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Omicron Variant Tightening Its Grip On Europe; Australia's NSW Reports Record COVID Hospitalizations; Israel Prime Minister: Must Act Swiftly To Stay Ahead Of Omicron; Sources: Army Reneging On Deal Led To Prime Minister's Resignation. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 04, 2022 - 02:00:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (on camera): 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, with COVID hospitalizations on the rise across Europe, the British prime minister is warning the unvaccinated that could soon be you in the ICU.

Sudan's prime minister resigned amid violent anti-coup protests. Now, the military is in full control as the country's democratic transition is all but over.

And with the Winter Olympics just one month away as Omicron sweeps the globe, how the Beijing bubble is being built to try and shut it out.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM: with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

Well, the ultra-contagious Omicron variant is pushing cases to all- time highs in parts of the world, as exhausted countries scrambled to slow the spread. The dark red areas, seeing infections surged by at least 50 percent in the past week, compared to the previous week.

Israel has announced medical workers and people over 60 are now eligible for a fourth vaccine dose starting Tuesday, as long as it's been at least four months since they received their third dose.

In Ireland, nearly 4,000 frontline workers are out on COVID related leave as hospitalization soar more than 40 percent. Cases are also skyrocketing in the U.K., where the prime minister is asking everyone to follow restrictions to reduce the burden on hospitals.

He says the majority of the people in intensive care have not been vaccinated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I think we've got to recognize that the pressure on our NHS, on our hospitals, is going to be considerable in the course -- the next couple of weeks, and maybe more. Because there's no question Omicron continues to surge through the country.


CHURCH: And CNN as Jim Bittermann has following all of this live for us from Paris. Good to see you, Jim. So, I want to go first, this tension in parliament over plans to extend the health pass in France. What happened with that?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, exactly, Rosemary. In fact, the government's plan was somewhat thwarted last night, because the government here has been planning to extend the health pass, which is required to get into bars, restaurants, any kind of public event required here in France.

And the fact is that they wanted to get this bill through which would extend it and in fact, make it that there would not be exceptions for testing. As it stands now, for example, if you want to go into a bar restaurant, you have to have this health pass, which is proof of your vaccinations, and or a recent test.

What they want to do is eliminate the testing part of that, so that you can only go into bars and restaurants with vaccination -- proof of vaccinations. And that, in fact, is something that has brought up a lot of anxiety amongst the opposition here. They argued about it for a good bit of time yesterday.

Around midnight last night, the government tried to get them to keep on debating all night long. And that motion failed. So, now whether they'll be able to get this back on track to put it in place on January 15th, as a government hope is something of a mystery. They're going to try to get things back on track today. But it may not happen, Rosemary.

CHURCH: What is the latest on vaccinations and testing in Paris and across France, and of course, the situation across the rest of Europe, including the Netherlands?

BITTERMANN: Well, in fact, here Rosemary, here in France, of course, the rates have been going up and in meteoric fashion. I mean, the health minister started the debate yesterday by saying that two French have being infected every second in this country.

So, it really was a dramatic way to open things didn't seem to have much impact on the voting.

Nonetheless, as you're mentioned, in Holland, for example, they are grappling with the same question that a lot of governments in France -- in Europe are grappling with, and that is how to get students back into school. The difference in Holland is that they have been on a strict lockdown since the 19th of December, before Christmas. And as a consequence, they are planning to open up this to the schools next Monday, hoping that things will stabilize some extent, even though overnight figures from Holland were not particularly good, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, right. Jim Bittermann, joining us live from Paris. Many thanks for that.


CHURCH: Well, the Omicron variant is spreading quickly in the Asia Pacific region, Australia's most populous state is reporting a record number of COVID hospital admissions, New South Wales now has one of the highest infection rates in the world.

So, let's turn to CNN's Blake Essig, he joins us live from Tokyo. Good to see you, Blake.


