Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Raisi Swearing-in as Iranian President Thursday; Beirut Blast Anniversary, Belarus Sprinter May Be in Vienna; Taliban Militants Claim Responsibility for Kabul Car Bombing; Questions Unanswered; Tanker Incident off UAE Appears Ended; Protests over Rape and Murder of Dalit Girl; Turkey's Wildfires; China Limits Travel in Wake of Delta Spread. Aired 10- 11a ET

Aired August 04, 2021 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST (voice-over): One year on, Beirut is remembering the victims of last year's deadly explosion at the city's port.

It is not going well in Afghanistan, a sober assessment from the U.S., as the Taliban continues to make gains. Now the acting defense minister

becomes a target.

And a change in foreign policy: ahead of his inauguration this week, Iran's president-designate starts to unveil his hardline agenda.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. It is 3:00 pm in London. It is 5:00 pm in Beirut. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

The blast happened in mere seconds. The impact for survivors will last a lifetime. Today, Lebanon is marking the one-year anniversary of the port

explosion in Beirut with equal parts sadness and anger.

Sadness for the more than 200 people killed in that blast and the thousands more injured; anger over a lack of justice and the government's failure to

hold anyone responsible for the tragedy.

The ammonium nitrate crammed into the port over a years was a ticking time bomb. Just yesterday on the evve of this anniversary, Human Rights Watch

released a report indicating there is strong evidence that some Lebanese officials knew about the risks and quietly accepted them.

The explosion, a devastating blow for a country already on the verge of collapse, still with no clear path forward. Lebanon's president today

saying his nation desperately needs outside help.


MICHEL AOUN, LEBANESE PRESIDENT: There is no doubt that Lebanon needs every assistance and support from the international community after the

determining needs and priorities; notably, badly needed humanitarian, social and health assistance.


ANDERSON: The irony of that plea for help will not be lost on many. It was heard by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, pledging $118 million in

French aid to Lebanon, along with 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. This was at a U.N. video conference today.

But he cautions, there will be no blank check for Lebanon and he pointedly told Lebanese politicians -- and remember, the president was in attendance

-- that they owe their citizens the truth.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is based in Beirut. He was there for the explosion. He has been there for the prolonged aftermath and he joins us now, not far

from the blast site.

And just describe what you are seeing at this point today and what you can expect in the coming hours, Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. Actually, we've been following a large crowd of over, I think, a thousand people, who

assembled next to the port.

Now they've come down this road and they are outside the main entrance to the port. Above us, on a highway overhead there, hundreds of more watching.

This is a public holiday to mark the first anniversary of the Beirut port blast.

And I can tell you, everybody you speak to here is seething with anger and indignation at the failure of the political class -- the ministers, the

leaders of political parties, who have utterly failed to manage this country's multiple crises because, keep in mind, last year, a year ago,

people thought that the port was the absolute rock bottom, the farthest Lebanon could fall.

But since then, the economy has continued to collapse. Nonetheless, on the 10th of August, the government of prime minister Hassan Diab resigned;

since then, there has not been a proper government. The politicians in this country have absolutely failed to come to the aid of the people in this



WEDEMAN: They are so busy with corruption, with self-serving, with self- enrichment, that they have utterly ignored what we've seen as collapsing living standards. More than 50 percent of the population is living under

the poverty line.

There are power cuts running here in Beirut, up to 22 hours a day; long lines for petrol; shortages of diesel for generators. The food prices have

gone through the roof. People have to ask their relatives coming from abroad to bring life-saving medicines that are no longer present in the


It is so many separate crises and, all the while, the politicians just bicker and squabble over who gets what ministry and who gets to appoint

what official. The plight of this country, utterly ignored by this failed political class -- Becky.

ANDERSON: The Lebanese people were promised the results of an investigation of the port blast within days; 12 months on, there is no

justice and no accountability.

What is the status of this investigation, Ben?

WEDEMAN: Well, the investigation is running but the problem is that it's on its second leading judge. The first one was dismissed after he wanted to

charge three former ministers and the serving caretaker prime minister -- he wanted to charge them.

But those ministers, the former ministers, took him to court and had him dismissed, because, according to the claim that the court accepted, because

that judge's home was damaged in the blast -- as were so many others here in Beirut.

He was judged to be impartial. Absurd. Now you have a new judge, who is also trying to question senior officials. So far, they have used

parliamentary immunity or professional immunity to avoid being questioned.

Now what we've seen is, the anger is at such a boiling point that, slowly, politicians are coming out and saying, OK, fine; we'll lift immunity. But

they haven't done it yet. The absurdity.

You mentioned that promise made by mfahm, the then interior minister -- and I'm quoting, maximum within five days, those who did this will be found and

they will be held accountable. A year later, none of that has come to pass -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Beirut for you today.

And sure to stay with us for the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. We have a special hour of programming dedicated to the people of Lebanon, as they

mark this one-year anniversary of what is a tragedy at the port.

Well, a plane thought to be carrying Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has touched down in Vienna from Japan. The 24-year-old

Olympian caught the world's attention when she spoke out, refusing to return to Belarus for fear she would be arrested and imprisoned.

