Return to Transcripts main page


Coronavirus Pandemic; Fed Chairman, Economic Recovery Depends On Containing Virus; Powell, Record GDP Decline Expected This Quarter; U.S. Stocks Record Best Quarter In Decades; Airbus To Cut 15,000 Jobs Over 12 Months; European Union Allows Travel From 14 Countries, United States Excluded; E.U. Countries Forced To Recover Without U.S. Tourists; Latin American Countries Adjusting As Cases Surge; Brazil Surpasses 1.4 Million Covid-19 Cases; U.K. Locks Down Leicester Amid Coronavirus Surge; China Discovers New Swine Flu With Pandemic Potential; Belgian King Breaks Silence On Colonial Past; Belgian King Expresses Regret For Colonial Past In Congo; China Emphasize the Gravity of the New Law; Top Experts Warned and Now Begged People to Wear Masks; Vladimir Putin's Power May Extend Till 2036. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are now having 40 plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so, I am very concerned.


CHURCH: America's top infectious disease expert says we are clearly not in control here as people continue to defy COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Plus, Russians are set to vote on a list of sweeping reforms, possibly extending Vladimir Putin's time in power by more than a decade.

And some often-forgotten chapters in Belgium's history draw bloodshed and devastation in Congo. How the Belgian king is trying to reconcile.

Good to have you with us.

Well, Hong Kong's chief executive is defending a new and controversial national security law imposed by China on the city. It broadens Beijing's power to investigate and punish acts of secession, subversion, and what it considers terrorism.

Protesters are on the streets despite the chilling effect of the law which was drafted in secret. Details on the scope of its reach were only made public when the law went into effect late Tuesday.

Chief executive Carrie Lam spoke in favor of the law hours ago. She was at a reception marking the U.K.'s hand over of the city to China 23 years ago. She called the law constitutional, reasonable and a crucial step to ending chaos and violence.

Well, for more, I am joined by CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing and our Will Ripley in Hong Kong. Good to see you both. Will, let's go to you first. Because people are out on the streets of Hong Kong in defiance of this new law. And one person has already been arrested. What happened?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. Just minutes ago, we confirmed with Hong Kong police they have arrested now more than 30 people here in Causeway bay. The charges include violating the new national security law, and also some of the other charges that we have seen, you know, with the protest that have been going on, you know, for months, certainly last year, illegal assembly possession of defensive weapon, obstructing police officers, and whatnot.

It is a much calmer scene at this hour than what we saw a couple of hours ago. We are right in the thick of a clash between police and a small group of people. There has been no organized protest and no significant acts of, I guess what we would call violence that we saw, you know, from the front liners where people were pulling bricks out of the sidewalk throwing them at buildings and whatnot.

But there is still very loud crowds here. You can hear people shouting and you can see officers kind of patrolling. They've closed off this street. There is a very heavy police presence out here, probably more police than people, you know, who they're clashing with them. That is deliberate.

The goal here today is to intimidate. The goal is to discourage people from coming out. And the fact that they have already made more than 30 arrests and there hasn't been any significant marches is certainly telling.

Now, chief executive Carrie Lam, as you mentioned, has been speaking in defense of this national security law which by the way she had no hand in drafting. She didn't even know the details of the law until she was briefed by, you know, Beijing officials after it was already passed. But she did give this explanation of defense of the law. And it is important for people to hear from her perspective why this law is important. So, let's listen to Carrie Lam now.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE (through translator): It shows that the Hong Kong government, after a whole year of ceaseless escalating violence and riots, is determined to restore stability to Hong Kong. It shows the central government's determination to protect the absolute majority of lawful Hong Kong citizens from the harms done by a small minority of people who endanger national security.


RIPLEY: The question needs to be asked, you know, we know at least one arrest under the national security law, it was a man who was in possession of a Hong Kong independence banner. We don't believe he even was displaying the banner but it was found in his personal effects.

So, is somebody who is possessing a banner that talks about Hong Kong independence endangering the national security and the safety of citizens in Hong Kong? Under this new law, the answer is yes.


But of course, that's up to our viewers to decide whether they feel that the punishments potentially life in prison are proportional for the offenses that we're seeing on the streets today. And you can see police raising this blue flag. Once again warning the crowds that are shouting at them to disperse or they could also be added to arrests. And again, more than 30 arrests now confirmed and the day is still young, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Our Will Ripley on the streets of Hong Kong there. We know you'll get to us as soon as something else needs to be seen by our viewers. I appreciate that.

