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Dozens Dead and Thousands Hurt in Kazakhstan's Violence; Novak Djokovic's Family Reacts at Australia's Policies; President Biden Blames Former President Trump for January 6th Attack; Threats Posted Online Against Lawmakers; Growing Outcry Over Mishandling Of Xi'an Lockdown; WHO, No Increased Risk For Winter Olympics In Beijing; India Reports 117,000 New Daily Cases; France Softens COVID Testing Rules For Schools; Global COVID Cases Up 71 Percent In Week ending January 2; WHO Warns Against Underestimating Omicron's Impact; Chile To Offer Fourth Vaccine Dose To Immunocompromised; Freight Trains' Comeback; Rare Collision Of A Ship And A Submarine; Chinese Premier Calling For Tax Cuts To Boost Economy; Consumer Electronics Show. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 07, 2022 - 03:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

Ahead on CNN Newsroom, Russian troops now in Kazakhstan trying to put an end to violent protests that have left dozens dead and hundreds of people hurt.

Plus, the father of the world's top tennis players says his son is being persecuted for not being vaccinated. A look at what's next for Novak Djokovic as he awaits a hearing on his cancelled visa in Australia.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I did not seek this fight. Brought to this capitol one year ago today. But I will not shrink from it either.


KINKADE (on camera): U.S. President Joe Biden calls the capitol attack a dagger at democracies as he points the finger at Donald Trump on the anniversary of the insurrection.

UNKNOWN: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN Newsroom with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: Hello. We begin in Kazakhstan where the country's president says constitutional order has been mainly restored in all regions. That's after massive anti-government protests swept through the nation this week, leaving dozens of people dead. That's according to state media. Meanwhile, the Russian-led military alliance is laying out the ground

rules for its deployment there. The group says its so-called peacekeeping mission will be sort and limited in scope. But the U.S. says the deployment is questionable since Kazakhstan has its own security forces. European Union and Britain are calling for calm.


NABILA MASSRALI, SPOKESPERSON, EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): We condemn acts of violence, acts of vandalism and looting which have taken place in Almaty. And we regret any loss of life. The violence must stop!

LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We condemn the acts of violence and the destruction of property in Almaty. And we will be cooperating further with our allies on what further steps we should take.


KINKADE (on camera): Well, our Nina dos Santos is monitoring the developments in Kazakhstan and joins us now from London. Nina, Russian troops and other former Soviet troops, they have now arrived in the country at the request of the president who had resigned. But already this protest has turned deadly for both protesters and police.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's why President Tokayev there, very much taking aim at what he called international backed terrorists without being able to offer thus far any evidence that any of these people who have taken to the streets are actually backed by international groups.

A lot of people appeared to have taken to the streets basically because the cost of living has skyrocketed. There's a list of grievances that they have and they don't have a huge amount of other ways to protest apart from being on the streets because Kazakhstan is being described as an authoritarian regime, if you like, largely being controlled up until recently by one man, Nursultan Nazarbayev for decades since the fall of the USSR.

As you can see, from these pictures that we've been showing our viewers over the last week, things have been getting more and more difficult to watch. Buildings are on fire. Police and security forces having being killed, also many of dozens of protesters apparently having lost their lives.

The interior ministry figures cite at least 26 fatalities among the protesters, about a dozen police officers also losing their lives. But there are thousands more injured right across the country.

This is the 9th largest country in the world. It stretches right from the borders of caucuses all the way towards the Chinese borders which is closer to where Almaty, the former capital city is, which is been the epicenter of this type of violence.

And now we have the question mark of what exactly the role of these supposed peacekeeping forces coming from post-Soviet states, notably Russia. And also, another autocrat which is Belarus is going to be. There's big question marks among western watches of whether or not they will be staying for a long time, also what their exact mission is, and also how they're going to be restoring law and order.

We hear that supposedly law and order is being restored overnight and that the airport, for instance is being freed from the hands of protesters. But the question mark is, how long will they be there, what methods will they use to try and maintain law on order and further down the line will any of this have any effect on Kazakhs sovereignty.


Remember that this is a country that has huge oil and gas and other commodity assets. And all of this comes in the time when obviously Vladmir Putin the Russian president is very keen to reestablish Russian sphere of influence. We've seen that with the buildup of troops on Ukraine recently.

There's a major flash point for his talks the U.S. President Joe Biden. But now, obviously this problem in Kazakhstan raises more issues at another place, which is on the border with China. Which of course is a major geopolitical focal point for western powers as well. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes. It certainly is. Nina is covering a lot of anguish there for us. Nina dos Santos in London, thanks very much.

With the Professional Tennis Players Association says it's been in contact with Novak Djokovic and verified his wellbeing. The world's number one tennis player was denied entry into Australia for allegedly not meeting vaccination requirements and he could be deported.

