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WHO Warns Europe Could Surpass Two Million COVID Deaths By March; COVID Cases In U.S. Children Ahead Of Holidays; U.S., Other Nations Tap Oil Reserves In Bid To Ease Prices; Ukraine Upgrading Its Navy, Key Port On Sea Of Azov; Cause Of Accident That Killed 45 Under Investigation. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired November 24, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: And hello, everyone, I'm Paula Newton.
Ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM, new warnings of a brutal winter ahead in Europe and a prediction that the coronavirus could take another half million lives by spring.
A global effort to ease soaring gas prices. Some of the world's biggest economies are teaming up to release record amounts of oil reserves.
And a possible major escalation in Ethiopia's fight against rebel fighters, the country's Prime Minister promises to head to the frontlines.
So, the coronavirus situation in Europe is rapidly deteriorating, Germany just reported its highest ever single day surge of new infections, more than 66,000 new cases.
Now, its previous record came just last week. This as the World Health Organization issues a dire new warning, Europe could reach more than two million deaths from the virus by March.
Now, the global body says it expects high or extreme stress on hospital intensive care units in nearly every country in the region this winter.
Right now, Western Europe is being hit hard by the Delta variant. Now, have a look at this map that shows the new COVID cases in the past week compared to the previous week.
You'll notice there those darker shades of red and they indicate a growing outbreak. World Health officials tells CNN governments need to adopt what they're calling a virus plus strategy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. HANS HENRI P. KLUGE, WHO REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE: There are five stabilizers, it's too late to prevent another wave because the vaccination coverage is too low. So, we have to focus on keeping mortality down.
Number one, buy masks, only 48 percent in European region is wearing a mask indoors, it's far too low.
Number two is vaccination. And we need to involve more behavioral cultural scientists and influencers making use of the COVID passport.
The third one are boosters for the adult population.
The fourth one is ventilation.
And the fifth one we're working on are new clinical protocols, including the new treatments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Yes, and again, what he was describing there was a vaccine plus strategy.
Now, the WHO reports that new cases in Europe account for 67 percent of all new cases globally in the past week and it's not just countries with lower vaccination rates like Germany that are seeing those rising infections, Spain and Portugal both have vaccinated well over 80 percent of their populations, yet, cases are climbing in the Iberian Peninsula as well.
Right across Europe, governments are imposing tough new measures ahead of a potentially devastating winter.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz reports from Vienna.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice over): The European region is once again the epicenter of the global pandemic. The World Health Organization is warning the European region could reach two million deaths due to COVID-19 by March of next year. The region has already surpassed 1.5 million deaths due to coronavirus.
The World Health Organization says that 49 out of the 53 countries in the region could experience high or extreme stress on their ICU units between now and March of next year.
The WHO is blaming three factors for this surge in cases. First, the unvaccinated. Secondly, the highly contagious Delta variant.
And finally, of course, the easing of restrictions across the region and that's why European leaders are stepping in to try to increase the vaccination rates, roll out new rules, try to curb the infection rates.
In Germany, the Bundestag has just passed new laws that require employers -- employees rather to show either a proof of vaccination, proof of recovery and negative coronavirus test to go into the workplace. If they don't, they could face not getting their salary, not being paid. Here in Vienna, Austria where I am, the authorities are trying some of
the toughest measures. The country is under a nationwide lockdown, the first in the European region to do so this season.
The chancellor is also targeting the unvaccinated with restrictions. So, even when this lockdown lifts, if you are not immunized, you'll have to continue to live under lockdown rules.
ABDELAZIZ: There's also a vaccine mandate in Austria that will go into place on February 1st. Those who are not vaccinated at that point will be facing fines from the authorities.
Now, it does appear for now that this is creating a rush to get vaccinated across Austria.
On November 19th, the city of Vienna where I am recorded a record number of shots given in a 24-hour period. But immunizations do not appear to be enough for now because during the winter season, you have higher transmission rates according to experts. It's been a few months since many people got their vaccines who have waning immunity and of course limited hospital capacity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ (on camera): For now, it appears European leaders are going to have to try that strategy. The mix of encouraging the unvaccinated to finally come out and get their shots while also putting restrictions in place to curb infections.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Vienna.