CHURCH: So, Australia did such a great job, didn't it, in the initial stages of this pandemic? So, why is the state of New South Wales now struggling with one of the highest infection rates in the world and record number of hospitalizations?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, you know, Rosemary, you're absolutely right. Australia really did a good job of managing the pandemic. But despite a vaccination rate of about 77 percent fully vaccinated people across the entire country, case numbers and hospitalizations in Australia have hit a new pandemic high. And of course, it could be as a result of the new variant Omicron.

Now, earlier this week, more than 44,000 cases were reported. And just yesterday, New South Wales, Australia's most populous state are reported more than 23,000 new cases and infection positivity rate of almost 28 percent. That's one of the highest infection rates in the world.

And to put that into perspective, according to the WHO, World Health Organization, positivity rate of five percent or less is what's required to keep the spread of infection under control in Australia, 28 percent, excuse me, in New South Wales.

Now, this record-breaking number of infections comes about a week after the national Cabinet changed the definition of COVID-19 close contact in order to reduce the strain on PCR testing sites across the country.

Now, despite the dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations, a Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australia's Channel 7 earlier this week, that "We have to stop thinking about case numbers and think about serious illness, living with the virus, managing our own health and ensuring that we are monitoring those symptoms and we keep our economy going." While it is believed that the Omicron variant is more transmissible, a government officials say that the push to reopen the economy has to do with its milder health impact compared to other variants like Delta, reducing the risk to both individuals and the healthcare system.

Now, here in Japan, although the health cases remain relatively low across the country, in Japan, South southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, they reported more than 130 new cases on Monday. That is the highest single-day total since last September. An increase of infection to local communities that Okinawa's local government is blaming on the U.S. military.

Now, on Monday, the U.S. military reported nearly 3,700 cases across the prefecture and more than 500 cases from a single base.

Here is what Okinawa's governor had to say about it last Sunday.


DENNY TANAKI, GOVERNOR OF OKINAWA PREFECTURE (through translator): I'm outraged because the rise in the number of infected among U.S. military personnel suggests that their management is not enough.


ESSIG: On response to the recent surge in cases among U.S. military personnel, a Marine Forces have reinstated mask mandates for everyone on base regardless of their vaccination status.

And finally, there is some good news out of India where India has been slow to approve vaccinations for kids on Monday, the first day of its COVID-19 rollout for children. More than 4 million kids between the ages of 15 and 18 received the shot.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to praise the vaccination, saying that it's an important step forward in protecting the youth against COVID-19.

Of course, India is currently seeing a surge in cases across the country with more than 37,000 cases reported in the past 24 hours. Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Blake Essig, bringing us the very latest there from his vantage point in Tokyo. Appreciate it. Well, Israelis are lining up in droves for COVID testing after health experts predicted daily cases will reach record highs in the coming weeks.

But a new fourth dose of COVID vaccine is now available to some. Elliott Gotkine has the latest on Israel's battle against the Omicron variant.


ELLIOT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Fourth time's the charm? Israel's immunosuppressed began receiving their second booster shot on New Year's Eve. On Sunday evening, almost two weeks after trumpeting the plan, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said they'd now be joined by those over 60 and health care workers.

NAFTALI BENNETT, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort. Omicron is not Delta. It's a different ballgame altogether. We must keep our eye on the ball, act swiftly and decisively if we want to continue engaging and working with an open country as much as possible throughout this pandemic.

GOTKINE: To that end, Bennett also announced that quarantine requirements would be lifted completely on people exposed to an Omicron carrier, so long as they test negative and their vaccinations are up to date.

Yet, with long lines outside testing centers and cases doubling every few days, Israel is bracing itself for the full force of its fifth COVID wave. The only bright spot, it may not last.

ERAN SEGAL, ADVISOR TO THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT ON COVID-19: Our projection is that this wave is going to be rather quick and that within about three weeks, I estimate that at least 2 million people Here in Israel which is about one-fourth of the population is going to -- is going to be infected and that may lead to a sort of herd immunity after which we may see a slowdown.