Let's go to Steven now in Beijing. As Steven, as we heard from Will there 30 people now are arrested in Hong Kong. How far is China likely to go with this if more people get out on the streets of Hong Kong in defiance of this law and if more people get arrested? What is likely to happen to them?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, from Beijing's perspective this law is long overdue and it's now achieving its desired effect. That is stopping act the government deems harmful to China's national security.

So, these arrests as well as the thinner crowds of protesters on the streets of Hong Kong are indications in the eyes of the Beijing government that this law is working. And of course, in a press conference that ended here not long ago, senior officials staunchly defended this law, saying this is a perfect embodiment of the one country-two systems formula designed to give Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy.

They say for too long people attended to focus on two systems and forgetting one country is the foundation of this formula. Now despite the quick passage of this law they say this law was actually carefully thought through, and lawmakers took into consideration opinions and feedback from Hong Kong society, and even borrowed language from Hong Kong's existing common laws.

Now, they also of course brushed aside any concerns and criticisms of this law's impact or potential impact on freedom of speech, judicial independence, and political diversity in the Hong Kong saying these fears are unfounded.

With one official saying, quoting the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping saying, "it's still going to be OK to verbally attacked the communist party in Hong Kong. But it's not OK to turn these verbal attacks into concrete actions."

So, they are trying very hard to allay these fears, not only in Hong Kong, but around the world. But whether or not that's enough remains to be seen given what's going on on the ground in the city. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Well we are watching very closely what is happening on the streets there in Hong Kong. But Steven Jiang, bringing us that live report from Beijing, many thanks.

And now to a stark warning from America's top infectious disease expert. As the country's coronavirus case count continues to trend upward as you can see there on that map.

So, Dr. Anthony Fauci says there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop. And offered this disturbing view on how much worse things could get.


FAUCI: We are now having 40 plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so, I am very concerned.


CHURCH: Well, already 19 states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans. But Dr. Fauci and other health experts stress one simple fix to help prevent the virus from spreading is to wear a mask.

And just to put it in perspective, the U.S. has 4 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of its coronavirus cases and its deaths.

CNN's Nick Watt has more.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Arizona's average daily death toll about doubled during the month of June.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): Our expectation is that next week our number will be worse.


WATT: In Texas, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals more than tripled during the month of June.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Memorial Day we now have 104 patients. We now have 480. We are looking at the 4th of July coming up in a couple of days, and frankly it scares me.


WATT: Average daily cases in Florida are up more than six-fold during the month of June. Beaches in the south of the state are also closing again before the 4th of July weekend.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): So, we -- you know, we're in good -- we're not -- we're not going back and closing things. I don't think that really is what's driving this.


WATT: Today is 162 days since the first confirmed case here in the U.S. But one senior CDC official says this is really the beginning.


ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: In the United States daily cases are increasing after an extended decline.


WATT: And the death rate --


FAUCI: It is going to be very disturbing. I will guarantee you that.


WATT: But it might not be too late.



REDFIELD: It is critical that we all take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and embrace the universal use of face coverings.


WATT: But in at least 10 of the 15 states right now suffering record numbers of new cases, there is no statewide mask mandate, but you should still wear one.


REDFIELD: Specifically, I'm addressing the younger members of our society, millennials and the generation z.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT: The economic pain of all this is obvious and crippling. People now camping overnight outside and unemployment office in Oklahoma. but Dr. Fauci says states must not open too fast, and we all must stop doing this.


FAUCI: Congregation in a bar inside is bad news. We really got to stop that.


WATT: Starting tomorrow, the European Union will let travelers in from 14 countries and China, if they reciprocate. But not from the United States.

CHURCH: So, let's bring in Erin Bromage, a professor of biology specializing in immunology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So more than 127,000 Americans have died so far from COVID- 19. Fifteen states are now seeing record numbers of cases, and those cases are trending up in 36 states. And now, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the U.S. could see 100,000 new cases per day if this doesn't turn around. So how do we turn this around and stop the spread of this?

BROMAGE: I mean, people need to take this seriously and take it like the threat that it actually is. So we need to get back to the fundamentals of what we were taught what we were told to do back in March, which was appropriate physical distancing, limit the number of contacts that you have, wash your hands, stop touching your face, and added to that, wear a mask.

CHURCH: And Dr. Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield are calling on everyone to wear a mask. And let's just listen to the plea from the surgeon general.


JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Please, please, please, wear a face covering when you go out in public. It is not an inconvenience. It is not a suppression of your freedom. It actually is a vehicle to achieve our goals.


CHURCH: And professor, now many Republicans are also calling on Americans to wear a mask, including the vice president and even Fox anchor and Trump supporter Sean Hannity. But still, the president refuses. If the president wore a mask and inspired others to do the same, could that change the trajectory of this and help slow contagion and deaths? BROMAGE: Well, there is just a study that came out today that said

that if Americans would wear a mask, if we could get it to above 80 percent, preferably at 90 percent usage, it would avoid another lockdown. That could be enough to get us back to a normal way of life by just adding those simple things that I mentioned before with the mask adding it in there.

If people don't buy into this and actually participate as part of the larger community, we're going to find ourselves in a progressively worse situation. Masks are a part of the solution. They blocked transmission. They blocked the virus from getting into the air and give us a longer period of time in the company of other people, and it's a little bit safer.

CHURCH: On that let's just take a look at this chart. And we see that when a person coughs, the droplets have the potential to travel eight feet or nearly two and a half meters. But if we wear a mask, it contains the spread of those droplets, and particularly if it's a two- layered stitched face mask.

You can see the various mask there what advantages they offer. And then if you look at this animation from Florida Atlantic University the difference between and uncovered cough and one with a mask.

So, professor, is this (technical problem) explain to people why they need to wear a mask. And should the president be laboring this point and putting up public information messages explaining this just other countries do? Because clearly the message is not getting through, is it?

BROMAGE: It's not. It's unfortunately, masks have become a political statement when they are not a political statement. They are part of an effective control solution.


And if we could have unified messaging from the top all the way throughout public health officials, epidemiologists saying how important this were, we would more bind and we would have a better effect on lowering the amount of transmission in our community.

It needs to start at the top with an example and just permeate through the rest of society. We need everybody to buy into this to know how important it is.

CHURCH: And you know, you mentioned from the top. Because Florida's governor says he won't be closing any shops or businesses despite the surge in cases in his state. The governor of South Dakota is organizing a fireworks event this weekend where she says masks are optional and social distancing is not required. And the president and first lady will be in attendance.

What do you say to those two governors? And why despite all the medical information, are we seeing governors ignore the medical advice here? BROMAGE: I mean, I'm really at a loss for words with a lot of this.

The countries that have done well in the control of this virus had a unified response from both the federal and the state level. They put all their effort into messaging and doing their job to testing, tracing, and isolating.

And the message got across. It was clear messaging and it worked and it got it contained in Australia, in New Zealand, in South Korea, right throughout those countries that really had good messaging and good plans.

When we have 50 states and we have a president that is saying one thing and we have a surgeon general saying another thing it becomes political, it becomes partisan. We just don't know what to believe and it makes it very difficult.

And then you have attending a function where they're not wearing masks and they're not doing the physical distancing just amplifies the fact that they don't believe in what their own public health officials are saying. And it just confuses the public.

That forces other people that are concerned about their health to take even more extreme responses, and we just keep getting pushed further and further apart. It's just insane.

CHURCH: It's a problem this country needs to confront and it needs to do it soon. Erin Bromage, thank you so much for talking with us.

BROMAGE: All right. You're more than welcome.

CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, Vladimir Putin could get life in the Russian presidency. Why critics see another Putin power grab.


CHURCH: Controversial reforms, a national vote, and the power of Vladimir Putin. Voters across Russia are deciding on constitutional changes that could keep the Russian president in power for another 16 years.

Mr. Putin could also gain more control over local and municipal authorities. Critics are calling the ballot a constitutional coup.


So, let's turn to CNN's Matthew Chance who spent years reporting from Moscow. Today, he joins us live from London. Good to see you, Matthew. So, there are a number of other provisions included in this plebiscite. But the most important one of course is the resetting of term limits. Where is this all going?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, it looks like it's going to be passed with a resounding majority. But we'll get that information when the exit polls come out and it starts to come out in several hours from now. But, you know, security, prosperity, and stability. That's what Vladimir Putin, the Russian president says this is all about and he's urging Russians to approve the raft of constitutional amendments before them, including that key one that you mentioned which could extend his own authority, his own power in Russia until 2036.


CHANCE: With its lockdown lifted, it doesn't look much like a pandemic in Russia. Nor indeed a national vote which could tighten President Putin's already firm grip on power. Yet, both are in full swing.

