have the conversation, whether it's RNC, DNC, whatever because I think it will be good for the people of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: One administration official who dared questioned the White House response, former Health and Human Services Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm stood by the report issued by her office on the shortages of medical supplies at the start of the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI GRIMM, FORMER DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL, HHS: We are impartial in what we do and, really, anything that is done that could impair independence, I think compromises the effectiveness of oversight of programs that are there to serve the American public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House. CHURCH: We just heard there in Jim's reporting, the president
criticizing his Democratic rival, Joe Biden for wearing a mask on Memorial Day. The former vice president responded to that in an exclusive interview with CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: He is a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way. I mean, every leading doc in the world is saying we should wear a mask when you're in a crowd.
The president is supposed to lead, not engage in folly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And for more on this I spoke to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine at George Washington University. Here's what he had to say.
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The president for reasons that only he knows completely, has taken the wrong side of this mask controversy. What we know with clarity is that masks prevent the spread of this virus. This is a respiratory pathogen. And masks prevent the spread of this virus from people largely who or maybe asymptomatic unknowingly that they have the virus to other people.
Asian countries have used this strategy to vastly reduce the amount of coronavirus in their populations and to put this pandemic down. And for reasons that only the president fully understands, the president has, at best, issued mixed feelings about -- about wearing masks in public.
And whether he thinks it makes him look weak or somehow it interrupts his narrative that we are getting back to normal, he is giving the wrong message to people around this country, and his messages have repercussions.
When the president speaks, people listen to him. When he doubts the necessity of wearing a mask and when he frankly refuses to wear a mask in public, people emulate his behavior. And that results in the spread of the virus. And undoubtedly, has cost lives in this country.
CHURCH: And doctor, what's interesting is a recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 64 percent of Americans believe that masks should be required in public. And we now see Japan, you mentioned Asian nations. Japan is being viewed as a success story with people their wearing masks. They bow instead of shaking hands and they follow really good hand hygiene. They also take shoes off in the home.
Should we all be following that sort of behavior to try to control this virus while we await a vaccine, the big hope? REINER: Absolutely. I think, you know, rather than painting a picture
that, you know, we are opening the country, we're moving back to normal, we need to really set more realistic expectations and create a new normal. And we are going to transition this country to an interim place where we learn how to function safely in this higher threat, higher viral threat environment.
And that includes wearing a mask when we go out, really anywhere, trying to keep our distance from people, redeveloping commercial enterprises that also value these safety features, learning how maybe to open restaurants in creative ways.
How about during the warmer months in this country, you know, closing streets down and cities and letting restaurants build tables out onto the streets so that people can spread out?
You know, let's create some confidence in the consumers. But let's -- let's develop a new normal. But this concept that we're just opening again and we're going back to the way things are is unrealistic and is bound to fail. The president is really on the wrong track when he does that.
CHURCH: And doctor, the Centers for Disease Control now says antibody tests might be giving the wrong results, perhaps half the time. And we still don't know if a person is immune, of course, if they do have a positive result, but talk to us about the medical response to this new finding on antibody tests?
REINER: Yes, very interesting. We do think that if you have had the virus you will develop antibodies. That's the immune competent person, that's what our system does. And if you have had the virus and you had detectable levels of IgG, IgA, IgM antibodies, you should probably be protected from this virus going forward, at least for some period of time.
The issue is when the FDA and the CDC encouraged commercial enterprises to develop antibody tests, they encourage this in a manner that did not require rigorous testing before the release of these tests.
And many of the tests are really insufficient in terms of having enough positive predictive value, being accurate enough to really truly understand whether the person is being tested and has these antibodies.
And couple that with testing a group of people where the incidents of the virus might be relatively low. These are people who have never tested positive. Maybe they're worried well. And you couple an imperfect positive predictive value with a low incidence of disease, you often get, sometimes, a 50/50 chance that the test is correct.
So, we're not really advocating antibody testing on any kind of large- scale right now. I think as we go forward, the test will get better. We'll understand what they mean. We'll understand how they predict immunity. And then we'll start to strategically use them or use them on a much larger scale.
I don't think it's ready for primetime now. I think most physicians in this country are very circumspect in terms of ordering these tests.