GOTKINE: For now though, Israel is hoping Omicron's possibly lower level of severity, together with the rollout of the second booster will help keep the number of serious cases down, and that like other COVID waves before it, this one too shall pass.

Elliott Gotkine, CNN, Jerusalem.


CHURCH: And joining me now is Dr. Scott Miscovich, a U.S. consultant for COVID-19 testing, as well as president and CEO of Premier Medical Group USA. Thank you, Doctor, for all that you do and for talking with us.


CHURCH: Very well. Very well, indeed. So, Doctor, the Omicron variant is driving up infections right across the world with each nation of course, trying to figure out how to contain these surging cases and hospitalizations. The overall assessment though appears to be that while Omicron is more contagious, it seems less severe.

How much comfort should we all take from that?

MISCOVICH: There's no other way to see it, but none, because of the balance with the rise in cases, right? That's why we're seeing hospitalizations reach all-time highs because, yes, it is, we now have definitive information that is more mild, especially we have much better data if you had prior infection, or you are vaccinated even two, even three, your chances of severe hospitalization go way down, of death goes way down. But it is so much more infectious.

Remember, right now we are now dealing with a second most infectious virus known to mankind with measles being one.

So, when you have maybe one-third, the less number of people hospitalized, but the number infected go up four to five times, it puts a surge on your healthcare system. It's still so dangerous for those who are not vaccinated appropriately.

CHURCH: And that's particularly a problem for children, isn't it? Because here in America, an unprecedented number of children are getting hospitalized. Many not get vaccinated because parents are resisting or some just too young to get a shot.

But the FDA has now authorized Pfizer boosters for kids 12 to 15, and some immune compromised kids 5 to 11. What impact could this have going forward on this surge in pediatric cases?

MISCOVICH: Well, you know, a startling number for me. CDC announced now we had 547 children per day being hospitalized last week. And that's a lot. You know, that is certainly a lot.

And some of the children going into intensive care and are on ventilators. So, any booster we know right now will take you up to that point where the chance of being hospitalized or having severe illness will go down significantly, especially important as we head into returning to school.

And it seems like across the country, many states are pushing the kids back to school, and I'm all for school. But this is a very dangerous time. So, yes, this will be very important.

But if you really look at the overall vaccination rates, they really still need to pick up from that age group for not only boosters but to get the first shots.

CHURCH: Yes, it's a very good point, because there's very low pick up on that for the younger kids isn't there.

So, despite seeing some pushback from anti-vaxxers, we are learning now that about 85.5 percent of Americans aged 18 and over have had at least one COVID vaccine shot.

Now, if all those people go ahead and get their second and third shots in the next few months, how soon could we start to see an end to this pandemic do you think?

MISCOVICH: Oh, I kind of shudder hearing the word, end, or normal, or endemic. Because, as we saw today, there's an announcement that 12 people coming from Cameroon and France were found to have a variant of the Omicron.

We're kind of in the middle of the pandemic, most of us believe, because we still have a large portion of the world that needs to be vaccinated so that we can really see the total risk go down. So, from my perspective, we're going to start seeing that we'll have less disease in states or countries like ours that have high vaccination rates. But again, you and I talked about this before until we turn and focus on the poorer countries of the world. We're still going to have the option that we'll have variants popping up and let everybody understand.


MISCOVICH: We'll be -- future. We will need more vaccinations as time goes on. This is not our last one.


CHURCH: Yes, and at the moment, countries are still looking at their own citizens aren't they? They are not sort of looking outward. I mean in some instances, we're seeing some being sent overseas, but for the most part, people are more concerned about their own citizens.

And just very quickly, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's more relevant now to look at hospitalizations rather than infections. If that is the case, then, we're talking about 100,000 Americans currently hospitalized, what does that tell us?