"I would elect him for another 10 years," says Antonina, a pensioner from outside Moscow. "There are no presidents like Putin. He is smart and has improved lives." She says. " People like him must be kept, not let go."

He could stay possibly until 2036 if proposed constitutional changes are passed as expected. Ahead of the weeklong voting, some of Russia's biggest stars have been urging the public to approve the changes, like the family of former Olympic and world figure skating champion Evgeni Plushenko.

"Look how huge our country is compared to tiny Austria," his wife Yana tells their son. "This is our country," the skater explains. "Let's vote for the amendment." In fact, they allow Putin to stand for two additional presidential terms is well skated over.

It's an emission drawing the wrath of Russian opposition figures like Alexei Navalny who sees the vote as a constitutional coup by the Kremlin.

"Poor child, having such greedy, unscrupulous parents," he commented on Instagram, "attracting more likes," he says, "than the video itself."

But the Kremlin has made sure that the constitutional changes are not just about Putin's rule. This pro-Kremlin video shows a Russian man adopting a child from an orphanage, then introducing him to his new mom, a male partner.

The video has been slammed as homophobic, put it reminds voters the constitutional changes would enshrine a ban on gay marriage in Russia, a potential vote winner for a deeply conservative, some might say prejudiced electorate.

And if that doesn't convince, there are even prizes on offer if you vote, bonus points which is this Russian T.V. anchor explains can be spent at supermarkets, toy shops and all participating stores. For a population desperate to put coronavirus and its economic hardships behind them. This alone could be enough to win support.


CHANCE: Well, Rosemary, voting has in fact been underway all week in this pandemic affected country. And it will close at eight o'clock local time in Russia. But because Russia has 11 time zones that mean the polls closed and it has a ripple effect from the far Eastern Europe over the coming hours.

As I mention, the expectation is this will be passed with a resounding majority, but we'll be seeing, you know, just what size of a majority of course in the hours ahead. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Matthew Chance keeping a very close eye on that, joining us live from London. Many thanks.

So, let's head to Washington now where CNN's former Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty is looking at the wider political picture. Good to have you with us, Jill.


CHURCH: So, this plebiscite covers a range of issues, but the most important provision is of course the one that allows President Putin to run for two more terms until 2036. Why is he doing this now? And is the outcome are fait accompli right now?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I think the outcome is definitely a fait accompli, but I think it would be interesting to watch how many people vote let's say in Moscow, St. Petersburg, especially in Moscow where the president is, to put it mildly, not popular. So, I think, you know, you will find areas that are very favorable to the president. That's no question. And overall, I think there is very little question that this will not pass. So, it will.


But the question why now I think is really interesting. Because, you know, if you go back, this was supposed to take place as we know on April 22nd. And at that point, you know, in the beginning, going to March, February, March, the beginning of the pandemic, I think Putin really felt this, there was a lot of speculation about his ending his term in 2024. He would be considered a lame duck.

There was a lot of back and forth about who would be the person who would take over for him, et cetera. So, by doing this, by being able to engineer, staying or being allowing to run for two more terms kind of puts that on the side. He is going to be there. He will be there. And he can be there until he is 83 years old.

But then, you have COVID comes in. Then you have the economy and the falling oil prices back a couple of months ago. And I think the sense in the Kremlin was we better get this done now, because the economy is not going to get better at all, and COVID could be more dangerous.

You know, it's had quite a strong effect. They say that they are turning the corner. But you look, I was looking at Russian T.V., everyone is out there voting in a mask and it's very, very obvious that they are still in a pandemic.

So, I think what he wants to do ultimately is just have all options open. I mean, we don't know whether he wants to stay in office until he is 83. There are stories that he doesn't particularly like being in office anymore but feels that he is the person who can, you know, pull Russia through.

And so, it's this odd thing. I think, Rosemary, at the end of it, we don't know what will happen. But he can do whatever he wants, staying in office for another two terms after this one.

CHURCH: yes, it looks that way. So, what is the assessment of how he has handled COVID-19 so far?

DOUGHERTY: Not good. In the beginning he took a few little steps but basically did not treat it perhaps as seriously in the beginning publicly as he could have. And the interesting was he pushed off, foisted responsibility for dealing with this on regional leaders, and especially the mayor of Moscow.