A court hearing has been set for Monday just one week before the Australian Open begins.

CNN's Phil Black reports.



PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At a rally in Serbia's capital a huge crowd joined Novak Djokovic's family demanding freedom for a national hero

SRDJAN DJOKOVIC, NOVAK DJOKOVIC'S FATHER (through translator): They are holding him captive! Our Novak. Our pride. Novak is Serbia, and Serbia is Novak.

BLACK: His mother's emotions are more personal.

DIJANA DJOKOVIC, NOVAK DJOKOVIC'S MOTHER: I feel terrible since yesterday. The last 24 hours that they are keeping him as a prisoner. It's just not fair. It's not human. BLACK: This is the drab building in Melbourne, Australia where

Djokovic is now reportedly confined. A hotel, recently used to quarantine returning travelers now housing asylum seekers. And the world's number one tennis player.

D. DJOKOVIC: Terrible condition, it's just some small immigration hotel as we can -- if it's hotel at all with some bugs with -- it's so dirty and the food is so terrible.

BLACK: Outside that hotel, Melbourne Serbian community is rallying too. Furious at Djokovic's treatment.

UNKNOWN: Freedom for Djokovic today and forever!

BLACK: There is less concern for Djokovic from one of his greatest rivals. The 6th ranked Rafael Nadal.

RAFAEL NADAL, 20-TIME GRAND SLAM WINNER: If he wanted it, he will be playing here in Australia without a problem, no?

He went through another -- he makes his own decisions and everybody is free to take their own decisions but then there are some consequences.

BLACK: The consequences in this case could alter the future of world class tennis. Spain's Nadal, Djokovic, and the Swiss player Roger Federer have each won 20 Grand Slam tournaments. Federer isn't playing in the Australian Open. So, Djokovic is deported, that would leave Nadal with an easier run to potentially win his 21st title. Statistically becoming the greatest of all time.

Nadal, unlike Djokovic is open and proud of his vaccination status.

NADAL: I believe in what the people who knows about medicine says. The people say that we need to get vaccinated. We need to get vaccinated. We need to get the vaccine. That's my point of view.

BLACK: This picture shows Djokovic at Melbourne airport's passport control shortly after his arrival trying and ultimately failing to convince border officials that he should be allowed into the country. His lawyers will argue the case again before a Melbourne court on Monday. But even if they're successful, there is little chance of calming Australia's public and political outrage.

BARNABY JOYCE, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Sometimes I get a sense that people who make a lot of money start believing that they have evolved somehow above the laws of the land whether you like them or not.

BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Well CNN's Angus Watson is following the story for us from Sydney. And Angus, I mean, clearly Serbia says the tennis champion is being held captive. His parents say he's being treated like a prisoner. But the Australian government say he's just like any other immigrant coming into the country without the right paperwork.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: That's right. This has caused quite a (Inaudible) between Serbia and Australia. Serbia is called in the Australia ambassador in Belgrade the embassy here for Serbia and Canberra has made representation to the government. The leader of Serbia has also spoken about the treatment of its star player where he is in an immigration detention facility in downtown Melbourne.

Quite astonishing to think that the world's number one men's tennis player in this detention center for days now at least, because it's not until Monday until the court will again resume to hear Novak Djokovic and his lawyer's plead for an injection against his deportation.


A deportation ordered on Wednesday night local time after he'd spent hours in the airport trying to prove that he had the correct medical exemption from being fully vaccinated. We just heard there from Rafael Nadal that if Novak Djokovic wanted this all to go away and wanted to contest the Australian Open, he could've just gotten vaccinated.

He and politicians in Australia including the minister who is in charge of border says he has another option. He could just leave, here's what she had to say today.


KAREN ANDREWS, AUSTRALIAN HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER: Mr. Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia. He is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so, and border force will actually facilitate there.


WATSON (on camera): But there are other people within that immigration detention facility, Lynda, who don't have the choice to leave if they want to. There are at 33 refugees in that hotel turned detention center with Novak Djokovic. There are crowds of people, there have been crowds of people all day today pleading for people to listen to their plight. Some of them are caught up in Australia's immigration detention system for years now in limbo not knowing how long they'll have to remain there because Australia has these strict border policies that says if you come here as the refugee by boat, you won't have the option to stay.

So, these people have been stuck there for years including a person who served in Afghanistan as a translator with U.S. forces, a Rohingya from Myanmar, and several people from Iran, Pakistan as well, Lynda. So, Novak Djokovic has a few more options than some of the people sharing his accommodation.

KINKADE: Yes, he certainly does. We will wait and see how that appeal plays out on Monday. Angus Watson for us in Sydney, thank s very much.