MISCOVICH: Yes, see, I still have to disagree with that. Because, you know, one, it's a tremendous number. And we see the strain on our healthcare system and all those health care workers, and those poor families that have people there and sick and on ventilators.

But what we also are not talking about is, what about long-term COVID? What about those people are going to have that foggy brain when they're discharged or, or the eight we still know that are going to be permanently disabled.

So, focusing on only hospitalizations is not really focusing on the effects of the entire population. So, you know, we have to have a much broader look, and it has to be preventing overall infection.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. And of course, all citizens who have access to these vaccines need to take up that opportunity. And we can't leave at that point enough.

Dr. Scott Miscovich, always a pleasure to talk with you. Many thanks.

MISCOVICH: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And still to come, the Beijing Winter Olympics are now a month away. A look at the measures China is taking to prevent a COVID outbreak of the upcoming games.

And a critical moment for Sudan, new details on why the prime minister resigned and his warning about the country's political future. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Strong winds are being blamed for restarting the fire at South Africa's Parliament complex. Firefighters return Monday to battle the flames just a day after the initial fire caused extensive damage.

The roof of one building collapsed and the chamber of the National Assembly was gutted. A 49-year-old man is under arrest and charged with arson and theft. He's expected to make his first court appearance in the coming hours.

Well, sources in Sudan say the sudden resignation of the country's prime minister was triggered after the military reneged on a fragile power-sharing agreement, plunging the country further into political uncertainty. CNN's Nima Elbagir reports.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok stepped down from his role, but not before he issued a dire warning.


ABDALLA HAMDOK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF SUDAN (through translator): Our country is going through a dangerous turning point that may threaten its entire survival if it is not urgent remedied. In light of this diaspora and conflicts within the political forces and between all the components of the transition.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): His country he believes is at an impasse and moving forward may prove untenable. CNN spoke to sources both close to the prime minister and throughout the country civilian political leadership, and they paint a picture of military rulers refusing not only to come through on their promises but on broader promises to the international community to push the country through a transition.

Sources close to Prime Minister Hamdok tells us that the basic principle of noninterference stipulated in his November agreement, which was meant to bring the country back from the precipice that it had been broken repeatedly by Sudan's military, who attempted to interfere with his choices, all the way down from Cabinet-level to some of the most junior postings.

But beyond that, they say that the prime minister was shocked to see a statement released by Sudan's military on the state news agency SUNA, announcing a rebranded renewed intelligence services. NIS, as it had formerly be known -- been known, be known was now to be referred to as GIS.

Now, NIS, in its day was among the most feared apparatus of oppression utilized by both Sudan's current military leaders and the former dictator that they served under Omar al-Bashir.

The worry is that in spite of offers by some within the international community, most notably, the U.N., shared with CNN just hours ago, to oversee moderation, the question for many of those were speaking to in Sudan is moderation with whom and towards what? (END VIDEO CLIP)

ELBAGIR (on camera): What hope is there for a peace process, when the soldiers seem, as many of those were speaking to tell us, seem hell- bent on returning the country to the previous status quo?

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.

CHURCH: And for more on this, let's turn now to Andrew E. Yaw Tchie in London. He is a senior fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

Thank you so much for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, sources suggest that sedans prime minister resigned because the army reneged on the power-sharing deal, what more are you learning about that?

YAW TCHIE: That is true, and that is part of the problem that we've had as well. But also, we know that there is been problems with the Fourteen Point agreement that was put in place. This has been problematic, largely because it didn't have the support of the protests on the street.

But also what we do know is that the political leads are divided. The FCC, which is a group that brings together the civilians and other components together, have had problems to try and bring things and move the country forward. And in essence, what this mean is that even though the prime minister was reappointed by himself to say, there wasn't sort of support for him, post this Fourteen Point agreement.

As this has made the legitimacy of his own actions very difficult. But also, moving things forward has been very difficult, because in last since most purchases, against see him as a person to meet the country forward.

