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China Tightens Its Grip on Hong Kong; Coronavirus Cases Explode across the United States; Trump Denies Seeing Intelligence on Russian Bounty Plot; Report: China Passes National Security Law For Hong Kong; E.U. Members Set To Finalize Travel Restrictions; Israel Expected To Move Forward With Annexation Plans. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired June 30, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM. China tightens its grip on Hong Kong. A new national security law grants Beijing sweeping authority over the territory.
More than a dozen U.S. states backtrack on their reopening plans. The WHO warning the worst is yet to come.
And how one man shattered expectations again in another major ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
NEWTON: And we are following breaking news this hour. China's parliament has reportedly passed a controversial national security law for Hong Kong. Beijing has said it was aimed at punishing secession, subversion and terrorism.
Critics argue it will erode the city's civil and political freedoms. The U.S. said it would end the export of defense equipment to Hong Kong, citing China's effort to, quote, "violate its own commitments to the territory."
CNN's Will Ripley, joins us now from Hong Kong. And Steven Jiang is with us from Beijing.
Steven, first to you, it is really interesting the way that this is happening. People do not know even what this law and tails. And yet Beijing felt bold enough to get it passed.
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: That's right, because they feel this is long overdue, almost 23 years after Hong Kong sovereignty returned to Beijing.
For many years, the Hong Kong government tried to pass a similar law, that was in 2003. Then it triggered huge protests on the street. And we have seen many more protests and demonstrations against Beijing, including this protest movement that we saw last year that shook Beijing leadership, proving to them that Hong Kong has become a bastion of anti-China sentiment and activities.
Not only are they seeing a growing pro-democracy movement but a pro- independence movement, being investigated by in foreign powers. That's at least how they see it. That is why they consider this law not only necessary but increasingly urgent, to defend the core national interest in the territory, sovereignty and security.
That is why Beijing decided to take this matter into their own hands and by passing the Hong Kong legislature with the 161 members of the standing committee behind closed doors. And now apparently they have voted for it.
NEWTON: In terms of reaction on the ground, to you, Will, pro democracy activist Joshua Wong saying he is now stepping down but he's also writing on Twitter, this is the end of Hong Kong. He said it is the beginning of the reign of terror.
How chilling do you think this will be on the streets of Hong Kong, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think we are certainly seeing a chilling effect, in terms of what was supposed to be a lunchtime protest. Here I remember last summer, this very intersection would be so packed with people when there was a call for lunchtime protest. And it would shut down central Hong Kong for hours.
But you can see now we just zoom over and we see officers walking around and firefighters and there are zero protesters. That is telling. The emptiness is telling and it shows that people, at least at this stage, seem unwilling to risk the massive penalties and the charges, the life altering charges, that an arrest for protesting could result in.
You think about one year ago tomorrow, on July 1st, there was a massive peaceful march through the city of Hong Kong turned violent. It was a turning point where protesters stormed the Legislative Council building and occupied it for many hours.
They sprayed things on the wall, like "Hong Kong is not China" and "Destroy the Chinese Communist Party." The penalty they would have faced but versus what they face now, more severe and for the time being that is keeping protesters away.
But look, it all depends on how you view it. There are people who think this is an awful day for Hong Kong, the lack of demonstration right now is a tragedy. And there are others who are probably very happy to see traffic moving, businesses open and not shuttered like we saw for so many months last year.
This is the desired effect of this legislation, from the Chinese point of view. They do not want to see the kind of civil unrest that they are calling a national security threat, fueled by foreign interference.
RIPLEY: And that is one of the most tricky things about this law that we don't quite understand yet because China believes the protesters were being fueled by foreign entities, whether it be the government or the media, what are the penalties going to be?
We don't have the answers to those questions right now. And we don't see the kind of demonstrations since this law was announced. We will have to see what happens tomorrow on July 1st, the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British rule to Chinese rule. That traditionally is a day when there are big demonstrations. But we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.
NEWTON: And a lot to come in the hours ahead in Hong Kong. And we were showing that video from last year. And people don't know, just for that kind of protest, if they could face severe punishment, including life in prison. Will Ripley in Hong Kong.
Steven Jiang in Beijing, we will continue to follow this story in the hours to come, appreciate it.
We are getting more reaction to the passage of that law. Japan is calling it regrettable and Taiwan's president said it proves the one country two systems policy between Hong Kong in the mainland is no longer credible. She added that China once promised that Hong Kong will remain unchanged for 50 years. The passing of the national security law has indeed greatly weakened the commitment.