CHURCH: Dr. Jonathan Reiner talking to me a short time ago.
And we will get back to more coronavirus news in just a moment. But first, let's get to a developing story in Hong Kong.
Protests have erupted in the heart of the city's financial center. Police have reportedly fired pepper spray pellets to disperse the crowd. And it comes as the legislative council is debating another controversial bill from Beijing. This one seeks to criminalize insults against China's national anthem.
We are covering the story across the region. CNN's Steven Jiang is in Beijing. But first, let's go to Anna Coren who is live in Hong Kong. So, Anna, what is the scene there this hour?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, things have sort of gone down here in central. Police are still in the area. There are a lot of people just hanging around. And I will give you an idea. Just people standing here and waiting to see really what the police do.
A little bit earlier, there were pepper balls that were fired to disperse the crowd. Basically, anybody standing around that is an unlawful assembly. Somebody started playing Hong Kong's anthem, something that the protesters come up with last year. They started playing it on their phone.
Police raced in and seek to detain that person. We've seen numerous people being arrested, dragged away by police. But we know that there are demonstrations by protesters going on. Also, in Causeway Bay, also in Mong Kok.
This of course is happening whilst the Hong Kong legislative discuss and debates that national anthem bill. Interestingly, Rosemary, they have decided for the final vote to take place next week on June the 4th.
June the 4th of course being the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. And Hong Kong in the past has been the only place where people can come together, gather, and hold a vigil for the thousands who were massacred in Beijing.
But it would now seem, under this current climate, with the new national law that is being proposed and be voted on by the National People's Congress tomorrow in Beijing that there will be no vigil.
Already we know that social gatherings of more than eight has been extended through to June 5th. So, this isn't about people's health. This is now about politics. That social distancing law was put in place because of the coronavirus. Hong Kong has virtually eliminated COVID-19 here. So, they are using these laws to stop people from gathering. That
vigil won't be taking place and even today, Rosemary, this morning police issued a warning to all protesters that if anyone was to gather down in LegCo they would be arrested from lawful assembly and could be thrown in jail for up to five years.
It is fear and intimidation on the streets of Hong Kong. I spoke to Joshua Wong a bit earlier, he described it as a police state. So, the concern is protesters aren't necessarily going to turn out in the numbers but there is still the will, the will to fight, fight for Hong Kong's freedom. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Anna Coren, you can feel the tension just on the streets there. Even though it has calmed down somewhat, but it's definitely a sense there of something imminent. Anna Coren joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.
And Steven Jiang, let's go to you. There is considerable global concern here over what Beijing is doing right now, asserting control over Hong Kong while the rest of the world is distracted by a pandemic that started in China. What is going on here? And why now? What's the significance of that?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Rosemary, this is happening now because the Beijing leadership is running out of patience with Hong Kong authorities and their inability to pass a national security law.
So, you know, the National People's Congress, China's rubber parliament is meeting here right now. And the delegates are set to approve on Thursday this decision to enact this hugely controversial national security law in Hong Kong.
And we are starting to learn a bit more about what some of them are proposing behind closed doors, including at least one delegate from Hong Kong saying only Chinese judges in Hong Kong without a foreign passport or foreign residency should be allowed to preside over national security cases to avoid any conflict of interest.
Now this of course would have a major impact to Hong Kong's judiciary which still includes many non-Chinese national judges on its benches.
And also, we have learn from the authorities that once this law is enacted, one of the country's most powerful, but also secretive government agencies, the state security ministry, is likely going to set up its own operations in Hong Kong to carry out this law, because according to officials and state media, Hong Kong's own law enforcement officers lack relevant skillset and experience.
So, this prospect of Chinese state security agents roaming around Hong Kong to investigate and potentially arrest the people obviously very alarming and disturbing to many in the city as well.
But from Beijing's perspective, all of this is long overdue. That's why they decided to act now to take the matter into its own hands, almost 23 years after they regained control over Hong Kong sovereignty. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Steven Jiang joining us live from Beijing.