And so, he was in kind of a passive position that has not gone over very well. And one of the problems is, you know, the differences in the regions in health care. That's a way out in the countryside versus Moscow. Moscow is much better. But St. Petersburg has been hit very hard.

So, there is a lot of instability, worry, confusion, and then a growing civic consciousness that I don't think has talked about as much in the west as it should be. I think there are a lot of people in the grassroots all over Russia who are beginning to think of themselves as citizens and do things on that grassroots level. That's very important.

So, especially among young people, you know, they are not watching state T.V. They're on the web. And they are a different breed. I'm not trying to exaggerate this but there is a difference, so I think we ought to watch that too.

CHURCH: And just very quickly, Jill, what happens if President Putin doesn't make it to 83 in 2036? What provisions are in place?

DOUGHERTY: Well, there is a provision, you know, the prime minister takes over and there is a succession. But I mean, you know, will he stay in office? I mean, it's a tough job to stay in until you are 83 years old.


DOUGHERTY So. But he could -- he could do a lot of things. He could find a successor. They -- it could -- you know, maybe something worse would happen that people would get angry about. There could be as we called them black swan events. And certainly, COVID was and is that, that could happen. That all of a sudden, the chips are thrown up in the air. We don't know. But this, this is a moment, I think this is a real moment where Putin really wanted to, at least symbolically consolidate where his rule and keep it going.

CHURCH: All right. We'll watch to see what happens. Jill Dougherty, many thanks for joining us. I appreciate it. Coronavirus infections are rising across the U.S. And economists are

worried about a second shut down. But that's not deterring investors as the stock market just closed its best quarter in decades. The latest recovery forecast ahead.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The chairman of Federal Reserve is warning lawmakers that the economic recovery will largely depend on how well the U.S. can contain the coronavirus. And convincing Americans that it is safe to resume their former lives. Now while many Americans may still be wary, investors are feeling optimistic. U.S. Stocks just recorded their best quarter in decades, bouncing back from historic losses in the first three months of the year due to the pandemic.

CNN Business Editor, John Defterios joins me now from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, the U.S. central bank chief was on Capitol Hill with an update on the U.S. economy. What was the central theme coming out of their testimony?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, we had that lockdown for three months. So we had this burst of activity. He said that was encouraging, Jay Powell, but sustaining it or maintaining it is going to be the challenge. You can go back to the statements you had throughout the program here from the government medical experts Doctor Anthony Fauci, who said the United States is heading in the wrong directions.

We had more than 10 states and some big ones, by the way, the south, Texas, and southeast in Florida which have doubled their cases here. And there is a direct link, according to Jay Powell, between consumer confidence, the virus, and then that is spilling over into rehiring. And this is the big, big challenge going forward. Let's listen to Jay Powell.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: The economy has entered an important new phase and done so sooner than expected. While this bounce back to economic activity is welcome. It also presents new challenges, notably the need to keep the virus and check.


DEFTERIOS: That is the challenges we are suggesting here, Rosemary. But that did not deter Wall Street as you were suggesting in your lead here. Three trillion dollars of liquidity helped finish up the second quarter with record numbers. The Dow industrials for the second quarter up better than 17 percent. The S&P 500, which is a broader index nearly 20 percent and the NASDAQ composite index is up better than 30 percent.

For the DOW industrials, you would have to go back to 1987. Before the Wall Street crash and for the NASDAQ, back to 1999, right before the tech bubble burst, right? So, the evaluations are high right now, that's the message I am giving. But it didn't deter anybody there in the second quarter.

CHURCH: Yes. It is just extraordinary, isn't it? At least a mixed messages and John, Airbus is good promoter for the state of the airline industry overall, which saying its worst crisis ever. Was the CEO pessimistic on the link that time it will take to recover?

DEFTERIOS: Yes, I was expecting this should have fall eventually, Rosemary, because the airline sector is having its worst crisis ever, losing an estimated $84 billion in 2020, and not profitable in the next year and .


And that is why the CEO of Airbus is suggesting (inaudible) that we could recover in 2023 back to normal but said, it could even happen in 2025. That's the first I've heard it stretch out for a period of nearly 5 years on a recovery. Extraordinary. And why they have to lay off 15,000 workers. You know, that European experiment they have operations in France, Germany, the U.K. and Spain, and all around the world. But 10,000 of those job cuts will come out of Toluse and Hamburg in Germany as a result of this. It's going to be a long road back. And as we have talked about before the major companies are using this as an opportunity to slim down for what will be a new normal in the industry and the airline industry. As we've talk about it's at the front line of the pandemic, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It most definitely is. John Defterios, bringing us that live report from Abu Dhabi. Many thanks.