In a letter to the Chinese central government, Philip Dykes, chairman of the Chinese Bar Association, said the secrecy of the law was genuinely extraordinary. He also called on the government to make it clear how citizens' minimum rights will be guaranteed.
Philip Dykes joins me now.
You called for transparency and yet, at this point in time, there are zero details. As I just said, what was normally taken for granted on the streets of Hong Kong, you could at least protest peacefully, what do you think will, be the effect on the streets of Hong Kong and how will it change the character of what democracy activists can do there?
PHILIP DYKES, CHINESE BAR ASSOCIATION: There is natural apprehension, as to what this law is saying exactly. I repeat, we are still waiting for the law to be published. That may occur sometime later this afternoon or early this evening when it's finished discussion in Beijing and it's published in Hong Kong.
Then we will have a clear idea. But that what really matters is what will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow was the anniversary of the handover, the occasion of peaceful protests for over 20 years. The government has banned protests tomorrow.
But there is expectation that many people would ignore the instruction not to assemble and will turn out on the streets. So I look to tomorrow, which is likely be the day when the new law comes into operation.
NEWTON: Which we may find out about in the coming hours. What was incredibly interesting, what was done with this law, at least reportedly, is they also created a new security agency to actually enforce this in Hong Kong. And it will be -- it's rumored to contain some kind of security force, that will gather intelligence on what people are doing.
If they're being subversive in any way or committing any kind of treasonous act.
Does that worry you?
Do you believe it will actually be, as Joshua Wong has said, an instrument of terror on the streets of Hong Kong?
DYKES: To be fair, not seeing the law yet, I'd like to see what the details of this is. But it has potential to cause apprehension or fear among ordinary people, because they think that the law operates in a similar way to state organs on the mainland.
NEWTON: What's been interesting here is the international community, they have tried to intervene, with the rhetoric, certainly. Even a few hours ago, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo, again tweeting, certainly his comments, saying this is not acceptable.
Yet do you expect the international community to be able to do anything about this whatsoever?
DYKES: They may step up their condemnatory (ph) reviews. I will be interested to see what the United Kingdom has to say because along with the people of (INAUDIBLE), they negotiated the agreement in 1985 to return of Hong Kong to the (INAUDIBLE) of China. So they have a special stake in what is going on in Hong Kong. And I would expect some form of words (ph), not just (INAUDIBLE).
NEWTON: But will it have any teeth?
Will it really do anything?
DYKES: We don't know. We'll see, we'll see what is said. It seems that Hong Kong government is prepared strong words and worse and they are in the middle of saying, do your worst. But as I say, we won't see the law so we don't know what the response will be.
NEWTON: As you say, momentous times ahead, in the hours and days going forward, for Hong Kong and certainly with the world watching. Philip Dykes, chairman of the Counsel of the Hong Kong Bar Association, we thank you for your time.
DYKES: Thank you. Bye-bye.
(MUSIC PLAYING) NEWTON: Now in bits and pieces, many U.S. states and local governments, are taking steps to try and beat back a surge in coronavirus cases; 16 states are either rolling back reopening plans or putting them on hold.
I want you to look at this carefully. On the left, where we are now in the pandemic, you see the red. It's remarkable how things were reversed from just Memorial Day. Essentially a little over a month ago.
Right now only four states, are seeing their numbers go down, the largest hotspots, are in the Sun Belt, places like Florida, Texas, California and Arizona. I want you to take a look at this map, these are the states that do and do not, have some kind of rule requiring face masks.
One third of the country doesn't have any statewide mandate. Experts are adamant, that wearing masks, along with social distancing, are key to keeping the virus from spreading. The U.S. continues in fact to account for about a quarter of all the world's coronavirus cases and deaths.
Johns Hopkins University reports over 10 million cases and more than half a million people have died. Experts warn, it is a race against time and a tough one to try and reverse these trends. CNN's Jason Carroll has more.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At least a dozen states are pausing or rolling back reopening plans, the country's health secretary warning the window is closing to get the virus under control.
ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: This is a real call to action. We have all got to as Americans act responsibly.
CARROLL (voice-over): New Jersey canceling plans to allow indoor dining, while Florida now leads in new coronavirus cases. Starting today, Jacksonville, the state's largest city and site of the Republican convention, mandating masks indoors and outdoors. Bars in the state now closed for the second time and some beaches closed ahead of the 4th of July holiday.
MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ (R-FL), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: We are seeing a rise in the infection rate of young people. They will in turn bring it in to their parents and grandparents and then we will have a problem.
CARROLL (voice-over): In Texas, health experts seeing a sharp increase in infections among young people there as well. The governor says over the past two weeks, the daily number of cases have spiked from an average of 2,000 to roughly 5,000. Some people now lining up and waiting hours for a COVID test.