Well Ben Rothenberg is a senior editor at Racquet magazine and joins us from Melbourne. Good to see you again. So, I want to understand, Ben, from your perspective in Melbourne what

the feeling is there given Melbourne had one of the longest lockdowns in the world as a result of the pandemic. Is this case getting much sympathy?

BEN ROTHENBERG, TENNIS EXPERT: Certainly, wasn't initially. It was a swift and immediate anger and resentment when the news that Djokovic would have been granted an exemption. It was put on social media by Djokovic himself before his trip.

There was a lot of resentment toward someone who they saw as seeing himself, fairly or not, as above the rules and trying to cut corners through things that people here have done. And where we're trying to bring the pandemic under control as much as possible, there's been a wide, wide spread vaccination acceptance here.

There's been long lockdowns that were divided and Novak Djokovic became sort of perfect avatar for all sorts of frustration to be directed at as someone coming in from outside for a relatively frivolous purpose, tennis tense tournament, in their view. And not following the rules on the way to do so.

It was really a quite fiery (Inaudible) to bring here. Now that he's facing consequences for having an application for his visa that getting rejected and not being able to get into the country and is being held in a detainment center which he is free to leave the country and leave.

But there is some sympathy, I'm sure for his plight at just some human level being a person stuck in room he doesn't want to be in whether at the airport and now at this detention facility. But overall, I think that his arrival here is definitely not popular and stoked a lot of resentment that politicians were quick to recognize as being potentially expedient for them to try to support.

KINKADE: Yes. I can certainly the frustration in Australia. But I can also understand the frustration from here, his family, from his team who thought they did all the right things, they thought they had this medical exemption, but I have to wonder why tennis Australia who approved his exemption didn't speak to the federal government knowing that this could cause an issue when he arrived into the country?

ROTHENBERG: Yes, I think that's where the remaining questions that sort of accountability needs to come from. Right? Tennis Australia how did they manage it seems like to mislead Novak Djokovic so much into thinking that he was in much better shape than he really was when he came to his status in Australia. They granted him an exemption and he seemed to think that that was a done deal. He would be able to get into the country.

But at no point, according to what we know at this point do they really run that by a federal immigration official to let them check that it would be valid enough to get in and that his reasons would be enough. And then once he announced his exemption it was news to the federal government, and they really start to scrutinize it far more than they probably would have, otherwise not, we don't know exactly if his exemption would've passed regular scrutiny just at the airport.

But under the intense national spotlight he was in they found a definitely lacking. And he couldn't produce any documents at the airport in the eight hours he was held there to bolster his application enough to get him across the border.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. So, if this appeal fails on Monday and he's not allowed to play in the Australian Open what is this going to mean for the Grand Slam?


ROTHENBERG: It means that the tournament will go on. At the Grand Slam they're still -- they determine they're blind on any one player sort of carried them or, I mean, they're relevant. There is still work events that a lot of (Inaudible) with Novak Djokovic but it would make it

competitively a lot more wide open.

He was a huge here to win his 10th title here, go for all-time record men's 21st Grand Slam singles title. And now lots of other players will, if he is indeed out of the picture will have their chance a lot more. People like Rafael Nadal who is tied with Novak right now along with Federer with 20 Grand Slams overall. Nadal is here, not in perfect health, but he's here and competing and seems to be in good spirit and he would like his chances a lot with Djokovic and other field.

Also, the recent U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev who beat Djokovic in the final of the U.S. Open and is the world's number two, I think probably move into the slot as being the favorite to win it without Djokovic in the mix this time.

KINKADE: Yes. And from what we have heard, he hasn't got a lot of sympathy from some of the players in this tournament. And as we have been discussing, Australia has had some of the toughest restrictions in the world. And right now, cases there in Australia are surging, right?

ROTHENBERG: Yes, they are. Now there's a big spike in cases, they're breaking all sorts of records during the Omicron wave. It's really the first wave of the pandemic that has hit Australia with full force. They've done a really great job of keeping COVID out, and being near COVID zero for much of the pandemic.

But this wave has overwhelmed and it's breaking through even with vaccinated people with long lines at testing centers, and running out of at-home testing kits the frustration of many in cities like Melbourne. It's been tough here, and that's the backdrop through which this resentment for Djokovic is probably higher than it would in many other places in the world that many other times in the world.

So, it's a perfect storm that Novak is playing around into, and it was clearly not a smooth landing for him.

KINKADE: Exactly. Exactly. Especially as Sydney is already looking to roll out more restrictions. All right. We'll leave it there for now, Ben Rothenberg, thank you so much.

ROTHENBERG: Thanks, Lynda.

KINKADE: Still ahead on CNN Newsroom, a blistering attack from U.S. President Joe Biden. We'll you who he says is holding a dagger to the throat of American democracy.