Well, the E.U. is pulling the welcome mat out from under American tourists. As Europe officially reopens its borders to international travelers after the covid-19 lockdown. The U.S. is nowhere near meeting the criteria for reentry in to the E.U., which doesn't consider America a safe country. And with the coronavirus pandemic getting worse in many U.S. States, America's top public health expert is offering a stark warning about a rise in cases.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASE: We are now having 40,000 plus cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.


CHURCH: And it is still up to each individual E.U. countries to make its own border control decisions. But many are already lamenting the loss of billions of tourist revenue without American travelers. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has our report.


and fear on the streets of Rome, one of Europe's most beautiful cities. While the E.U. is opening up for travel after most states have contain the coronavirus pandemic, American tourists won't be back anytime soon. Restaurant owner Mauru Pitusus, says that's another significant dent in his already meager earnings.

We are very concerned, he says, we live off of this. I wouldn't know if it's right or wrong, but I would have prefer for the borders to be open because we are on the ropes. It's not just Italy. France is one of the most popular destinations for American tourist in Europe. According to the countries tourism authority around 4.5 million Americans came here in 2018, spending almost $4 billion in France, much of it in Paris. The head of the city's tourism authority tells CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The America U.S. is very important to Paris in terms of tourism. People -- American people spend about $2 billion actually, so that's a huge loss for Paris for the moment.

PLEITGEN: But the E.U. has decided to continue to ban U.S. citizens from coming to the European Union, excluding the United States from a list of nations from which the E.U. will allow travelers back in. As the Trump administration struggles with skyrocketing cases of coronavirus, in parts of the United States, while the president rejects public health measures like wearing a mask.

While the E.U. was keen to jump-started its ailing tourism sector, officials both here in Brussels and in the member states say the continent needs to be careful when opening up. The last thing Europe needs is another spike in coronavirus infections and possibly another lockdown. European Union officials have long been saying they will placed public health above economic motivations when bringing their economies back up to speed.

YLVA JOHANSSON, HOME AFFAIRS COMMISIONER EUROPEAN COMMISION: The most important thing is the protection of public health. It is the most important priority for the E.U. and its member states.

PLEITGEN: And that means as Rome streets start filling with travelers once again, restaurant managers like Mauro Ptzuzi will have to wait until the U.S. gets the pandemic under control for Americans to return. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Brussels.


CHURCH: And journalist Elinda Labropoulou is live this hour, northwestern Greece. Good to see you, Elinda. So, what impact will the absence of U.S. tourists have on the Greek economy?

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: Well, the impact will be huge, Rosemary, because the U.S. is the third largest market in Greece in terms of tourism revenue. Nearly two million Americans visited Greece in 2019. And it is a market that has been growing rapidly in recent years and was projected to go further in 2020. But with the current travel ban which is based on the E.U. recommendation, it looks like a number of countries that have been very important to the Greek economy, such as Russia and the U.K., that Greece has extended its travel ban to for another 50 days will not be the first batch of tourists that we will see in Greece.


These three countries together amount for about 20 percent of Greece's tourism annually. So it will be a very big blow for a country that is so heavily dependent on tourism for its economy and also a country that's coming from a financial crisis after 10 years. Just to give you an example and a sense of scale, tourism accounts for 20 percent of GDP in Greece and one in five jobs.

For example, where I now, it's a small resort town on the (inaudible) Coast (inaudible). Here, the local economy is entirely based on tourism. And so far this summer the beaches are half empty. The restaurants have been empty. The hotels have been empty. So their hope is that as direct flights are now resuming and Greece manages to remain safe, and that's of course if travelers will gradually be more inclined to travel. So, the hope is that, you know, people will come and they'll see that's everything is good and this will slowly sort of reignite the tourism industry. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And Elinda, while it has its problems, Greece has done an extraordinary job in keeping covid-19 cases and deaths down. What was the key to its success?

LABROPOULOU: You're absolutely right. I mean, Greece has had less than 200 deaths in total from covid-19 and less than 3,500 cases. What Greece did is they decided to lockdown early, and you knew it would be a big economic lost at the time, but what the country argued was that you know, it is better to take early losses and then try to capitalize later. Like now, with tourism, which is what Greece is hoping to do. It's hoping that having (inaudible) the country, safe for so long and now moving on to take more measures, this will translate into more tourists coming to Greece for this summer. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Elinda Labropoulou, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

Well, a new flu strain with pandemic potential has been discovered by scientists in China. Where is it coming from and how great is the threat? We will take a look at that.