Well, the last the British governor Hong Kong, Chris Patten says the U.K. should stand up to China. He hopes the country will raise the question of Hong Kong's autonomy at the G7 meeting next month. Here is how he describes the current situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS PATTEN, FINAL BRITISH GOVERNOR OF HONG KONG: Well, there are a lot of things. First of all, China, which has broken its word, or rather, the communist party of China, which has broken its word about so many international agreements, is driving a coach and horses to the international agreement that it reached with Britain and a treaty launched at the United Nation to safeguard high degree of autonomy. Its rule of law and its freedoms for 50 years after 1997. And it's simply tearing that agreement up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Chris Patten speaking there.
Well, the British prime minister is said to face lawmakers over his handling of the pandemic amid growing calls for his key adviser to resign. We are live in London.
CHURCH: Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to be questioned by lawmakers in the coming hours after refusing to sack his top adviser, Dominic Cummings.
Cummings decision to travel outside London during the coronavirus lockdown has kicked off a political firestorm. He says he isn't stepping down despite growing calls for his resignation.
And CNN's Nic Robertson joins me now from London. Nic, we are just seeing here that another government minister has come out in support of Cummings, insisting he shouldn't resign. So, what can we expect from this grilling of the prime minister, and can Cummings survive this increasing pressure? Because even though these government ministers might support him and along with the prime minister, there's a lot of people who are really angry about this.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There are. One in seven people in the U.K. think that the adviser, Dominic Cummings, didn't follow the lockdown regulations. There has been a hit to the prime minister's popularity. There has been a hit to the popularity of the government.
It's taken about 9 percent -- percentage point hit over the last few days on this issue. And that's a very, very big drop in such a short space of time.
So, the prime minister is aware of the sort of public perception of the situation, about one in ten of his M.P.s have criticized his handling of this. But what we've just seen this cabinet, senior cabinet member by the prime minister is typical of what we've seen of those senior cabinet members. And the prime minister values loyalty. And these senior cabinet members are being loyal and standing around him and his handling of this so far.
The questioning today, the liaison committee, senior back bench M.P.s e questioning the prime minister for 90 minutes, 20 minutes of that will be dedicated to the Dominic Cummings issue. I suspect that the prime minister hopes that once he gets through today, then that this issue would just die away and drop off.
Certainly, that's what he wants. I mean, he wants the focus on sort of ending the lockdown, opening the shops, getting the schools back up and running. So, there is a lot, lot for him to focus on there. But I don't think this issue is done.
Dominic Cummings might survive in the short term, but I think certainly the way things look at the moment, the pressure on the prime minister will continue. Maybe some of the volume will be turned down a little bit, but this is not the end of this (Inaudible) with Dominic Cummings. That is for sure.
CHURCH: Yes, we'll watch to see what happens there. And while I got you, I do want to ask about Hong Kong. Because Chinese state media CGTN, was found to be in breach of U.K. television regulations Ofcom's rules for five news items reporting on the 2019 Hong Kong protest. What's the latest on this?
ROBERTSON: Yes, they are accused by the regulator Ofcom of failing to be properly impartial. Compare this to a year previously when Ofcom looked at a Russian broadcasters broadcast in the U.K. over its reporting on the poisoning of a Russian spy in Salisbury.
That broadcaster was again fined for not being -- not being duly impartial and was fined a quarter million dollars. It's not clear that Ofcom is going to do that but it is considering what it calls a statutory sanction.
I think when you look at this more broadly, you know, China's CTGN is their sort of international English language media arm of spreading the Chinese government's message and its interpretation of events that are happening around the world. And it has invested heavily in London, opening new studios recently, hiring a lot of new staff in London.
So, this is CTGN's operation in the U.K. is something that Chinese government invested heavily in. They don't want to see this sort level of control, if you will, being placed on them. How they respond isn't clear but it does sort of fit.
You know, Ofcom is an -- is a government but independently regulatory body. However, this does fit the mood music between Britain and China at the moment, criticizing China's handling of the situation in Hong Kong at the moment, and as well considering now the prime minister saying not using any 5G component -- 5G components from the Huawei manufacturer forward of 2023. That's a -- that's a step backwards in the relationship at the moment. This is going to hurt it further.
CHURCH: Yes. Good you're keeping an eye on that, particularly as we're watching what's happening in Hong Kong at this time.
Nic Robertson bringing us up to date live from London. Many thanks.