JUDGE CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS: Hospitalizations here in Dallas have doubled for COVID just this month and also in our region. We're at the tipping point down in Harris County, where Houston is.
CARROLL (voice-over): One bar in East Lansing, Michigan, shows how infectious the virus can be. The Health Department is asking patrons who visited Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub earlier this month to self-quarantine after roughly 85 people contracted COVID-19.
Bars ordered closed in seven counties now in California. It was one of the first states to issue a stay at home order and now sounding the alarm after seeing a surge in cases there.
LT. GOV. ELENI KOUNALAKIS (D-CA): We're not out of the woods. We have to continue to take every single possible precaution.
CARROLL (voice-over): New data obtained by CNN shows some of the hardest hit states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, do not have the amount of contact tracers they need to stop the spread of the virus.
Contact tracers follow and monitor contacts of an infected person to see whether they become ill.
CARROLL: And this bit of developing news, after continuing with reopening efforts in Arizona, even with a surging number of cases, the governor came out and has said that state is moving in the wrong direction.
The governor has ordered all bars, restaurants, gyms and water parks closed for the next 30 days. The governor is also coming out and encouraging people to wear masks -- Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
NEWTON: Dr. Emily Porter is an emergency room physician, she joins me now from Austin, Texas.
Thank you for joining us, Dr. Porter.
So Texas is still battling this virus and you heard Miguel's piece there.
NEWTON: Right now this hour you in Austin, Texas, and what do you feel most?
DR. EMILY PORTER, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Overwhelming the system. We flattened the curve. We closed down in March and we held out. And we watched New York and California get slammed and I don't know that we learned a lot because Memorial Day happened. And then everybody thought everything had gone away and so since May 27th, in one month, we have tripled our positivity rate. The positivity rate matters more than number of cases. You can say, well, you are testing more people. But your positivity rate should go down if your cases aren't going up. So the number of people we are testing is getting higher and I spoke to a colleague here that they can't even order tests through the local lab anymore, because the system is overwhelmed. So they are now back to reserving the tests for those who are sick or hospitalized. And that is a problem.
NEWTON: That is a huge problem, because with any asymptomatic spread, you cannot get to that. And I've been watching your Twitter feed, you tell like it is. Few days ago you said wear masks. Unless you want to be intubated by a gynecology intern July 1st who did her last semester of med school via Zoom.
You're obviously using humor to get to an incredibly serious point. You really do fear hospital capacity and, as you heard from the doctor earlier, you fear that that will cost lives.
PORTER: Absolutely, that was totally tongue in cheek, it wasn't meant to offend any doctor. I didn't know where the bathroom was until about August 15th. That's what I meant. Gynecologists are amazing surgeons but intubating is not their wheelhouse, not to imply that people won't be supervised.
But the joke was that if things get so out of control, it is literally going to be all hands on deck. And because physicians and health care workers are so caring, they will do everything they can. And they should not be put in that position.
They need to be put in a position where they are comfortable taking care of people appropriately. But if we don't stop this then we don't know what might happen. It was obviously a joke.
NEWTON: But I think it made the point though, right, people that are spoken to, for five months now, we're on the front lines of this virus and they continually tell me, that we will do all we can to save the lives but try to help us.
PORTER: Right, now mask wearing, is not comfortable expression, especially in a Texas summer but it's about you and also about people you can protect. And I can understand people not wanting to get a vaccine that's new to the market, that's a challenge, it's a needle it's something that might not have years of data.
But masks are easy. Doctors wear them for 12 -- some of these ear, nose and throat surgeons do these long surgeries and nobody is passing out from rebreathing their own carbon dioxide. It's just the right thing to do and it's something you can do to help out your neighbor and all the people on the frontlines who are really trying to help you.
NEWTON: I see this unfolding in your own state right now. And one mystery that the economy still can't explain, is it bad luck because many people point to a place like California and say look, they shut down early, they stayed shut down longer, they are still experiencing a spike.
From your experience with this virus, what do you think it is? PORTER: I think that the asymptomatic spread makes it very, very difficult to control. Because if people are liking it to the flu, if people have the flu, they don't feel well enough to go get out, to go to a restaurant or bar or a beach. They feel awful so they stay home.
I don't think that there are people out there, who are intentionally spreading but the asymptomatic spread, people can be doing it unintentionally. We know that mask wearing reduces the spread to others. It protects other people. That is why it's so important, even if you're not having symptoms.