Plus, the new homeland security memo reveals the growing number of threats to U.S. lawmakers. How capitol police are responding. We'll have that story after the break.



KATHEE, MOTHER OF U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: A year ago, we watched in horror as rioters invaded the capitol and we know our son Josh was in the middle of all of that as a capitol police officer. Desperately wanting to be here to give him a hug a year ago and couldn't, so we came down today to give him a hug when he gets home from work tonight.

ROBERT, FATHER OF U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: You can see the violence but you didn't really know specifically what was happening. And that, you know, that was really difficult for us to deal with for several hours until we eventually heard from josh.


KINKADE (on camera): Well, those are the parents of a U.S. Capitol police officer speaking to CNN the one year anniversary of the attack that left several people dead.


It also shook the foundations of American democracy. Well, the couple say that during those events a year ago, they waited hours to hear from their son before he could call and let them know he was all right.

Well, U.S. President Joe Biden lead commemorations at the capitol with a blistering attack on his predecessor without mentioning Donald Trump by name. Mr. Biden condemned Trump as a threat to democracy for the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, and directly blamed him for inciting the mob -- mob that attacked the capitol.


BIDEN: Former president supporters are trying to rewrite history. They want you to see election day as the day of insurrection. And the riot that took place here on January 6th as a true expression of the will of the people. Can you think of a more twisted way to look at this country? To look at America?

He is a defeated former president. Defeated by a margin of over seven million of your votes in a full, and free, and fair election.


KINKADE (on camera): Well, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a candlelight vigil on the capitol steps. Earlier in the day, she held a moment of silence in the House and paid tribute to those who protected the capitol during the riot.

Experts warn that the threat posed by domestic extremism remains high. That the threat is outlined in a new memo from the Department of Homeland Security.

CNN's Brian Todd reports from Washington.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the 48 hours leading up to the January 6th anniversary, there was an increase in online extremist content according to a new DHS memo obtained by CNN. It warns that potential violence could be directed against political and other government officials including members of Congress or the president and not limited to Washington, D.C.

One recent online video flagged by the FBI and DHS list 93 members of Congress who voted to certify the 2020 election and calls for them to be hanged in front of the White House. The memo says, quote, "no indication of a specific and credible plot."

But security in Washington has been stepped up amid particular concern about the potential for lone actors.


TODD: Administration officials in part blaming today's divisiveness and misinformation.

MAYORKAS: Ideologies of hate, false information, false narratives are primary sources of the threat landscape that we confront in the United States today.

TODD: Experts on extremism say the threat has not diminished.

OREN SEGAL, DIRECTOR, CENTER ON EXTREMISM, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: The extremists are not done now that we are a year away from January 6. They have not been swayed as a group or a movement from stopping their activity.

TODD: U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger says he expects his force to be tested again. To protect the capitol, he says they have improved intelligence gathering and sharing. Streamline procedures for calling National Guard backup, conducted joint exercises, or improving equipment and training, and planned to hire 280 officers a year for the next three years.

But former D.C. metropolitan police officer Michael Fanone who was dragged out into the mob and beaten during the riot says the work is not yet done. MICHAEL FANONE, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: They also

have to address the security posture, the training, the equipment that is provided to their officers. And also, the physical security of the capitol complex.

TODD: A former capitol police chief says one vulnerability that has to be addressed, the fact that there are still so many entrances to the capital building.

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: We still don't have a safe way to get into the capitol complex. The capitol police have to be everywhere at once and keep a lot of doors open that are done for convenience.

TODD: Over the last year, threats to lawmakers hit a disturbing high with the U.S. Capitol Police reporting 9,600 instances, about 26 a day.

TOM MANGER, CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: The ones that concern us the most are the ones where we have had previous contact with the individual who is making the threat, and we are concerned about their actions.


TODD (on camera): A full year after the attack more than 700 defendants have been arrested in the Justice Department investigation. Attorney General Merrick Garland vowing they'll hold all the perpetrators accountable at any level, but the FBI is still asking for the public's help in identifying more than 350 other people who the bureau believes engaged in violence that day who they still haven't thought.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

KINKADE: Well still to come, stories of loss and despair as Xi'an, China enters a third week of lockdown. How these measures are taking its toll. That story, ahead.

And while some countries in Europe are opening up to vaccinated international travelers, others are struggling to stay open as the Omicron variant spreads. We have a live report from Paris.



KINKADE (on camera): Welcome back. The highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus is driving global cases to some of the highest levels ever seen. The World Health Organization says new infections increased by 71 percent in the week ending January 2nd. But it says deaths decreased but 10 percent during the same time.

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control finds death or severe illness from the coronavirus to be rare for those fully vaccinated. We should note the research was conducted before the rise of the Omicron variant.