CHURCH: With coronavirus cases rising in Latin American, some countries are now reinforcing their containment measures, while others continue to ease restrictions. Bars and restaurants in Sau Paulo, Brazil will be allowed to reopen starting next week, despite the country reporting more than 1,200 new virus related deaths on Tuesday.

Mexico is also seeing a surge in cases and yet, Mexico City will be moving out of the red level and can begin gradually reopening retail and sports clubs. Meantime, Peru is extending its state of emergency through July 31st. But the president says areas of the country, including Lima will advance from a general to a less strict localized lockdown.


And unemployment rates in Chile are soaring from March to May, the jobless rate reached 11.2 percent, that's highest it has been in a decade. Well, meantime Brazil has now surpassed 1.4 million infections and a death toll nearing 60,000. CNN's Shasta Darlington has the latest now from Sau Paulo.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While many Latin American cities reopen for business, the Pan-American health organization warned on Tuesday that more than 438,000 people could die of covid-19 in the region by October as the virus continues to spread. The group's director said Chile and Columbia could see peaks by mid-July, but countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Peru aren't likely to peak until mid-August.

Nonetheless, while some cities like Buenos Aires are imposing more restrictive measures many others are reopening. In Mexico City, retail and sports club have been open since Monday and on Wednesday restaurants, hotels, hair salons and shopping malls will be allowed to open their doors even as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro is preparing to reopen bars, restaurants and gyms on Thursday, and private schools next week. That's even as Brazil reported more than 1,200 deaths on Tuesday and more than 33,000 new covid-19 infections. Surpassing 1.4 million confirmed cases. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sau Paulo.


CHURCH: Well, pubs, restaurants, and hair salons are set to reopen across much of England this weekend. But the city of Leicester is moving in the other direction due to a surge in new coronavirus cases. CNN's Phil Black is there.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Only a few days ago, Central Leicester was buzzing. People lined up patiently to get inside the shops they desperately missed through lockdown. Now, suddenly, they are locked out again. Once, more the mood here can be eerie, quiet, and yet so familiar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel sad. And I think people that I had spoken to are a bit confused as well.


Yes, most definitely.

BLACK: The government says it didn't want to carve Leicester out from the U.K.'s steadily opening economy, but it had no choice. It's now Britain's first individually lockdown city because covid-19 is still advancing through the population. The government says 10 percent of all England's recent positive test results were recorded in Leicester. On the city's golden mile, we meet Keshur Chahan (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not surprised that it has come back to this.

BLACK: He has been running a general stores in the heart of Leicester south Asian community for 50 years. Just weeks ago, he and many other shop owners on this normally vibrant strip reopened, determined to recover. Now, we only find locked doors, closed shutters, and delayed hopes.

How long do you think you can hold out now that you have been told to close your doors again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as it takes, I think safety and the measures that the government had put are more important.

BLACK: Down the road in Bobby's restaurant, Damesh Lacarni (ph) is angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel this is definitely an overreaction.

BLACK: Like restaurant owners across the U.K., he was planning a big return this weekend after shutting down more than months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is devastating for us. It is devastating to our colleagues and really a sad day. The way it's happen is very sad.

BLACK: Leicester is famously diverse. Many are worried about rising infections here because of covid 19's devastating impact on ethnic minorities. There is evidence everywhere that people are taking the threat seriously and everything they do.

The virus didn't kill this person but it is restricting those left to mourn. Masks hide their emotions. They can only stand on the street, safely, apart and watch as the person they love is driven away. We meet few people in the city -- who questioned the need for rolling back deep into lockdown. Many have theories on what went wrong, how this could have been avoided.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The lack of testing equipment, the lack of support, the mixed messaging, all (inaudible) the condition -- that create the virus to continue in Leicester.


BLACK: A whole city and its surrounding area, more than 350,000 people are now isolated from their own country. Part of a giant involuntary experiment that will hopefully increase understanding of local outbreaks and how to fight them. Phil Black, CNN, Leicester, Central England.