And the young people, I think the fact that they know the mortality rate is a little bit less and they tend to engage more with risk taking behaviors, as most of us did, we are not facing our mortality in quite the same way. So the good news is that the mortality rate has gone down as cases have gone up but the danger is taking it back to Mom or Grandma.
NEWTON: And it just seems there's so much that we've been repeating for the last few months again, it needs to be repeated. Thank you, Dr. Emily Porter, thank you for your contributions and for joining us today from Houston.
PORTER: Thank you, Paula.
NEWTON: Now there are far more questions than answers, U.S. lawmakers want the White House to explain the intelligence reports, on the alleged Russian plot to have U.S. troops killed.
And the former police officers charged in George Floyd's death have now appeared in court. A look at when their trial could begin.
NEWTON: President Trump denies being briefed that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops. But U.S. officials say that the intelligence was in fact included in one of the daily briefings at some point in the spring.
U.S. lawmakers from both parties are demanding answers as to what was known and when. Kaitlan Collins has more.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (voice-over): The White House adamant today that President Trump was never briefed on intelligence reports that Russia was willing to pay militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He was not personally briefed on the matter.
COLLINS: But the press secretary struggled to explain why Trump wasn't told about the stunning intelligence or what he'll do in response.
MCENANY: I won't speculate whether this intelligence is verified or not verified, I won't get ahead of the president on further actions. But I just point out that no one --
COLLINS (on camera): You're not disputing that that's not true.
MCENANY: There are dissenting opinions within the intelligence community, I can confirm with you right now that there's no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations.
COLLINS (voice-over): There doesn't have to be a consensus among the intelligence community to brief the commander in chief. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee said he is concerned that Trump wasn't briefed on anything with a hint of credibility that would endanger our service members much less put a bounty on their lives.
A congressional briefing was hastily thrown together today after lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the administration to tell Congress what they know.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't know what the Russians have on the president politically, personally, financially, or whatever it is, but he wants to ignore. Something is wrong with this picture.
COLLINS: The press secretary says Pelosi is playing politics. But the calls for more information have been bipartisan. Liz Cheney, the third highest ranking Republican in the House, also said the White House must explain what's being done in response to hold Vladimir Putin accountable if the intelligence is accurate.
Today, the White House did not say what its response would be, or whether there will be one at all.
(on camera): You don't think the report is true?
MCENANY: I'm telling you this, that there's no consensus in the intelligence community and that the dissenting opinions from some of the intelligence community exist.
COLLINS (voice-over): The intelligence was first reported by "The New York Times," and has been confirmed by several outlets, including CNN. And "The Washington Post" is now citing intelligence assessments that say those bounties resulted in the deaths of U.S. several troops.
[02:25:00] COLLINS: Now we should note CNN has not confirmed that report from "The Washington Post." Eight Republican lawmakers have been briefed on these intelligence assessments. They were briefed by the national security adviser, the Director of National Intelligence and the chief of staff.
And we are told that Democrats are up next and they're going to get their briefing Tuesday morning at 8:00 am.
So the question will be, do Democrats come out of this satisfied?
Do they get the answers that they wanted to know about this?
Some Republicans said they didn't get those answers they wanted, some Republicans said they still had a lot more questions about what was going on. So that will be the question of the day on Tuesday and whether or not the administration is going to schedule a briefing for all members of Congress instead of just these select few that they did over the last few days -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
NEWTON: Now a surprise win for abortion rights advocates in the United States. The Supreme Court has struck down a Louisiana law, meant to make obtaining abortions more difficult, if not impossible.
Now the law barred doctors from performing the procedure, unless they had admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Critics say they said they would've closed nearly every clinic in the state. But the top court called the law unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, cast the deciding vote.
Trial date meantime, for former the police officer charged with killing George Floyd has been tentatively set for March 8th of next year. Derek Chauvin was charged with second degree murder and appeared by video at a pretrial hearing on Monday. Three other former officers, charged with aiding and abetting, appeared in person.
A key takeaway from the hearing was a message from the judge, saying enough with public comments in the case. He warned the defense and the prosecution that the trial could be moved out of Minneapolis if they did not stop but he did not issue a formal gag order, either. Another hearing has been set for September 11th.
The video of Floyd's death, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck, set off nationwide protests, international protests. On Monday, Amelia Brace, an Australian journalist, testified in front of a congressional committee about being struck by police outside the White House during a demonstration.
Part of the confrontation is in this video. You can see it happening right there, you see that is under coverage of the protest this month. Crowds were forcibly displaced to make way for President Trump, who was staging photos of a Bible in front of St. John's Church. Brace said journalists came under attack. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMELIA BRACE, JOURNALIST: As a reporter I have no interest in becoming the story but over recent weeks many of us have been left with no choice.