Well, as cases skyrocket the head of the WHO warns against underestimating Omicron's impact.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as mild. Just like previous variants Omicron is hospitalizing people and it's killing people. In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.


KINKADE (on camera): Well, the WHO chief also stretched the need for vaccines to be distributed more fairly, calling vaccine inequity one of the biggest failures of 2021.

Well, meanwhile, the U.S. is imposing new restrictions for its military bases in Japan. All personnel are now required to wear masks while off base regardless of vaccination status. COVID-19 tests will also be required before and after arrival in Japan.

And in China frustrations are growing as a city of Xi'an enters a third week of strict lockdown.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong. Kristie, the story is coming out of Xi'an pretty horrific actually inhumane. Some officials are now being held accountable.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right for over two weeks now some 13 million people in the northern Chinese city of Xi'an have been living under this hard lockdown. They have not allowed to leave their homes unless it's for COVID-19 tests. And the residents continued to say that they are struggling to get food, to get basic essentials, to get even access to lifesaving medical care.

We know that local health officials in Xi'an have apologized. They have been punished as well. But to many angry netizens in China, it is not enough.


LU STOUT (on camera): -- As the Chinese city of Xi'an enters a third week of hard lockdown, a harrowing story of loss and punishment.

As we reported earlier, in a graphic video that went viral in China, a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital in Xi'an, because she didn't have a valid COVID-19 tests according to the post from a Weibo user who claims to be her niece. The woman is sitting outside the hospital and bleeding so much, there is a pool of blood at her feet. Hours later, she was finally admitted, but ultimately suffered a miscarriage. And we have since learned that hospital officials have been punished. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT (voice over): The head of the Xi'an Gaocheng hospital and its emergency center director have been suspended, the municipal government announced on Thursday. The Director of Xi'an CDC was also issued a disciplinary warning by the municipal government. He apologized, and vowed to the patient.

But to angry netizens in China, it's not enough. One Weibo user accuses the government of only taking actions after tragedies happened. Another says, there's no need to sacrifice individuals for the group, because we should be able to protect people's lives. A top rated comment ads, this just goes to show, COVID-19 might not kill you, but bureaucrats can.

A metropolis of 13 million. Xi'an has been in hard lockdown since December the 23rd, after more than 200 local COVID-19 cases were detected over two weeks. Residents are forbidden from leaving their homes, unless it's for COVID test.

A month before the Beijing Olympic Games, local officials have vowed to achieve communities zero COVID before beginning to ease the lockdown. But zero COVID has come at a cost.

MATTIE BEKINK, CHINA DIRECTOR ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT: Measures in Xi'an are China's toughest on such a scale since really the early days of the pandemic. There are no signs that China will deviate from the dynamic zero COVID approach or that this current outbreak has been effectively contained. There are still cases in China every day.

LU STOUT: Social media has been flooded with cries for help. Residents say they continue to struggle to get food, basic supplies, and medical attention. One user on (Inaudible), China's Instagram like platform, appealed for help after a hospital refused to admit her father who had just had a heart attack. Why? Because it lived in a medium risk area of the city. She later writes that her father was allowed in emergency the operations, but quote, "The delay was too long and rescue failed. I don't have a father anymore."

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of these videos and post. The video of the bleeding pregnant women outside Gaocheng hospital was widely shared before it was deleted. But the cracks in China's zero COVID strategy have been exposed.


LU STOUT (on camera): Monday, we tragically we have learned that a second pregnant woman in Xi'an has suffered a miscarriage because of delayed medical treatment during this prolonged lockdown. The Chinese's central government has been weighing in. In fact we had heard from the vice premier, who has been telling hospitals in Xi'an not to turned away patients. Back to you.

KINKADE: Yeah, it really is heartbreaking. Kristie Lu Stout for us in Hong Kong. Thank you.

LU STOUT: You're welcome.

KINKADE: Elsewhere in China, Beijing is preparing for the Winter Olympics despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases. The World Health Organization does not expect any increase risk associated with the game. The WHO says it is working with Chinese authorities to the International Olympic Committee to ensure a safe operation. And the current measures in place, are doing their job.


DR. MICHAEL RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO: Certainly, at this stage, given the arrangements that been put in place before the athletes by the organizers. We don't perceive that there's any particular extra risk in hosting the games.


KINKADE: Well, the Winter Olympics will begin February 4th in Beijing.

India is seeing its highest case numbers since early June. It just reported more than 117,000 new daily infections. New Delhi alone more than 15,000 new cases were reported on Thursday evening. And the region plans to go into a lockdown over the weekend. For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi. And we're just seeing day after day these cases continuing to rise and the omicron variant largely to blame.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, that's what the health ministry is also saying that these cases are omicron driven, Lynda. But as you mentioned rightly, India has breach yet again 100,000 case mark with new cases being reported as high as 117,000 in this case. While the death still remain just over 300 in the omicron cases are over 3,000 currently, but Mumbai has seen a record up high of over 20,000 cases.