CHURCH: As you mentioned, the prime minister's resignation did come amid these violent anti-coup protests. Now, the military is in full control, of course, bringing an end to Sudan's democratic transition. So, what happens now? And what's the country's likely political future?

YAW TCHIE: Well, I think that it's important that the military is always drawn to has never necessarily left. What he did, he was military trying to play, what it taught is set to ship that will work in conjunction with itself, but also his uncle. And so what do you have now is that political, sort of stalemate.

So, we don't know who's going to take control, but whoever is nominated by the -- would need to have legitimacy within the force, in this case, the military, but also RSF leadership. Because if not, this concludes, and prevents not moving. So who would those protesters on the street like to see leading the country? Well, I think that's key because they're also provided.

What they want is a force for the leadership. They do not want any military involved, and rightly so. Because of the coup, and also because of the military. That side would need to (INAUDIBLE). And that really requires support from the U.N. mission that is based in country, the African Union, and the (INAUDIBLE).


YAW TCHIE: But it also needs all parties to come together, particularly, with the protesters and the head to the protesters, think about the robust and resilient approach to support some sort of formal agreement. But also put into play -- put it in place, sorry, or establish a strategy that is supported by the African Union. He got the Troika countries, in this case, U.S., U.K., and Norway to move the country forward.

And I think if we just look at the elections as the final sort of pinnacle point, then we're going to be in problem here. But it's really about how do we like legitimate Legislative Counsel, but also the rightly backup the Sudan forward, and that will take time. That's what we said that we will find overnight.

CHURCH: All right, Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Well, 23 people --


YAW TCHIE: Thank you very much.

CHURCH: Thank you.

We're 23 people. Thank you. 23 people have been killed in fighting between rival guerrilla groups in northern Colombia. Colombia's president says the leftist group ELN, and dissident factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC were fighting over control of drug trafficking.

At least 12 families have been displaced as a result of the violence. And now, the army is trying to restore calm.

Well, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is in hospital for an intestinal obstruction. It's the latest medical issue linked to a 2018 stabbing on the campaign trail. The hospital says he is showing improvement and took a short walk Monday.

Bolsonnaro's doctor tells CNN Brazil he will examine the president today, but doesn't expect he'll need another surgery.

Coming up next, from the 2008 summer games to the 2022 Winter Olympics. CNN takes a look at how China and its relationship with the U.S. has changed. We're back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, for the second time in 14 years, China is set to host the Olympics. The opening ceremony for the Beijing Winter Games is now a month away. Relations between the U.S. and China have been strained since the last Olympics were held in China in 2008. And next month, Washington plans a diplomatic boycott over the country's human rights record.

CNN's David Culver has more.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mention Beijing Olympics and for many, this mesmerizing production that was 2008 still comes to mind. A celebration as China stepped onto the global stage seemingly embraced by the rest of the world.


Photos show a very different U.S.-China relationship.

Then U.S. President George W. Bush, in the stands, sitting shoulder to shoulder with Chinese officials. Passionately cheering on Team USA and grinning as he shook hands with a smiling, Xi Jinping, then China's Vice President.

BOB COSTAS, SPORTS BROADCASTER: And in 2008, President Bush was there.

CULVER (voiceover): As veteran sports broadcaster, Bob Costas, reminds us, in 2008 China's human rights record had already come into question, particularly its treatment of Tibetans. But still, there were hopes that the Olympic gathering might help it change course.

COSTAS: Now, here is China, hosting an Olympics again, what, a decade and a half --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were present. Nothing's changed.

COSTAS: -- after the last one. And one of the big questions now that you can't evade, is what is it with the IOC and their affinity for authoritarian nations?


CULVER (voiceover): Some critics say, the International Olympic Committee is turning a blind eye to grave offenses, by allowing the 2022 winter games to go ahead. The IOC says, it recognizes and upholds human rights. And, "The IOC must remain neutral on all global political issues." But, widespread criticism of the Chinese government, especially over alleged human rights abuses of the Uyghurs in the far Western Xinjiang region, have led the Biden Administration to announce a diplomatic boycott of the games. Still letting Team USA compete, but don't expect any photos like these.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Biden Administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation.