I've been shocked to see how many journalists have been attacked, beaten and detained just for doing their jobs.
Covering protests does carry unavoidable risks but the media's role is essential. We don't just have a right to be there; we have an obligation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Still to come, two countries moving in very different directions. How some American leaders could learn a thing or two from Italy on how to handle the coronavirus.
And also how the hardest hit country in Africa turned a recreation center into a field hospital. We will take you live inside Cape Town's newest effort to fight the virus.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: China's Parliament reportedly has now passed that highly controversial national security law for Hong Kong. Chinese state media says the law is aimed at stopping subversion, terrorism, and colluding with what it calls foreign forces. But critics say it will be used to crush dissent, even bring about the end of the one country, two systems framework.
Official details of the law are expected to be published within hours, but in her weekly news conference, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it would be inappropriate to comment on the law while the legislature is still meeting.
The head of the World Health Organization says the Coronavirus is far from over. He says the pandemic is actually speeding up and most people remain susceptible. The WHO is sending a team to China next week to try and better understand how the virus originated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WHO: The worst is yet to come. I'm sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst. And that's why we have to bring our acts together.
Some countries are now experiencing a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies. Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: OK, meantime, vacations in Europe aren't looking very likely for Americans this summer. The European Union is expected to finalize its new travel restrictions in the next few hours. CNN Fred Pleitgen has details.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Brussels, E.U. ambassadors have completed a list of 15 countries whose citizens will be allowed to travel back here to the European Union come July 1st. Now, it's not clear what the countries are that are on that list, and certainly the government's still have to OK that list. However, it is highly unlikely that Americans are going to be able to travel back to Europe as of July 1st.
The European Union has always said that there's nothing political about those decisions. They say all of it depends on the Coronavirus situation in the origin countries. And the Europeans say that Coronavirus situation has to be equal or better than the average of the European Union.
Clearly, with the surge is going on in the U.S. right now, that is not the case. And so Americans most probably are going to be lumped in for instance with Brazilians and Russians and not be able to come back here to Europe anytime soon. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Brussels, Belgium.
NEWTON: OK, now, remember early in the pandemic, I know hard to even take your mind back there. But remember, the U.S. was still relatively unscathed and no one wanted to wind up like Italy, where things were definitely out of control and life was shut down. Yes, you guessed it. We can fast forward a few months and now Italy has a handle on things it seems. They are trying to get back to normal, the U.S. not even close. Ben Wedeman reports on two countries going in very opposite directions.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Italy was the canary in the Coronavirus coal mine. Proof that the virus would not stay in China. I saw it firsthand.
You just need to look at the death notices here. This woman died on the seventh of March. This man died on the eighth of March. This woman died on the seventh of March.
Americans looked on in horror. The U.S. Surgeon General warned them to take heed.
JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL, UNITED STATES: We have the same number of cases now that Italy had two weeks ago, and we have a choice to make. Do we want to really lean into social distancing and mitigation strategies and flatten the curve or just want to keep going on with business as usual and end up being Italy?
WEDEMAN: Comparing the two countries from the start of their respective outbreaks, it's clear American cases spread much faster. Today, Italy has flattened its curve, the United States has not. And while the death rate in Italy was slightly higher, American health experts say it's just a lagging indicator.
ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: It has turned out that America took it even less seriously than Italy. And while we did lock down maybe a little earlier, we just -- we didn't sustain the lockdown. We didn't really ramp up our testing as much as we needed. And then we opened up way too early and way too aggressively.
WEDEMAN: Just like Italy before them, some American hospitals are now running out of beds reliving Italy's mistakes. But the government in Rome took on a centralized response.
We managed, the Prime Minister says, to get through the lockdown because we developed a national plan.
JHA: What we have right now in the United States is a president and a federal government that has decided to throw in the towel and let every state figure this out on their own.
WEDEMAN: Life in Rome is slowly returning to normal. The cafes crowded with patrons sipping appetitive.
Why did the United States see what was happening here and learn those lessons?
WALTER RICCIARDI, ITALIAN REPRESENTATIVE, WHO EXECUTIVE BOARD: Very difficult to understand.
Dr. Walter Ricciardi advises the Italian government throughout the crisis. He has confidence in American scientists, America's leaders, maybe not so much.
RICCIARDI: Some of the best researchers and professionals are in the United States. But I think some decision-makers are underestimating the severity of this disease.
WEDEMAN: Ben Wedeman, CNN Rome.