NEWTON: Dr. Jim Versalovic is the pathologist-in-chief and chief of COVID Command at Texas Children's Hospital and he joins me now from Houston with more.
It was startling to see it spelled out today. We have to begin with Europe here, the WHO the warning is dire. 1.5 million Europeans have already died. That number could reach more than two million by March. Why, Doctor? We are almost a year out from having vaccines.
DR. JIM VERSALOVIC, PATHOLOGIST-IN-CHIEF, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well, we certainly have continued to witness in 2021 new variants of COVID-19. The virus SARS-CoV-2 causing this pandemic is been changing and mutating.
And this latest Delta variant, of course, created huge surges across the United States and late summer, early fall, we're seeing continued spread around the world of Delta and other variants. And clearly, we're seeing this in Europe today.
NEWTON: Yes, and in fact, the WHO said that that was one of the key reasons along with some vaccine hesitancy in Europe.
Going to the situation with children now, it was difficult to miss the fact that unfortunately, children in the last two weeks, their cases have increased by almost a third. What do you attribute this to?
And of course, we know that children have only started to get the vaccine in the United States. But does this also have to do with the fact that a lot of the mitigation efforts have been abandoned in a lot of different states?
VERSALOVIC: Well, first, I'll point out Paula, that the Delta variant continues to be prominent in the United States. And though we've seen diminishing of cases throughout the month of October, November here in this part of the country in Texas, we continue to see hotspots around the United States. And the reality is the children were the last to receive the vaccine.
So, with authorization just in the past month. Clearly, November is a -- has been a busy month for us in administering vaccines here at Texas Children's. We've already administered more than 25,000 doses to children. And we are very busy across the country.
The reality is though, these are first shots, and it's a two-shot protocols, we know with the Pfizer vaccine for school aged children, so, many children remain unvaccinated.
Many -- the children that have been vaccinated or partially vaccinated and still don't have full protective immunity at the same time that schools are admittedly relaxing, many school districts are relaxing, mask mandates, going mask optional in schools.
And we all know with the holidays approaching, there's going to be more mingling too outside of the school environment.
So, the reality is that we've got plenty of potential for a continued spread in children and adults.
NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. I think parents, you know, all over the world really are a bit alarmed about the increase and as you said, a lot of it fueled by the Delta variant. What are you seeing in your practice?
VERSALOVIC: Well, currently, our positivity numbers are very low. Here in southeast Texas along the Gulf Coast, our positivity is well under five percent.
Now, that's good news. The reality is we're still seeing COVID-19 in children. We know that children can be victims of COVID-19. They can also spread COVID-19 as well, in households and in communities in schools.
So, it's so important to emphasize prompt diagnosis, treatment and prevention. It's important to note that with acute COVID, many children have been hospitalized more than 1,600 in our hospital alone during the pandemic.
And we know that more than 25 percent of children hospitalized may end up in a pediatric ICU and no age group has been spared.
NEWTON: And Doctor, I want to talk to you about vaccine hesitancy among parents. What's been interesting here is that even parents that are double vaccinated, perhaps even have a booster are still reluctant to have their children vaccinated. What would you say to them?
VERSALOVIC: Well, we have to remind parents that time is of the essence and the reality is that the Delta variant and COVID are still prevalent in the United States and around the world. Children may be infected and have acute COVID, may be hospitalized, may have severe complications weeks later with MIS-C and two thirds of those children may require critical care.
COVID-19 can be deadly and hundreds of children have died of COVID-19, children under 18 years of age. So, we do need to remember the stark consequences if children are unvaccinated and the risks.
NEWTON: OK, we'll wait to see how this unfolds in the coming weeks. Dr. Jim Versalovic, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time and Happy Thanksgiving if we don't see you beforehand.
VERSALOVIC: Happy Thanksgiving, there is hope with vaccines.