And while the concern is this surge across India, which is a highly populated country. The other concern and a growing concern are the number of health care workers who are testing positive, be it in Delhi where in just two hospitals there are over 145 cases of doctors testing positive in Mumbai, in four places.


Also, we have 313 resident doctors who tested positive. And these are just resident doctors we are talking about not the nurses, not the senior doctors. In fact, a short while ago, I did speak with one of the members of the COVID task force of the state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra. He has said the Mumbai is going through its third wave. And here is the warning he has for people who were trying to flock to hospitals with their loved ones.


HEMANT P. THACKER, MEMBER, MAHARASHTRA COVID TASK FORCE: This is a warning to my colleagues, and to my patients and community at large. Don't run to hospitals. You know, people have panic in their hearts, and omicron in their minds, and money in their pockets.


SUD: And that is a concern even with other medical experts we've been speaking to ever since the surge across India. Another reason to worry, is (Inaudible), which is one of the biggest slums in Asia. It's located in Mumbai. As of last evening, which is Thursday evening, 170 new cases have been reported from the slum area. We know that this virus is highly contagious and people are there, really live cheek to jaw and that could be a growing concern in the coming days for the city of Mumbai.

As of now, India's health ministry is not calling this a third wave across India, they are just saying that they've seen a surge in cases in many big cities. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, Vedika Sud, we will leave it there for now but we will touch base with you over the weekend, no doubt. Thanks very much.

Well, France is softening its coronavirus testing requirements for students return to the classroom after positive cases are detected. More than 9,200 classrooms are shut down across the country, in the past month because of COVID infections.

The more on that on the other COVID headlines across Europe, I'm joined now by our Jim Bittermann in Paris. Good to see you Jim, so students went back to school this week. And we do have now these softer rules regarding infection rates. And it comes as we are seeing the surge in pediatric infections?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): That's exactly right, Lynda. In fact people here, authorities here are quite worried about this surge of COVID among young people. Especially at the schools, schools opened on Monday. And just since Monday, more than 47,000 students across the country have tested positive and more than 5,000 personnel in these schools have also tested positive.

And so, they impose a kind of testing routine, very confusing in the way it's been ruled out. Basically requiring people to test, to get back into classrooms require them to have three negative tests over the course of four days.

There's slightly softening that overnight, but the education minister says the objective is constantly to keep the schools open. They want to keep the schools open and as such, they have this rather draconian testing regime which threatens to put a real burden on the amount of tests that are available for people, especially for parents who want to get their kids back into school.

Overall, in a situation in France is not that great. The incidents rate here is over 2,000 per 100,000 population. And that's 2,000 testing positive for a 100,000. Just to give you an example, compared to Germany, the testing, the incidents rate is 300. So, it's about seven times as much in France as in Germany.

KINKADE: Yeah, right. So while we are seeing a softening of some rules to get kids back in classrooms, and keep classes open in France, across the rest of Europe, some countries are considering vaccine mandates for certain groups?

BITTERMANN: Well, exactly. The main one that we have seen overnight is the situation in Italy. Where again, the incidents rate is very high and the number of infections are over 200,00 in 24 hour period, and as a consequence, the Italian government has now imposed mandated a vaccine roll for over 50. If you are over 50 and you have not been vaccinated, you could be fined up to 1,500 euros for not being vaccinated.

So that's a mandatory sort of provision for vaccinations which is unlike other countries in Europe. In neighboring Austria, they've decided on more stringent masking rules when you're out in public. That's something that we've had in France here for some time, but the Austrians now worried about the omicron variant, an explosion in cases, they have rules that are coming to place just because the situation seems very difficult to control, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yeah, it certainly is. And surprisingly so, so far into this pandemic. Jim Bittermann for us in Paris, thank you so much.


Joining me now is Anne Rimoin, she is a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles at the Fielding School of Public Health. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So plenty of governments and companies around the world had mandated vaccines for employees. What we're seeing in Italy right now is the country about to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone over the age of 50. Italy, of course, has the second highest death toll in Europe after Britain. Even now we're seeing about 150 people dying a day. Is that the way to go? What is your reaction to this mandate? Does it go far enough?

RIMOIN: Well, the issue of mandates has been very controversial. But what we've seen here in the United States for example is that they do work. And I think that what we will see in other places that they will work as well. You know, interestingly, Italy, has a very high vaccination rate and it's over 80 percent in their ages 50 to 55. And even up to 90 percent in the highest age groups, those people over 80.

So, it's a small margin of people, but we do know that COVID-19 is going to affect those people most to over the age of 50. So this may be a move that will protect the hospitals.