NEWTON: Now, in Mexico, it reported about 3,800 new cases Monday, bringing its number of infections to more than 220,000. Colombia is also seeing a surge. But in other corners of Latin America, that's just not the case. Matt Rivers shows us the situation in the region.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that the situation in Brazil is the worst in Latin America and the Caribbean. They've recorded hundreds of thousands of new cases over the past several weeks. But unfortunately, when you look around it, other countries in this part of the world, some of the bigger, more populous countries, there's not a lot to be happy about.
When it comes to COVID-19 in Latin America, there is a lot of bad news out there, with many countries continuing to report significant increases in new cases and deaths, many centered on outbreaks in the regions numerous mega cities.
For example, 97 percent or so of Argentina's new cases were found in the capital Buenos Aires as President Alberto Fernandez has reimposed a lockdown in the region's metropolitan area. The President himself has been in isolation since June 17th due to the dangers of that increasing case total.
Colombia has now surpassed China in its number of confirmed cases over 3,000 more positive cases reported Sunday has the country nearing 100,000 overall. Some are calling for the reinstatement of a total lockdown as a result, after the government allowed the economy to partially reopen earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Chile registered more than 4,000 new cases for the second day in a row. The country has the third most cases in Latin America and a death toll of more than 5,500. But its health minister did say deaths slowed a bit Monday declaring the country is quote, maintaining a trend of emerging improvement.
And while COVID-19 keeps throwing punches across the continent, some smaller countries have managed to dodge the worst of it. In Uruguay, not even 1,000 cases have been registered and schools in the capital of Montevideo welcome students back to class on Monday.
And in what seems like the first time in a while, there's news not entirely related to Coronavirus, as Mexico's President told reporters he will go to Washington to meet with President Trump. There's no confirmed date yet, but President Lopez Obrador says he wants to go to mark the imminent implementation of the USMCA free trade deal, the new agreement that's replacing NAFTA.
But some are saying that's not a good idea considering the Mexican president has spent time recently with the Mexican finance minister and that minister just tested positive for the Coronavirus. Now, the president says he has no symptoms. He hasn't even taken a test yet. But he says he would consider doing so if that's what it's going to take to get a meeting at the White House. Matt Rivers CNN, Mexico City.
NEWTON: Now, to South Africa, by far the hardest-hit country on the African continent. It has now converted a huge recreational center in Cape Town into a COVID-19 field hospital. South Africa has recorded more than 144,000 cases of Coronavirus and 2,500 deaths CNN's David McKenzie is with us this hour from Johannesburg.
And I appreciate you being here, David. it seems that for very good reason, they need to be prepared with this field hospital.
[02:40:07] DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. I'm actually in Cape Town, Paula. And I'm here right at the epicenter of South Africa's outbreak. This is morning here in Cape Town. There's a clinic here where people are lining up. Many of them may be getting COVID-19 test today. They've set up a time.
And if you look behind me, this is just a sense of how crowded these areas are, how difficult, Paula it would be to isolate, even socially distance. But in this place, in this crowded part of Cape Town, as the health minister says, cases are surging across South Africa, and they getting into the most challenging periods in this pandemic.
They've set up a field hospital, Doctors Without Borders, were they using innovative techniques that they think could stave off the very worst of this pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: People were predicting a catastrophe in places like the Cape Flats in Khayelitsha. Has it happened and at this stage will it happen?
CLAIRE KEENE, MEDICAL COORDINATOR, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES: Even our best models were able to predict what we're seeing now. And we're definitely have a lower peak than what we'd expected but it looks like it'll go on for longer.
MCKENZIE: So this is a marathon.
KEENE: This, this is a marathon. And I think people need to get a reality check and accept that this is here and that it's not going to go away anytime soon. We've used the time well, and we've -- we were always going to question ourselves; did we use it enough? Did we do enough with the time that we would given during lockdown during when the epidemic slowed? And every death is heavy on the healthcare workers that fought to save that person's life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Every death is heavy, but every success they have is a triumph for those doctors and nurses, Paula. They say that people come into for three to six days. If they recuperate, then it's the oxygen, it's the steroid treatment. It's the quick interventions that are making the difference here in South Africa.
Despite the challenges that you see just surrounding me with the lack of resources, it's that community-based health working system that gets people into those treatment centers quickly, and helps them recover. But I must say the rate -- the rate of cases accelerating is very alarming in South Africa. The next few weeks will be a key test of whether they did do enough to avoid the very worst of this pandemic here on the epicenter of the entire continent. Paula?