NEWTON: So, after more than a year and a half of closures, New Zealand says it will begin easing border restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers starting in the New Year.
Now, New Zealanders coming from Australia will be allowed in starting January 16th. Then, residents coming from all other countries may enter in mid-February. And international tourists finally will be allowed from April 30th.
Now, travelers will have to isolate for seven days and show proof of vaccination.
OK, so we turn now to the push to drive down prices at the pump. On Tuesday, the U.S. announced plans to release a record 50 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It's part of a coordinated effort with other countries to try and ease rising gas prices right around the world.
The U.K., China, India, Japan and South Korea have all agreed to open their reserves as well. And it is in fact an unprecedented move for Japan, which has never before released state oil reserves in response to high prices.
But Japanese officials say stabilizing those costs is a crucial step towards economic recovery from the pandemic.
Still, this is the issue, it's unclear exactly how much relief the move will provide for everyday consumers.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will take time, but before long, you should see the price of gas drop where you fill up your tank. JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over):
President Biden taking new steps to try and ease the pain at the pump by tapping into the nation's strategic oil reserves.
BIDEN: We always get through those spikes, but we're going to get through this one as well and, hopefully, faster. But it doesn't mean we should just stand by idly and wait for prices to drop on their own. Instead, we're taking action.
ZELENY: The decision coming just two days before Thanksgiving is unlikely to change gas prices for weeks. But it's the latest sign the White House is acutely focused on the political fallout from inflation, causing anxiety in the American economy.
BIDEN: The big part of the -- of the reason Americans are facing high gas prices because oil-producing countries and large companies have not ramped up the supply of oil quickly enough to meet the demand.
ZELENY: The president ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The U.S. also getting commitments from five other countries with the U.K., China, India, Japan and South Korea agreeing to open their reserves to help combat soaring global oil prices.
BIDEN: This coordinated action will help us deal with a lack of supply which in turn helps ease prices.
ZELENY: It's an open question whether the move will make gas prices fall during the holiday season or into the New Year, ahead of the critical midterm elections.
But the White House is intent on showing the president trying to take action. But the president's decision also highlights the steep challenges facing the U.S. and the world to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and combat climate change.
BIDEN: I also want to briefly address one myth about inflated gas prices. They're not due to environmental measures. My effort to combat climate change is not raising the price of gas or increasing its availability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY (on camera): Now, the timing of this announcement certainly no coincidence coming before Thanksgiving here in the United States, but also, it was done in coordination with those five other countries.
Now, President Biden made clear gas prices will not go down immediately. But Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she does expect that to happen in the coming weeks.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
NEWTON: More on this. We want to turn to Ryan Patel, he's a senior fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Really good to see you. This is really unprecedented. And yet, moves like this sometimes are
not very effective as the president even admitted in terms of bringing down the price of oil immediately.
This is a coordinated international effort, though, and in that case, it is unprecedented. Do you think that will help be a game changer for this?
RYAN PATEL, SENIOR FELLOW, CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY: Well, I mean, it will help. I mean, when you use the word game changing, I always think of like where it's going to go in a whole bunch of different directions in a fast way.
I mean, this is more of a short-term effect that hopefully loosens the oil market a little bit over the next one to two months.
You know, Paula, you know -- as you know, over the past few years, typically in the U.S., you know, oil prices tend to kind of drop during holiday seasons to kind of help people travel, you know, lessen the burden.
You know, this is something obviously has gone the opposite effect, where people are seeing, you know, the gas prices, and, you know, daily consumers go up. And I think this was an effort by the Biden administration on a global effort to kind of hold the prices at the very least, and maybe push it down a little bit, so people can feel it and not feel the fear that it's going to continue to rise.
NEWTON: Yes. And you mentioned fear, and it's palpable, right? That energy crisis is profound globally, and it's been unnerving to many, especially, of course, those with lower incomes. How much do you expect it to fuel inflation more broadly going forward?