Well the travel industry is being forced to reinvent itself amid the coronavirus pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've gone through financial crisis on 9/11 here in New York, and now COVID-19. It will reshape us. It will reshape this industry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Ahead, how it's adapting during these very challenging times. Back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: The coronavirus and the measures put in place to contain it have taken a heavy toll on the global economy and particularly the travel industry. In just a few minutes, we will take a look at how the tourism sector is trying to adapt during this unprecedented time. But first, we are following signs of optimism on Wall Street.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell Tuesday, as the New York stock exchange reopened its trading floor. It had been on a two month break due to covid-19. Stocks rallied, with all three indices closing higher. Optimism over a potential vaccine and more of the economy reopening helped boost markets.
And we are also following Asian trading this hour. There it is, you can see Hong Kong Hang Seng three quarters of a percent there and the Nikkei in Japan move in the other direction, 0.7 up. And just a pretty much level for South Korea's KOSPI.
But CNN's Business emerging markets editor, John Defterios joins me now from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, even as medical experts warn of another peak and a second wave of covid-19 infections, global markets appear to think the worst is over. Is that what investors think right now?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It certainly is, Rosemary. There's two key factors behind these rallies that we see at least on Wall Street right now. One, that a vaccine is going to come sooner than they anticipated just a month ago. And number two, the business will learn how to live with covid-19 if society is going to have to do the same. And they are starting to get a sense that the U.S. economy is going to recover faster than expected. That's what the CEO JPMorgan Chase says.
It's a pretty sensible leader in fact, JP Diamond was a - you almost see a v-shaped recovery now that we see the progress on the medical front. However, that could take 12 to 18 months. And the markets are kind of planning for nine months ahead.
So, if you look Asian markets today that you talk about, it's a more sober assessment, if you will. We saw that (inaudible) rally because there's a better than $300 billion stimulus plan coming from the government there. But the other overriding concern right now is what's happening in Hong Kong and the perceived overreach by Beijing going into Hong Kong for security measures there.
And the response, we might see from the United States. Larry Kudlow, who is a key economic adviser at the White House was saying, that President Trump seems miffed by the response by China and they may move ahead with sanctions in the coming weeks as a result of it. So, it's not pause if you have the number one and number two economies of the world, U.S. and China going head to head, leading into the U.S. election. It could be a powerful tool to play to the Trump base, but it's not good for global growth.
And number three, Japan kind of getting overshadowed today. It's moving ahead with the covid-19 recovery plan. But right now the concern is about the trade tensions. Although Wall Street is playing that down right now looking at consumer confidence in United States and also housing sales going up at the same time.
CHURCH: All right. John Defterios, always great to chat with you. Joining us live from Abu Dhabi. Many thanks.
Well, over in Europe, French President, Emmanuel Macron has announced a nearly $9 billion aid package for France's ailing auto industry. Auto sales have dropped 80 percent compared to the same time last year. And as the government looks to get consumers buying again, it will provide subsidies for electric and hybrid vehicles.
A lack of demand for new vehicles has left around 400,000 cars sitting in factories and lots. Macron says by the end of June, the number will probably jump to 500,000. And CNN's Cyril Vanier has more now from Paris.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST: The French President announced and 8- billion-euro aid package for the French auto industry, which was dealt a massive blow during the health crisis. According to the President, some 400,000 cars are currently sitting in factories or parking lots unsold. Sales have dropped 80 percent compared to the same time last year.
So, the first thing the aid package does is heavily incentivize consumers to buy new cars, 7,000 euros off electric vehicles, 2,000 euros off for a new hybrid vehicle. All of those are government subsidies. The hope is that it will send consumers back into dealerships and boost consumption.
But the bailout is also aimed at making the industry greener. The President wants to turn France into the biggest electric car producer over the next few years. The government has put money on the table to modernize production lines, however, carmakers are not getting this money for free.
An exchange for the bailout, French carmakers are expected to keep their production lines in France and bring back some production, especially environmentally friendly technology. For ailing French carmaker, Renault, this measures could represent a lifeline. Renault was crippled by the coronavirus crisis, with its factories in France all shut in mid-March. It's expected to announce a 2 billion euro cost cutting plan later this week. Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.