NEWTON: You know, and the doctor that you spoke to, you could really hear the anxiety in her voice saying, did we do enough, did we have enough time. Do you feel like the government is on the verge of yet another pivot like they will do more in the next few days, take more drastic measures to try and avoid more of a surge?
MCKENZIE: Well, just this morning, the Health Minister has hinted that They might be more localized locked down here in South Africa. They've done everything they can, they say. But because of the economy hurting so much, and the unemployment surging, that they can't necessarily go back to a full lockdown. They have to balance that economic impact with the health impact that they could have.
At this stage, really, they say it's about social distancing, it's about when you get sick getting into a clinic, like we showed you there here in Khayelitsha. You know, the interesting thing is that converted basketball stadium, they initially thought they would just take patients who were recovering, but it's almost become just a level under an ICU. They are doing very key interventions there particularly with oxygen.
Now, what I worry about and what the doctors say is that in more rural settings in areas outside of a metropolitan area like Cape Town where they might not be able to access oxygen like this, they feel that they might really struggle. They're hoping though that the systems they put in place here could act as a test case and possibly be rolled out throughout this country and into other parts of the continent as the virus really hammers many key countries in the continent at this time. Paula?
NEWTON: Yes, David. And as you've reminded us so many times, the continent incredibly vulnerable to this kind of a spike. Our David McKenzie with us from Cape Town, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Now, pubs, restaurants, and hair salons will be reopening right across England this weekend but not in the city of Leicester. A surge on Coronavirus cases has forced the health secretary to order all non- essential businesses to close. Schools will shut down on Thursday and people are being told to stay home once again.
The government is opening a new walk-in testing center in plans to review the restrictions in mid-July. The City Council reports almost 1,000 new cases in just the past two weeks.
You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Just ahead, how a campaign promise from Israel's president turned into a controversial plan to annex parts The West Bank.
NEWTON: A battle is brewing in Israel over plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Now, the government calls it the "application of Israeli's sovereignty." The Palestinians say it's "outright theft." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could move forward with his plans as early as Wednesday, but internal conflicts within Israel maybe slowing the process down.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is live this hour in Jerusalem with details. Oren, this really is such a pivotal and controversial thing to do and yet they're doing it in the middle of a pandemic, it must be said.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A global pandemic and an economic meltdown, which is one of the many reasons that remains an open question as to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to do, and crucially when he intends to do it.
For example, just yesterday, the alternate prime minister and defense minister Benny Gantz, a coalition partner of Netanyahu said the only thing that country should be dealing with right now is Coronavirus, as cases in this country sore. A short time later, Netanyahu issued a statement saying his party will decide what to do with annexation, not his coalition partner.
It's that kind of internal bickering and there is much more where that came from that leaves it an open question as to what will actually happen and will it happen tomorrow?
LIEBERMANN: What began as a campaign promise has turned into a political mission. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poised to press forward with Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: Applying Israeli law to areas of Judea and Samaria that will remain part of Israel in any future peace deal will not set back the cause of peace. It will advance peace.
LIEBERMANN: In September, Netanyahu vowed to annex the Jordan Valley. More recently, he's talked about annexing Jewish settlements, something he hadn't seriously pursued in his previous 12 years in office.
At the time, he was looking to win over right-wing votes, but he won over the White House too. The Trump administration's plan for Middle East peace, a departure from decades of U.S. policy.
NETANYAHU: Israel will not miss this opportunity.
LIEBERMANN: But few if any conditions on unilateral Israeli annexation. Palestinians remain defiant, refusing to even consider the White House's plan.
SAEB ERAKAT, SECRETARY GENERAL, PLO: President Trump, doctrine is that nations are born to be stronger to find strong nations to protect them. The jungle has laws, chaos has order, but this doctrine is the mother of all chaos.
LIEBERMANN: In the midst of a global pandemic and an economic meltdown, Israel is plowing ahead. Meanwhile, the international consensus has crystallized. The European Union is weighing measures against Israel with more countries considering recognizing the State of Palestine. Arab states have warned of protests and a freeze to thawing relations. NIKOLAI MLADENOV, U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR, MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS: All the progress that you've seen, and exchanges and openings could be undermined by one simple step.
LIEBERMANN: And the U.N. has reiterated that applying sovereignty over occupied territory is a violation of international law capable of triggering another wave of violence.
MLADENOV: Another explosion, another wall that would happen here would be a terrible, terrible tragedy. Not just a human tragedy but a failure of leadership on all sides.
LIEBERMANN: Israeli protests against annexation have grown, backed by the peace camp and by many of Israel's vaunted military commanders. The risk is too great, they warn. The reward, too small.