PATEL: Yes, I mean, and this is where the inflation and -- you know, I do want to say one thing, I hope it doesn't scare anybody, but like, the global demand for power is growing a lot more quicker. And that's part of the reason why the renewable energy, clean energy is being focused on across the globe.
It's not just the focus of, you know, it's great for the environment, it is, you know, that aspect is that there needs to be energy in that aspect. So, there's -- that's one whole aspect we haven't touched yet.
And the second thing is, you mentioned inflation. Yes, you know, prices are rising, especially when you think about milk and daily goods and those kinds of things. You know, even the example here in the U.S. where the Dollar Tree store is, you know, over 30 years now raising their prices by 25 percent to $1.25, that was a big deal, because people were taking consideration of all the supply chain issues, you know, labor shortages.
So, inflation is just not one thing, but many of these variables have all hit all at the same time with the pandemic kind of leading that disruption. And, you know, we -- and that's how at the end of the day, it's going
to get pushed on to the consumers and there's no doubt about that.
NEWTON: Yes, I'm glad that you mentioned the issue with the Dollar Store. Because psychologically, even if a lot of things in stores like that were already at higher prices, psychologically, they won't be at $1.00 anymore is significant.
You know, we are -- this is a very complicated issue in terms of trying to normalize those energy markets, many people continue to tell us that these supply chains will ease.
But at this point, you know, you kind of alluded to it, this entire conversion to green energy, it will up end a lot in the coming years, right?
PATEL: Yes, I mean, and I do want to put the focus back on the oil companies. Like for example, Exxon, I mean, they are fully -- you know, with their board, fully committed to finding renewable energy.
So, many of these producers -- oil producers are trying to if not focusing on the renewable energy of some of their platform or the revenues because they are moving toward that route anyway.
And so, the reason why it's not there, there's a lot of obviously potential, but we're just not there yet. And you see it in the U.S. infrastructure bill, you know, bills specifically, E.V. infrastructure, you know, vehicles, you know, globally, our electric vehicle going -- you know, almost everyone's trying to build infrastructure around that.
So, you know, part of that is it's great to have this idea but you got to build behind it and part of this where the resources are and we're starting -- we're at the tipping point, Paula, that we are in five years from now it's going to look a lot different when it comes to energy.
NEWTON: Yes, and yet you won't be turning on a tap. I don't have a lot of time left and the time that I do have, do you see evidence that the supply chain is shaking out the way should things are normalizing?
PATEL: We're still not out of the woods yet. Like I want to be optimistic, but also realistic. I mean, it's really on that -- you know, on a balance beam right now and many of these companies, you know, globally are still having their backups in there.
So, yes, we -- it could take a turn up for the worst for the wrong aspect of it, but you know, we are moving the right direction. I think supply chain prices and inventory are still going to be issue for this holiday season. So, that's why I'm not saying we're back to normal because people are going to see a lot of things out of stock in this fourth quarter.
NEWTON: Right. And prices that continue to go up.
Ryan Patel, really good to see you, have a good holiday week. Appreciate it.
PATEL: Thanks, you too.
NEWTON: Now, a devastating bus accident claims dozens of lives in Bulgaria. Coming up, the investigators search for the cause.
Plus, a CNN exclusive on patrol with Ukraine's Navy what the military is doing to counter a growing threat from Russia.
NEWTON: Top U.S. and Russian generals spoke by phone Tuesday in an effort to ensure "Risk reduction and operational deconfliction." And this amid serious concerns about the Russian troop buildup near the border with Ukraine.
Meantime, the government in Kyiv isn't taking any chances pushing forward with a badly needed upgrade of its Navy.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen now with this exclusive report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On patrol in some of the most contested waters in the world, Ukraine's Navy took us on an artillery boat in the Sea of Azov, just as tensions with Russia have reached a boiling point.
Our main goal is to defend and keep the sovereignty of Ukraine from the direction of the sea, the captain tells me.
Russia has been massing troops near Ukraine's borders, the U.S. says, warning its allies, a large-scale invasion could happen soon.