CHURCH: And Spain has started a 10-day nationwide period of mourning for victims of covid-19. Flags are being flown at half-staff across the country to honor all who have died as a result of the pandemic. Spain's Prime Minister says this will be the longest official morning in the history of the country.
Spain has reported more than 27,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That is according to Johns Hopkins University. And that is among the highest number of fatalities in the world. The virus is now taking a toll on Spain's summer economy as well. But the country is hoping to improve its tourism industry when it welcomes back international travelers at the start of July. CNN's Atika Shubert has our report.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: German golfers on Spanish greens, more than four million German visitors come here to Mallorca every year. Tourism is the bedrock of Mallorca's economy and officials here saying 97 percent of the island's tourism relies on visitors from Europe, particular Germans. But like so many holiday destinations, the pandemic threatens to destroy Mallorca's summer season. Even if travel restrictions are eased, says course owner Dirk Duenkler.
DIRK DUENKLER, COURSE OWNER: The (inaudible) and people stay, I guess the other day, I was talking to a couple, someone at our club, and they said to me, we would like to go on holiday, but we prefer to go to a place where we can get by car, because when something happens, we just take our car and we drive home.
SHUBERT: Covid-19 has killed nearly 30,000 in Spain, but mostly in the big cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Mallorca is relatively unscathed, with far fewer infections. Restrictions are easing up and in coronavirus terms, the island is similar in fact to the low infection rates in Germany.
Mallorca it's the second home for many Germans, celebrities including supermodel Claudia Schiffer have her villas on this side of the island, and in fact more than 100 German holiday home owners have demanded the right to return here, but is there a way to do that safely?
Yes, says Miguel Oliu Barton, the coauthor of a new proposal that he says would work in the E.U. and beyond.
MIGUEL OLIU BARTON, PARIS-DAUPHINE UNIVERSITY: We all like beautiful beaches but we all want to be safe if there is a cluster of infection, or a new outbreak while we are having our vacation at the beach.
SHUBERT: Here's what that might look like, verified green zones that have the virus under control would allow free travel between them. A Bavarian visitor could fly directly to Mallorca even if national borders are closed. Testing and tracing, hospital capacity and other strict criteria would need to be E.U. certified, and countries have to prove they can keep green zones safe and isolated from red zones where the virus may still be spreading. Tourism officials Rosanna Morillo hopes the plan will work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we would stick to this, same situation as we are, we think it's safe for us and it is safe for them.
SHUBERT: Beaches across Spain are keen to show they can ensure visitor safety, devising apps to book blanket space on the beach, laying sand grits to enforce social distancing. Travel restrictions are still in effect, however. Until the plan is approve, the beaches will have to wait a little longer. Atika Shubert, CNN Mallorca, Spain.
CHURCH: And if you want to start traveling, again your next hotel stay could look and feel a whole lot different than before. With hotels impacted by the coronavirus, many are now retraining staff on what the future of hospitality will look like. Here is CNN's Richard Quest at the Four Seasons in New York.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: In this unprecedented crisis, hospitality is being reinvented. Covid-19 has changed everything.
The Four Seasons is one of New York's patios hotels in midtown Manhattan on 57th street, the hotel is closed of course, to the general public, instead, half of it is being used to house medical staff.
The art deco details are here. That is just about the only thing that has not changed. Mask on as I am now meeting other people. There's an alternate entrance where I'm greeted not by a concierge porter, rather a nurse in PPE.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's difficult for us right now, but still this is in our DNA. QUEST: Rudy (inaudible), the hotel's general manager recognizes that
this is hospitality in the era of covid-19.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hotels will need to operate differently. We are very fortunate here. We have huge spatial layout, you have two entrances, we can design the hotel. But if you don't have this opportunity and you have a small lobby and you have crammed restaurants, then you have to look at it differently.
QUEST: This Four Seasons is housing frontline workers, so their precautions are extreme. Now, that plan is being adapted for the general public. Rooms will be disinfected daily, and will receive black light inspections. Public spaces will be cleaned every hour, and kits with masks and hand sanitizer will be provided to guests.