AMOS GILEAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR POLICY AND STRATEGY, IPS: History will not forgive us if we are going to endanger our national security by opening so many fronts, political, strategic, international law. The United States maybe it's few months, the E.U.
LIEBERMANN: Arab anger over the Trump administration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or moving the embassy was somewhat muted. Proponents of annexation say it will be again. But those were only changes of U.S. foreign policy. Annexation is an unprecedented Israeli move, a game changer in a situation that doesn't respond well to major changes.
LIEBERMANN: At this stage, all of the pressures from all of the different sides are increasing not only on Israel, but specifically Netanyahu, from the E.U., from the U.N., from Arab states, from the Palestinians, from settlers who are against annexation, from settlers who are for annexation. Which route will Netanyahu choose? Will he annex and when will he do it?
He is playing his cards very carefully right now and very few people know his actual plans and what he intends to carry them out, Paula. That means a lot of the analysis we're seeing here; a lot of the commentary is based on guesswork of what we'll actually do.
NEWTON: Yes. And a lot of suspense and drama in the next few days, which is something we know the president likes. Oren, thanks so much. Pardon me, the prime minister likes. Oren Liebermann, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
The Facebook advertise boycott keeps expanding. Coming up, but what effect it might have on the platform's bottom line.
NEWTON: India is banning the hugely popular app TikTok along with 58 others, mostly Chinese made apps. India's Ministry of Information Technology said the apps engage in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India. Weibo and WeChat are also included in the ban.
Now, tensions between India and China have intensified in recent weeks after a deadly border clash. The video streaming service meantime, Twitch, is suspending an account belonging to President Trump's campaign.
Twitch said two videos violated its policy against hateful conduct. One was a 2016 campaign rally in which candidate Trump called Mexicans rapists and criminals. The other was the recent rally in Tulsa where the President spoke hypothetically of a very tough Hombre breaking into the home of a young woman.
Now investors appear to be taking notice of the expanding advertiser boycott of Facebook. Its shares fell nearly three percent in early trading Monday before recovering. The company is facing a growing list of companies that are putting a pause on ads for the month of July. The Stop Hate for Profit Campaign launched the boycott, accusing the platform of failing to stop hate speech and misinformation. Among the latest to join, large companies here Pfizer, HP, and Ford.
Our John Defterios has been following all of this from Abu Dhabi for us. You know, there's quite a momentum to this campaign and it's going to be interesting, John, to see you know, how much pressure there is on other companies to take that pause even if it doesn't turn into a full boycott.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes. Yesterday, during the coverage, Paula, I talked to about the snowball effect. This is becoming an avalanche where fortune 500 companies almost feel like they have to jump into the campaign. And if not, people will ask why not, right.
So we've got some of the major companies in the United States, especially trading on Wall Street, Starbucks, Coca Cola in that mix. Unilever, which is a huge advertiser, the Anglo Dutch group, being joined by Pfizer, and Ford, and Danny's, Adidas, and Puma. But the camps are being quite divided here.
We have some that are committing in the month of July to pause their campaign on Facebook and the company that owns Instagram. Some are going across the social media platforms. We have others who are committed to a much longer stay here and that is Clorox, which is done by all accounts very well in the pandemic because of the disinfectants and the demand coming from the homes here, they're carrying through the rest of 2020.
Microsoft actually started its campaign in May is not defined how long it will carry on here. And Facebook also has to worry about this idea. Common Sense Media says now there's nearly 200 companies. This will hit the bottom line if it's sustained. But Common Sense Media saying they'd like to see the European regulators get in. They think that they're sympathetic to the cause.
It's interesting in today's world, T.V., radio, newspapers are regulated, and social media is not. It's almost too big to manage with 2.6 billion monthly users. This is the challenge that we see at Facebook. They're responding, but can they really remove hate from their platform with three million hits or postings a day in that category alone?
NEWTON: Yes, and it's obviously those hits that drive the revenue. Just barely out of time, very quickly, though. We'll just go back to why we think India decided to ban some of those Chinese social media platforms.
DEFTERIOS: Yes, it can be said quickly, in a sense. They're setting up a firewall here and that's because the Web sites are very -- or the mobile platforms as well are very popular in India. Tik Tok, for example, that you talked about has 120 million users in India. The challenge the way the Indians see it, is that the data that they use, or the Indian users has being exported out of the country? They didn't say the China but that is the likely implication, and why they're coming on quite aggressively online as well.
NEWTON: Yes, they're calling it a national security risk I guess. John Defterios for us from Abu Dhabi, I really appreciate it. And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. The news continues with Rosemary Church. She'll be right in here, after a break.