The Ukrainians believe that if Russia does decide to launch an attack at the Sea of Azov, could be one of the main battleground. That's why the Ukrainians are both modernizing their fleet, but also their infrastructure on land as well.
The Azov coastline holds a strategic value to Russia. It would allow President Vladimir Putin to establish a much sought land corridor to connect Russia to annex Crimea.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry gave us rare access to the massive construction going on at the Berdyansk naval base. Kyiv has now ordered this building program to urgently be accelerated with the Russian threat looming large.
In order to complete this project as quick as possible, the Ukrainian military tells us they are now working seven days a week. And they say, once it's finished, it will offer a formidable deterrent against any Russian aggression.
Upgrade seemed badly needed here with much of Berdyansk's port in other disrepair. Ukraine says new facilities will allow them to base more and bigger ships here.
We are ready, this officer says, that is why we are here so that at any time that there is any aggression on the Azov Sea, we can resist it.
Ukraine's president says Russia has positioned close to 100,000 troops near its borders, which the Kremlin denies.
These satellite images appearing to show dozens of military vehicles near Yelnya in southwestern Russia. The Biden administration has warned Moscow not to attack and is mulling more weapons deliveries to Kyiv.
CNN has learned one U.S. Defense official says Russia's aim maybe to create confusion or to get concessions.
The Kremlin dismissed talk of a possible invasion as hysteria. But Vladimir Putin also issued a clear warning.
PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN (through translation): We need to consider that Western partners worsen the situation by delivering to Kyiv modern lethal weapons and provocative exercises in the Black Sea. And not only there, but also other regions close to our borders.
PLEITGEN: Ukraine's armed forces say they are on constant alert, preparing for an armed confrontation they hope can be avoided.
Frederik Pleitgen, CNN Berdyansk, Ukraine.
NEWTON: Bulgarian officials are trying to determine the cause of the deadliest bus accidents in the country's history. Now, more than 40 people were killed, a dozen children among them.
Phil Black has the details now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The long highway winding through Bulgaria's countryside is now quiet. At least, 45 people, including 12 children were killed here early Tuesday morning after this bus caught fire. Flames quickly overwhelmed almost everyone on board.
BOYKO RASHKOV, INTERIM BULGARIAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): It's hard to look there, hard to look. I don't know if we should go into the details at this early hour. Let's leave it for a later hour.
In my experience, I've never seen anything like this. People are clustered inside. They are burnt to ash.
BLACK: Just seven people sitting near the back survived by smashing windows to escape. The fire was so intense, authorities say, it will be difficult to identify the victims or even be certain how many died.
There were mostly tourists from North Macedonia returning home after visiting Turkey.
Just outside the village of Bosnek, the bus slammed into a barrier in the middle of the highway. Bulgarian television says this is known as a dangerous stretch of road.
The driver was among those killed. So, much is still unclear how and when the fire started, whether this was human error or mechanical failure.
While investigators work to find answers, a convoy of ambulances park nearby, waiting to carry away the dead.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
NEWTON: Global alarm is growing over the war in Ethiopia with the Prime Minister telling people to take up arms as foreigners evacuate and rebels advance.
NEWTON: And welcome, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.
Now, dramatic developments in Ethiopia with the Prime Minister now vowing to lead his country's troops on the frontlines of the Civil War.
Abiy Ahmed's call to arms came after the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front claim to capture two towns. Now, during their advanced toward the capital. The U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa says there's been some diplomatic progress, but both sides are still trying to achieve their goals militarily, and each seems to think they are on the cusp of winning.
CNN's Larry Madowo has this update.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is not the first time that the Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is issuing a call to arms, but it is the first time that he's promising to personally go to the front lines.
In fact, he sees this as a final fight to save Ethiopia from internal and external enemies. And he's asking -- he's trying to paint this as this nationalist movement for that people of Ethiopia.