CULVER (voiceover): No one would care whether these people come or not and it has no impact, whatsoever, on the Olympics.

Under an increasingly powerful and undisputed ruler, Xi Jinping, China is on a different path from what the West had hoped. From a trade war to threats of an actual war in the South China Sea. Prodemocracy protests in Hong Kong were quickly squashed. Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, now facing mounting pressure to come under Beijing's control. And many countries still questioning the origins of COVID-19, along with China's initial mishandling and alleged cover-ups of the outbreak.

We recently went to Beijing's Olympic village from 2008.

CULVER (on camera): Guess we can't go through. Blocked off.

CULVER (voiceover): Many of the structures repurposed for the 2022 Winter Games. The joyful cheers, now, feeling like a distant memory.

CULVER (on camera): Leading up to the 2008 Olympics, China was opening up. Now, we are, literally, seeing it closed up. This is a pedestrian pathway that's supposed to take you up to where you see the torch and several of the competition venues. And, yes sure, because of COVID you can't go there, but also, it's symbolic of the geopolitics that have China shutting off to the rest of the world.

CULVER (voiceover): A nation stronger and prouder than ever before. Hosting its 2nd Olympic games. The warm camaraderie of 2008 long past. Frost year relations as an increasingly skeptical global audience watches on from afar.

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


CHURCH: And joining us now is Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong. Good to see, you Kristie. So, we are a month away from the opening ceremony, and a pregame version of the closed loop bubble is now on operation. What is that exactly and how does it work?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The Beijing Winter Olympic Games, now, just one month away and the bubble has already begun. The Olympic games will be held in this closed loop system. This bubble that will be covering all stadiums, all arenas, venues, accommodations as well. All participants and athletes will be required to stay inside of the bubble and to undergo daily COVID-19 testing.

And today, the global times reported that the pregame bubble has officially opened today for all overseas Olympic participants. In addition to that, there is an announcement of this train across province, high speed train, that will be operating that has divided carriages to separate the Olympic participants from the general population inside China. And this is critical for China, especially given the timing. The Beijing Olympic games will be taking place as the Lunar New Year kicks off. That's the time of year in China where hundreds of millions of people, many of them, taking to trains, go home for the holidays.

And the Beijing Winter Olympic games will be a very big test for China's zero-COVID policy for pandemic control. And that's going to be very difficult, given the high transmissibility, the infectious nature of the Omicron variant. China has only reported a handful of Omicron cases. And experts have pointed out that the population could be very vulnerable to infection given its low exposure to Omicron, given the low efficacy of China's homegrown vaccines, and given the limits of its zero-COVID policy. Listen to this.



YANZHONG HUANG, SENIOR FELLOW FOR GLOBAL HEALTH, COUNCIL ON FOREING RELATIONS: The problem is not the vaccine. It's the policy. It's -- it's -- because under the zero-tolerance policy, even the best vaccines, you know, cannot fulfill the objectives, you know, set by the government.


STOUT: And inside China, Rosemary, public patients for China's zero- COVID policy is being pushed to the limit. Case in point, the situation to the Northern Chinese City of Shiyan now entering its 13th day of lockdown. People there are still forced to stay at home. Not allowed to go outside unless to get a COVID test. They can't go out to buy food or essential supplies.

Many people in the last week have taken to social media to vocalize their concerns and to ask for help. And we've even monitored one hashtag on Sina Weibo, the social media platform in China, the hashtag grocery shopping and Shiyan is difficult. That has been viewed, as of this morning, 420 million times.

Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Nearly two weeks of lockdown? That is very draconian, isn't it?

And just ahead of the games, Kristie, Chinese officials are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 cases, of course. But also, for possible protest. What is being planned or likely planned in terms of protest?