The Four Seasons Global President, Christian Clerc says they are working with health experts from Johns Hopkins. The more they learn, the more their policies will evolve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want you to have an approached that is based on science. You know Richard there's so much background noise here. So, heed with care is about being founded in facts and in science, and keeping in mind that there is so much we don't know about this virus.
QUEST: The world is starting to move as a glimmer of increasing demand for hotel bookings. According to hospitality analysis from SDR, occupancy last week hit 32 percent in the United States, that is up from last month, but let's be blunt, it's less than half of what it was this time last year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not going to be a smooth ride. My sense is that every part of the world, every region, is going to move at a different pace. And you see it already, right, around the world, different parts of the world, different region applying different approaches.
QUEST: All hotels are now working out the logistics of how to reopen in a covid world. Should room service be allowed in? How often do you clean? Guests who don't want their rooms cleaned, sanitizing all of these rooms on a daily basis. Should gyms be allowed? Spas? The list goes on and on, but you never thought you have to deal with this in your career - this thing in your career?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, never. Never was, that is a new one. I've had gone through financial crisis and 9/11 here in New York and now covid- 19. It will reshape us. It will reshape this industry.
QUEST: The great advantage of a hotel is it is a refuge from home life, so said George Bernard Shaw. Now, grand hotels like the Four Seasons have to redefine what it means to be lying host. Richard Quest, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: And still to come, out of work and nowhere to go. We take a look at the worsening plight of Lebanon's migrant workers as the country plunges further into crisis.
CHURCH: Well, after re-imposing confinement measures during the Eid Holidays, some places in the Middle East are easing restrictions once again. Dubai is allowing gyms, cinemas, and some entertainment venues to reopen after they were ordered shut weeks ago. Saudi Arabia says mosques will be able to welcome worshippers starting on May 31st. The holy sites of Mecca, however, will remain closed.
And Kuwait will end its 24-hour curfew on May 30th. The government says it will transition to a more limited curfew as it eases restrictions. So, let's get to our Jomana Karadsheh, usually based in Istanbul for us. Today, joining us from Hereford, in England. Good to see you, Jomana. And as countries across the Middle East begin to ease these confinement measures, the plight of migrant workers in Lebanon has become - has come into sharp focus, hasn't it? So, what more are you learning about that?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Rosemary, this lockdown in Lebanon officials say has helped them contain the spread of the virus, they have eased some of those restrictions but they have also extended the country's lockdown until June 12th. And while it has had the impact of suppressing these spread to an extent, right, now the impact it has had on Lebanon's already struggling economy has been devastating.
And as you can imagine, those most impacted as is always the case are the most vulnerable communities like migrant workers, you know, as a result of Lebanon's financial and currency crisis, migrant domestic workers in Lebanon over the past few months have had pay cuts. They have lost about 50 percent of their wages, because of the currency crisis. Some have not been paid in months. And others have lost work altogether.
KARADSHEH: There are times Juliana's mother thinks of giving her up, maybe someone else can give her four-year-old a good life. I's unthinkable, but what would you do when you have nothing when you would do anything to protect your child?
A few months ago, the single mother was making just about enough to pay rent and feed her daughter, but since the coronavirus lockdown, she has had no work. She has not been able to pay rent in two months, and she is now facing eviction. She slept on the street back home in Ethiopia and here in Beirut. The thought of her daughter being homeless keeps her up at night.
Since my childhood, I've had a very bad life, she says. I don't want my daughter to have the same life that I've had. Like Aya, an estimated 250, 000 migrant women, most from Ethiopia, came to Lebanon to be housemates, making as little as $150 U.S. a month. Many have endured years of abuse and exploitation, but they have experienced nothing like what they are going through right now.
The coronavirus lockdown hit an economy already on the verge of collapse, and now most Lebanese can no longer afford domestic workers, leaving thousands of migrant women jobless and penniless.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are strong women helping their families, taking care of their families, and paying education, building a house, those women are don't have even food on their table and they are asking for help to feed their kids and to really survive.
KARADSHEH: Imane El Hayek, set up her group to empower Ethiopian domestic workers, now her volunteers are working around the clock to feed them, relying on donations through crowd funding. Every day, the list of those in need is growing.
IMANE EL HAYEK, CASEWORKER, ANTI-RACISM MOVEMENT: The situation is terrible.