KINKADE: And as you say, mate, despite the fact that it has got one of the highest vaccination rates, it's still right now has the highest infection rate since the pandemic began for their numbers as supposed their numbers go. But when we look across the board that Europe, it's not the only country looking at doing a mandate. We have Austria, planning to make a vaccination mandate for everyone

14 years and older for next month. Greece, it's going to make a compulsory for everyone over the age of 16. Given that you get higher immunity from vaccination versus infection, is vaccination the only way we're going to get out of this pandemic?

RIMOIN: It's always going to be a layered approach. And I think it's important to remember that the vast majority of spread of this virus, we're seeing globally, is likely in the younger groups. It's those hospitalizations that are occurring in the older groups. So I think that these kind of vaccines mandates, when you target specific age groups, you know, it's to be determined how well they're going to work.

Really, we all live together and so it's going to be important to make sure that everybody is vaccinated, you know, an infection anywhere is potentially an infection everywhere. And that is certainly true when you're thinking about how this is going to spread.

We are going to have to target it with vaccines and boosters. We are going to have to have adequate masking. And we really are going to have to be thinking about these the kinds of restrictions that are in place. When we do see surges, that's the only way forward.

KINKADE: Professor, I'm wondering if there's a silver lining with this variant. Given how contagious the omicron variant is, compared to the delta variant. And the fact that it appears to be weaker for the most part. Could this variant help us get to herd immunity? Can we be cautiously optimistic here?

RIMOIN: It's hard to know. Right now what's happening in this virus is spreading rapidly through all of these countries, and we know that every time a virus has an opportunity to spread to another person, it has the opportunity to mutate whereas the opportunity to mutate, it has the opportunity to create this kind of new dangerous variants.

We don't know what the next variant will be. So, I think it's certainly a possibility that we will see, you know, a lot more immunity, widespread globally that may prevent us from a future surges, particular the near term. But in the long term, we really are going to go have this kinds of strategies of vaccination over to be able to make sure that we don't see new variants occur. So, bottom line it's anybody's guess.

KINKADE: Some countries, like Israel are rolling out a fourth vaccine shot. Here in the U.S., like the U.K. and other countries, people are being urged to get a booster shot, a third vaccine shot. How many jabs are we going to need and why don't they last longer than four to six months, like other vaccines?

RIMOIN: Well, the reason that we are seeing this kind of a need for additional vaccines, is because, right now, these vaccines as you said, may not provide long-term immunity. Now these are all first generation vaccines, it is very likely that we will see new vaccines coming down the pike that will provide better immunity, longer term immunity, broader spectrum immunity, immunity to multiple variants. And so, we have to remember that we are still in very early days.

Where it does feel like it's been forever. This really is early days in terms of vaccine development, in terms of understanding the virus, and really knowing what's going to be happening with variants.

KINKADE: Well, thanks to you for helping us understand this. Professor Anne Rimoin, thanks so much.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

KINKADE: Well, Chile will begin offering a fourth coronavirus vaccine dose, next week to residents with compromised immune systems. It will be the first Latin American country to do just that. Neighboring Argentina is reporting a record number of COVID infections for the third day in a row. On Thursday, nearly 110,000 new cases were registered.


Well, the pandemic has created chaos in the global supply chain, and now, the good old fashioned freight train is making a comeback. We'll look at a trading route that is getting a lot busier.

And then, details on a collision at sea between a submarine and a ship hunting it down.


KINKADE: Violence erupting in Sudan, where an activist group says at least three protesters were shot dead during anti-coup demonstrations. We're hearing others were injured and brought to nearby hospitals. Video posted online shows demonstrators running through plumes of tear gases, gunfire rings out. Dozens, are reportedly being killed during protests against military rule since the late October coup.

Tax cuts, could be coming to the world's second largest economy. China's premier says, they are needed to get the first quarter off to a stable start. The Chinese government, maybe looking for ways to boost spending, and revive the service sector, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.

The World Bank, recently lowered its growth forecast from China from 5.4 percent to 5.1 percent, which should mark China's second lowest growth rate since 1990.

The coronavirus pandemic has also been causing well-documented delays in shipping channels and hurting the global supply chain. But that is creating new opportunities for an old method of transportation, freight trains.

CNN's Cyril Vanier, reports.


UNKNOWN: This train arrived last night to Paris. And it will be unloaded to today. CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST (voice over): At this fright station,

outside of the French capital, the end of a journey across two continents.

So this train carried consumer goods, all the way from China to France. Headbands, electric bikes, sweatshirts, shoes, you name it. But, also, items that are used in industry, components, and spare parts, like steering wheels, like valves, tubes, and then, all of them are going to be trucked to their final destination.