A section of his statement says, "Those of you who aim to be one of Ethiopia's children, who will be celebrated in history, rise up today for your country. Let's meet at the war front. In the past and in the present, the needs and lives of each and every one of us is below Ethiopia. We would rather die to save Ethiopia than outlive Ethiopia." I've only recently returned from Ethiopia and I saw firsthand how much
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been ratcheting up the rhetoric. How much he's trying to stoke up nationalist sentiment to try and paint an anti-western narrative. And this seems to be the latest attempt to do so.
Whether or not it will be successful, it's hard to tell at this stage. But the last time an African leader went to the battlefront against rebels, it ended in death. That was for the Chadian president, Idris Deby.
I'm not sure how much of this, for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, is performative, is posturing, or if he really intends to do it. But it will be quite significant.
Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.
NEWTON: Now, the violence has triggered calls to immediately evacuate the families of U.N. staff members in Ethiopia. They're expected to leave over the next few days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL Given the security situation in the country and out of an abundance of caution, the United Nations has decided to reduce its footprint in the country by temporarily relocating all eligible dependents.
It's important to note that staff will remain in Ethiopia to deliver on our mandates. We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves, keeping in mind the safety of our staff and that need to continue to stand and deliver and to continue our operations and support all the people that need our assistance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now, Germany, France and the U.S. are also urging their citizens to leave. The U.S. military has positioned special forces in neighboring Djibouti to assist the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia if the situation gets worse.
Now, the newly reinstated prime minister of Sudan tells CNN he made a deal to share power with the military to try and avoid further violence and bloodshed.
Now, Abdalla Hamdok was removed from power last month in a military coup. Since then, more than 40 people have been killed in protests against the move.
Now under a new agreement, Sudan's constitution will be changed to split power between the civilian and military leadership. Now, Hamdok says the deal is isn't perfect, but's, in fact, necessary, he says, to avoid further killings.
Here's part of the prime minister's conversation with my colleague, Becky Anderson.
ABDALLA HAMDOK, PRIME MINISTER OF SUDAN: It is also an impasse nationally, domestically and internationally. This agreement has a great potential in unblocking this. And I think more importantly, it is to allow us to go back to the political process that would allow us to reach the election point and hand over power for an elected people. And allow those various people to choose a government of their choice. That's why we went into this agreement.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Personally, do you feel humiliated by this?
HAMDOK: No, I don't feel humiliated, for one reason. I had to take the right decision in the interest of the country. It's not a personal issue for me.
NEWTON: Now, groups like Sudan's Forces of Freedom, Change Coalition and the Sudan Doctors Syndicate all oppose the new deal, saying there's no room to negotiate or partner with those who orchestrated the coup.
Now, parts of India are still up to their knees in floodwaters following recent monsoon rains. Frustrated citizens are looking for relief from the annual flooding and are wanting the government to take more action.
CNN's Tom Sater reports.
TOM SATER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In southern India, extreme rains have been battering cities and villages. One police officer is waving the traffic through ankle-deep water. Cars and motorcycles are trying to keep to the middle of the street to avoid sinking too deep.
Some people are using buckets to push out water from their homes. Others can't even step into their houses.
RATHNAMMA, BANGALORE RESIDENT (through translator): This is my house. We can't even go inside the house, as water has stagnated in front of it. All the groceries are inside, and we have been outside since 10 p.m. last night.
SATER: Many have died. Dozens are still missing.
Spells of torrential rainfall have been pounding parts of southern India for weeks. This spell began late last week, submerging highways and roads, while completely isolating some villages and blocking access to food and water. And the Indian Meteorological Department says the region is expecting
more heavy rains in the coming days.
Some residents are being rescued on inflatable rafts. Water so deep other rescuers are loading people on tractors to safety. Many see these floods as an annual problem and are frustrated.
One resident says, "Every year it's the same thing. All the dirty water comes inside, and we have to clean it up."
In Bangalore, city officials are planning to renovate the overwhelmed drainage system.
In Chennai, tractors hooked up with pumps are sucking up water trapped on the streets.
In Andhra Pradesh, the state's chief minister conducted an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas, finding hectares of inundated farmlands and residential areas.
With losses mounting each year, residents are becoming restless for some relief.