KARADSHEH: The anti-racism movement and advocacy group defending the rights of migrant workers and Lebanon is now, for the first time ever, having to do relief work. Distributing food supplies to 2,000 people a month, but so many need more than food to survive.
EL HAYEK: There's a shattering of cases that were just thrown out of their employer's house against their will, and who are now literally stranded on the streets will the official shelters being closed or are full because of the corona crisis, would their emphasis on consulates being nonresponsive, and we literally have no place to put these people.
KARADSHEH: Some are already sleeping on the streets. With news of repatriation flights resuming, there's a desperate wait outside of the Ethiopian consulate. Some have been here for days, they just want to go home, but even that comes with a price tag. Most can't afford more than $1,000 for a plane ticket and the governments of mandatory 14-day quarantine leaving them trapped in this limbo stranded and alone.
KARADSHEH: And you know, Rosemary it's not just this wait during lockdowns for this repatriation flights that haven't happen in weeks. So, the fact that it is going to cost these women what they would be making in a year if they are lucky to get back home to pay for these flights.
There is also the fact that so many of them do not have their passports. Their travel documents are being held by employers and recruitment agencies under Lebanon's controversial sponsorship or Kafala system. And then there's the big concern of what actually happens to them when they do get back home, if they get back home.
For example, the woman we spoke to in our piece, Aya, she says she doesn't want to go back home, because she has nothing there and she thinks that her daughter and her will end up on the streets in Ethiopia like they would in Lebanon.
CHURCH: Impossible situations for so many people in the midst of this pandemic and the economic situation that it has triggered. Jomana Karadsheh joining us there, bringing us the very latest on what's happening there in Lebanon. I appreciate it.
Well, in the coming hours, SpaceX is set for an historic launch. A look into the company and the man behind it when we return.
CHURCH: NASA and SpaceX are now preparing to send two astronauts to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled to take place in Florida in just over 12 hours from now. If successful, it will mark the first time a commercial aerospace company has been used to send astronauts into earth's orbit. In preparation, NASA's Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley spent quarantine together.
And as we countdown to the SpaceX launch, CNN's Clare Sebastian looks at the controversies and conquest of its founder, Elon Musk.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Elon Musk's unfiltered style and unedited tweets haven't tempered his rise. Tesla is the clear market leader in electric vehicles, the company stock price has quadrupled in the past year and now he is bringing back human space flights to American soil.
DAN IVES, SENIOR EQUITY RESEARCH ANALYST, WEDBUSH SECURITIES: It's almost viewed as Teflon flight. In terms of when you look at a stock that is worth of $800 going through this covid-19 pandemic as a car company and everything that Tesla and Musk has been through on the cusp of launching another rocket into space with SpaceX, the Musk brand has gone much more - what I would say much culture iconic status amongst his fans.
SEBASTIAN: Controversy is a big part of the brand, and that has also hit new highs in the past few months. Musk tweeting, quote, the coronavirus panic is dumb and proclaiming there would probably be no new cases in the U.S. by the end of April. Tesla's most recent earnings call, he railed against lockdown orders.
ELON MUSK, TESLA CEO: They say they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist.
SEBASTIAN: His frustration culminating in mid-May when he reopens his California factory in defiance of local regulations. Well, he eventually reaches a deal with the county. Experts say the move still carries considerable reputation, a risk from Musk, should the client have health and safety issues later.
Not enough to deter a Presidential tweet, in support of Musk battle to reopen. IVES: As rebellious as he is, he has almost become viewed as such an
asset within the country to both state government officials and others, that have given transportation logistical (inaudible), and that is why, I think you continue to see that status elevate. Especially not just on the Tesla side, but SpaceX is big piece.
SEBASTIAN: Brand Musk has withstood multiple spots with investors. A lawsuit by U.S. regulators overs a series of tweets that cost him the chairmanship of Tesla.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Musk tweets were false and misleading.
SEBASTIAN: And a trial for defamation, which he won. And yet, as a global pandemic up ends the auto market, competition and electric vehicles mounts, and he takes a giant leap into human space travel, the ultimate disrupters brand faces a whole new set of challenges. Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news from all around the world in just a moment.