Rail only accounts for about 5 percent of goods transported between China and Europe. That number though set to tick up as an old trading route is brought back to economic relevance. Beijing has been promoting, even subsidizing it. Part of its belt and road initiative, aimed at increasing trade ties, and China's economic clout.

More than 6,000 miles, from the city of Xi'an, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and further into Europe. An odyssey usually completed in less than a month.


UNKNOWN: The China, this is an advantage to be able to harbor circulation within three or four weeks between, Europe and China. So time is more quick and time is more mean, of course.

VANIER: The value of time, not lost on businesses, especially those that ship expensive cargo. Luxury French furniture brand, Nino Jose, sells its iconic sofas around the world with 20 percent of exports, going to China usually by boat.

So this container full of furniture is about to leave for (Inaudible), China's East Coast, it should get there in about 50 days. Now, a similar container left yesterday by train and that should get there in 35 days.

These last few months, the maritime route has been a nightmare says the groups transports director, shipping has become two or three times more expensive and a lot slower. Europe, China, by sea, is now taking up to 70 days, compared to 40 previously.

The pandemic has thrown the global supply chain into disarray, an increase in demand, and a shortage of labor to work the ports, and drive the trucks, has led to scenes like these, a bottleneck of cargo. And, so, the good old-fashioned freight train is making a comeback.

Near Paris, the Director of development here expects the number of trains flying the Europe-China route, to double by the end of the decade. The only spanner in the works? Even trains build as more reliable are not completely immune to the pandemic. This one arrived two weeks late, after multiple German operators came down with COVID.

UNKNOWN: We live in the pandemic like everybody. We say in French, (Inaudible).

VANIER: Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: The British defense ministry, sharing details about a rare collision in the North Atlantic, more than a year ago. HMS Northumberland was tracking a Russian submarine near Scotland, when the sub hit his sonar, the British warship was towing. The sonar is a sense of the trails behind a ship when it's deployed, and it used for hunting down silent subs. It is not clear if the coalition was an accident.

Well, new tech making its debut on Las Vegas, after the break, your chance to see the annual consumer electronics show.


KINKADE: The Russian president seemed celebrating orthodox Christmas, which is today. Vladimir Putin appear to attend midnight mass, alone, at a church, on the grounds of his presidential residence. The cathedral, made the service invite only, due to the pandemic. And it is unclear if others were allowed to attend.

The annual consumer electronics show is happening in Las Vegas, Wednesday. Showcasing everything from high tech, phones, to cars. And it was scaled back this year, due to the omicron variant.

CNN's Karin Caifa, reports.



KARIN CAIFA, CNN D.C. BASED REPORTER (voice over): The show must go on. That is the approach by CES, the global annual tech showcase, hosted by the Consumer Technology Association.

ALLISON FRIED, CES SPOKESPERSON: By bringing people together this week, hopefully, let this solve future problems, and again, getting us living, working, playing, better all things to technology.

CAIFA: After an all virtual show last year, CES was supposed to return to full form on the Las Vegas strip this week. But, omicron had other plans. Big names such as Amazon, Meta, and Google, or participating virtually. So is General Motors, which took to reveal of its Chevrolet Silverado electric vehicle, online.

On the floor, which requires being vaccinated and masked, our names like Samsung, showing off a more affordable addition to its Galaxy S21 family of smartphones, with the Galaxy S21 FE. And, the freestyle, a tiny home projector for movies, TV's, and more.

Beyond big name, CES spokesperson, Allison Fried, says in person connections at the show are vital to small companies.

FRIED: This is their time to shine. These are people who have brilliant, innovative ideas that are trying to get it to market. And that market is at CES. CAIFA: That includes more in the fitness and health arena, in the

COVID-19 era.

FRIED: Telemedicine, digital therapeutics, remote patient monitoring systems, is a big deal right now. Sensor technologies getting smaller and smaller.

CAIFA: The show will wrap up on Friday, one day earlier, than initially planned. For consumer watch, I'm Karen Caifa.


KINKADE: Well, your dog could be bilingual. A new study, out of Hungary, indicate that dogs maybe be able to detect differences between languages, as this one researcher explains.


ATTILA ANDICS, SENIOR BRAIN RESEARCHER: In the study, we showed dogs exerts of "The Little Prince" story, in two languages. In Hungarian and in Spanish. Some of the dogs were coming from Hungary speaking, some were coming from Spanish speaking families. And they had never heard the other language before.


KINKADE: The dogs laid in a brain scanner as the story, "The Little Princes," is read to them in Hungarian and Spanish. Researchers said, the dogs brain showed different activity patterns, when they heard familiar, and unfamiliar, language. And the dogs could distinguish between words, and random noises.

Waiting to see if they speak back in Spanish. Well, that wraps up this hour of CNN Newsroom, I'm Lynda Kinkade. My colleague, Isa Soares, will have much more news after this quick break.