STOUT: Well, Chinese officials will be monitoring very closely any signs of protest that would take place during the games which would be very politically embarrassing for the host government of the upcoming Winter Olympics. They're looking out for any protests, expressing criticism, or China's treatment of Hong Kong, of Xinjiang, of Taiwan, of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

Already, as we've reported the United States and a number of its allies have announced diplomatic boycotts of the upcoming games. But the athletes from the United States, Australia, and other countries, will still be able to take part in the games. So, all eyes are on these athletes. And to see who will fill the urge to speak out. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Kristie Lu Stout, joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks as always.

And still to come, Prince Andrew's legal team is trying to dismiss a sexual assault case against him. We will have details of that lawsuit just ahead.


Welcome back everyone. Well, in the coming hours, a federal judge in New York will hear arguments on whether to drop a sexual assault case against Prince Andrew. His lawyers, claim a 2009 agreement between Virginia Giuffre and sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, shields the Prince from Giuffre's lawsuit. That settlement has now been unsealed.

CNN's Max Foster has the details.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the document that Prince Andrew's team had been waiting for. It's an agreement between Giuffre and Epstein signed back in 2009. She received $500,000 for signing it. And it does say that she agrees not sue anyone connected to Epstein who could be described as a potential defendant.


Now, Prince Andrew isn't named, specifically, in this document. Prince Andrew's team are certainly going to use it to try to have the case thrown out. That will be heard in a New York Court on Tuesday. A critical hearing then. It could be the end to this case or the judge could rule that the case continues and we could go on to having depositions, potentially, from Prince Andrew. His ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, even the Duchess of Sussex, has been mentioned to someone who could be deposed in this case.

But right now, it's all about Tuesday's hearing and whether the judge feels that this disagreement between Giuffre and Epstein means the Prince Andrew case should be thrown out. Prince Andrew's team haven't responded to the release of this document yet.

Giuffre's team, however, have issued a statement. David Boies is her attorney, saying, that he firmly believes that this agreement has nothing to do with the current Prince Andrew case in New York. He said, as we've said from the beginning, the release is irrelevant to Miss Giuffre's claim against Prince Andrew. The release does not mention Prince Andrew. He did not even know about it. He could not have been a potential defendant in the settled case against Jeffrey Epstein.

So, the judge will need to decide whether or not this agreement plays into the trial in New York or what will be a trial, potentially, in September or whether or not it's completely irrelevant and the case continues. Prince Andrew denies all charges that Giuffre has laid against him.

Max foster, CNN, Hampshire.

CHURCH: A California jury has convicted the founder of Theranos on four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy. Elizabeth Holmes claimed her company revolutionized blood testing and could detect conditions like cancer and diabetes with just a few drops. Turns out, the tests weren't very accurate and she was charged with lying to doctors, patients, and investors. She faces up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and restitution for each count.

Lawyers for the Trump family are moving to try and quash subpoenas for Donald Junior and Ivanka Trump in a fraud investigation. Officials also want to question Former President Trump over allegations. He inflated his wealth to secure bank loans while at the same time underreporting their value to reduce his taxes.

Apple is the first company in the world to hit $3 trillion in market value. It reached the milestone, briefly, on Monday when shares rose to an all-time high before pulling back later in the day. Overall, Apple stock rose up almost 35 percent last year driven by strong iPhone sales and subscriptions to Apple Music and Apple TV.

David Bowie's estate has sold the late singers entire songwriting catalog including hits like, "Ashes to Ashes," and this one you may remember.


DAVID BOWIE, SINGER-SONGWRITER: We can be Heroes, just for one day.


CHURCH: All magnificent of course. And Warner Chappell Music made the purchase for an undisclosed amount. Although, The New York Times reports it was roughly around $250 million. It includes songs from all 26 of Bowie's studio albums, released during his life. Plus, material released after his death and other projects.

And thanks so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back in 15 minutes. World Sport is coming up next.