Tom Sater, CNN.
NEWTON: And meteorologist Tyler Mauldin joins us now with the latest.
And Tyler, hearing Tom there, it doesn't sound as if there's going to be relief anytime soon.
TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, India has had a really tough go of it, especially here of late. And as Tom mentioned in that story, we are going to see more in the way of rainfall in the days to come. More images like this unfortunately, are expected.
The reason that we're seeing the rainfall right now down here across southern India in Sri Lanka is this area of low pressure pushing over. As that area of energy pushes over, it's dropping a lot of rainfall in the same areas, over and over and over again.
Some spots picking up around 500 millimeters of rainfall. But then some isolated areas up to 600. And yes, even 700 millimeters of rainfall within the last 24 hours.
We are going to see more in the way of rain on Thursday, Friday, and even Saturday. So, we have to be prepared for more in the way of flooding.
What we're going to see here is roughly, I would say, 100 to 150 millimeters of rainfall. That's additional rainfall across much of the region down here in southern India and Sri Lanka.
But notice the red here. That is rainfall amounts of 150 to possibly 250. So, some isolated areas could see a lot more than 150 millimeters of rain.
If you live up to the north in New Delhi, you're like, what rainfall? It's completely dry up to the north. All of this is confined down to the south as this area of low pressure pushes out the Bay of Bengal.
And you can see here that we are going to deal with more in the way of rainfall, not just the next few days but more than likely on into next week, too. If there's any consolation, it helps keep the temperatures below average. But we really need that faucet to turn off down there in southern India.
NEWTON: Yes, faucet seems to be the way most people would describe it at this point. Tyler, thanks. Appreciate it.
Now, are you tired of your boss pestering you when you're off the clock? Well, coming up, we'll tell you about Portugal's new law. Yes, a law that could put an end to those after-hours business emails.
NEWTON: The coronavirus pandemic has made remote working the new normal for many people around the world. But when your home is your office, we all know, right, it can be difficult to separate work from your personal life.
Now, Portugal is trying to create a healthier, they say, work-life balance and protect workers off time.
CNN's Isa Soares explains.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Portuguese Parliament here behind me has approved one of the most employee-friendly labor laws in an attempt, really, to preserve the work-life balance, as people continue to work from home.
Now, under this new law, bosses are not allowed to contact employees outside of working hours. And that basically means no phone calls, no text messages and no emails, or else they'll be fined.
(voice-over): The new law says employers must also pay working from home expenses, such as increased electricity, gas and Internet bills.
On the streets of Lisbon, many told me this law was essential.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): With working from home, there was an extension of our working hours. And unfortunately, some bosses could have had a tendency to abuse that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I know what my colleagues and I went through and the lack of regard for working hours. Because they're not respected. People nowadays have to be available 24 hours a day, because they have a company cell phone or a work computer. People have to have their own lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think there should be some sort of regulation in regards to questions of working from home. I'm not sure that just because it's been written in law that will be effective enough for it to be respected.
SOARES: Portugal's ruling Socialist Party is hoping the new labor law will attract digital nomads to their shores.
ANA MENDES GODINHO, PORTUGUESE MINISTER FOR WORK AND SOCIAL SECURITY: This gives power to workers that can choose the best place to live and to work to any part of the world.
Of course, it also gives a huge opportunity to companies that can have the best talent in the world, no matter where the workers live.
SOARES (on camera): It is perhaps a bit too soon to tell how exactly this law will be implemented, but it was one of the last measures taken by Parliament before it was dissolved, ahead of a snap election next year where jobs and the economy are likely to be the main issues.
Isa Soares, CNN, Lisbon, Portugal.
NEWTON: And we have exciting new addition to CNN's portfolio. CNN Portugal is now on the air, a 24-hour, multi-platform news operation in Portuguese.
Now, it's available through TV and digital, in every home right across the country, giving millions more viewers the opportunity to get CNN's reporting in their own language. I urge you to take a look at that.
And thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. WORLD SPORT starts right after a break.