CHURCH: And now to China where researchers have discovered a new swine flu that they say has the potential to become a pandemic. One health expert in the U.S. warns this could be catastrophic. David Culver with the details


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A new virus with pandemic potential emerging once again out of China. This according to a new study published in the U.S. Science Journal. Chinese researchers warning the disease can infect humans. The origin? Pigs.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASE: It's not so called an immediate threat. Where you are seeing infections, but it's something we need to keep our eye on, just the way we did in 2009 with the emergence of the swine flu.

CULVER: Experts say this new swine flu called G4 is genetically descendant from H1N1. H1N1 became a pandemic in 2009. It killed up to an estimated half a million people globally. While, scientists caution that this new virus does not pose an immediate global health threat, they warn that once transmitted from pig to human, it could lead to severe infection and even death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have at the same time new waves of the coronavirus and (inaudible) for a bad flu season or swine flu. It's a catastrophic future we could face.

CULVER: According to the journal, Chinese researchers made the discovery during a pig surveillance program from 2011 to 2018, they collected more than 30,000 nasal swab samples from pigs across 10 Chinese provinces. Of the 179 swine flu viruses identified one kept showing up year after year. It was the G4 virus.

In two Chinese provinces, Hubei and Shandong, more than 10 percent of workers tested on pig farms between 2016 and 2018 were positive for the virus. While not yet seen with the G4 virus, human to human transmission is why doctors believe covid-19 spread so rapidly. It's also what Chinese officials in Wuhan downplayed and have been accused of covering up early on in the novel coronavirus outbreak.

China denies that they have recovered up key information. When asked today about how China is handling this pathogen, the foreign ministry spokesperson said they are watching it closely. Adding that they will all necessary measures to prevent the spread and outbreak of any virus.

Late Tuesday, China's government controlled media quickly downplayed the G4 virus, stressing that disease control experts said the public should not overreact. And hog farms have shown no signs of related disease. They also cited an unnamed Chinese veterinary expert who claimed this new virus is preventable.

No allegations of basically mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak along with and international criticism over the lack of transparency make any new virus emerging from this country all the more worrying.

(Inaudible) Chinese researchers, new tales of (inaudible) of the coronavirus.


It is acclaim that plays into a popular government narrative here, stressing that the greatest coronavirus threat is (inaudible), that is from outside China. David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


CHURCH: And you are watching CNN Newsroom. Still to come, in the wake of global black lives matter protests, the king of Belgium has broken his silence on the country's colonial past. We will have that in a moment.



CHURCH: With mounting pressure from black lives matter protest, Belgium appeared to silence regarding the country's colonial past. CNN's Scott McLean has our report.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In central Brussels, the profanities spray-painted on Belgium's colonial monuments are being scrubbed away. But inside the nearby palace, there is no way for the king to wash his hands of a history that's a lot more offensive. In a letter to the Congolese president, King Phillippe expressed his deepest regret for the acts of violence and cruelty committed in Congo, and the suffering and humiliation of colonial rule.

Congo won its independence 60 years ago, but this is the first time a Belgian monarch has acknowledged the atrocities committed there, slavery, amputations, and at least half a million people killed under the rule of King Leopold II. A petition to remove his statues has gained more than 82, 000 signatures. An effort led by 14-year-old Noah, who says it's high time the royal family made amends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is good. We are happy that it's the first step. We are happy that the king recognizes what Leopold did, and that the king and his family recognize all the things that happened in Congo during this time between 1880 and 1908. It was the private property of their family, of Leopold II, and not the Belgians. So I don't think we can blame all of Belgium.

MCLEAN: King Phillipe stopped short of an apology, but Noah says he doesn't need to hear one. He would much rather see action to better teach colonial history in schools and to take down the statues of King Leopold II. Joel Sandyneeba (ph) has led protests in Brussels and says the king's letter doesn't go far enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want apologies. Real one. Not one that asks for us to read between the lines. We want to actual words saying that we did wrong, we killed Congolese. We destroyed cultures, families that is what we want.

MCLEAN: Belgian lawmakers have approved a truth and a reconciliation commission to examine the crimes of Belgian colonial rule in Africa, but the scope of its work is still to be determined. It's a difficult conversation that Belgium has put off for decades. For Noah, it is reason to be optimistic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is a commission that will speak the truth. There is still lots of people who want to deny that don't understand what happened in Congo. It's very much about finding the truth. It's never too late. Perhaps it could have happened 60 years ago, but if it happens now, that's good too.

MCLEAN: Scott McLain, CNN, London.


CHURCH: I am Rosemary Church. And I will be back with more news in just a moment.