She said Belarus team officials have made her pack her bags, cut her from the Olympic team and tried to force her to return home after she criticized

them on social media. Well, she's expected to go on to Poland, where she has been offered safe refuge.

The International Olympic Committee, meantime, is investigating her case. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins me now live.

What do we know of her final destination?

Is she still expected to go to Poland?

And what of her state of mind at this point, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: She told me yesterday that she wanted to be in safety and that was apparently going to be Poland.

It appears she has taken an indirect route. She was seen boarding this plane to Vienna. Hasn't looked at her messaging apps for a number of hours

now, which suggests she's still in the air or landing or kept her phone off to avoid the extraordinary media scrutiny her case has been getting.

Her state of mind, I think she did seem to feel that the attention that her case was getting and how it had shone a spotlight on the extraordinary

violations of human rights inside of Belarus.

Remember sending a sportsman home from the Olympics, for believed to be political criticism, is something you would expect from North Korea, not

21st century Europe. But that may possibly have made the situation better inside Belarus.

But her future plans now involve trying to compete again in the Olympics, her dream, a dream that was shattered by what she thought was relatively

anodyne criticism of the mismanagement of what she thought was happening in her Olympic team. Her Olympic dream shattered but one she hopes she can

possibly light again.


WALSH: But instead racing for Poland. She is very clear, though, that essentially it is Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko, who was

offended, who most likely ordered her return home. Here's what she said.


KRYSTSINA TSIMANOUSKAYA, BELARUSIAN OLYMPIAN (through translator): My trainer said that to send me home was not their decision, that it was just

said to them to do this.

WALSH: Your message for people in Belarus, who are frightened of their government, what do you say to them?

TSIMANOUSKAYA (through translator): Do not be afraid. Always say your opinion. We have to have freedom of speech and people must say what they



WALSH: Kind of extraordinary, too, for her to relate the scenes for her, being taken to the airport by two members of the Belarusian Olympic team.

It seems like a psychological doctor and a coach, who she didn't really know.

And when she was there, being told by her grandmother, that you shouldn't come back, Krystsina. You've been on state TV, criticized, being called

emotional, psychologically unwell. She feared that, upon landing, she could be taken to a prison or possibly a psychiatric hospital, ideas redolent of

the Soviet Union's worst excesses.

So an extraordinary scene for her, utterly life changing. She hopes her husband will join her in safety, she said; that presumably is in Poland.

All of this playing out in the next few days.

But you have to ask yourself, where does this leave Belarus' dictator, Alexander Lukashenko?

Extraordinarily caught up in this international clumsy effort to bring somebody home, simply for being upset that they were running a race they'd

never run in before in the Olympics.

Now this international attention on his appalling human rights abuses inside his own country and that, too, must be making his key ally, Russia,

uncomfortable or perhaps relieved, briefly, for once that they're not the ones in the West's spotlight for criticism.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.

New terror erupting in Afghanistan's capital. The Taliban say they carried out a bombing near the acting defense minister's home that killed eight

people, the loudest blast heard in Kabul in months.

Tuesday's attack coming during the militant group's push toward several major cities, following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops, supporting

the Afghan government. The situation gets worse.

A U.S. Defense official admitted to CNN, quote, "It's not going well."

Our chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Kabul and she joins us now.

Clarissa, the U.S. saying things are not going well, I imagine, is a bit of an understatement, especially from where you are in the Afghan capital,


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, yes, that is absolutely correct. Most people here, that would feel like a dramatic

understatement. And I think last night's attack really underscored that. It happened about 8:00 pm, a huge blast shook the city. We ran up to the roof

here to try to get a sense of what was going on. There was sporadic gunfire; there was an air raid siren.


ANDERSON: It looks as if we've lost Clarissa for the time being. That shot, as you can see, is frozen. We will get her back for you.

Let me take a short break for you at this point. Coming up on the show, outrage in India after a 9-year-old girl is allegedly raped and killed.

More on the calls for justice are coming up.





ANDERSON: Well, before the break, I was speaking with our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who is in Kabul. And we have

her back.

Clarissa, we were talking about what sounds like a big understatement when the U.S. says that things are not going well in Afghanistan at present.


WARD: Yes, Becky. So sorry about that technical difficulty. But we were talking also about this complex attack last night. The Taliban has now

claimed responsibility for it. Eight civilians were killed.

The target was the acting defense minister. He actually was not killed or injured. But certainly, I think what this underscores, things had been

relatively calm and quiet in Kabul for some time now. This was the largest blast that has been heard here in a few months.

And really, this underscoring the fact that any sense of calm is very tenuous because all of this is happening, as you mentioned, against the

backdrop of a massive offensive, with huge momentum on the side of the Taliban.

They're now in control of more than a hundred districts. They are laying siege to three major provincial capitals, 17; roughly half of the

provincial capitals are under threat by the Taliban. They've taken over border crossings.

And the vast majority of this has happened in the last couple of months, since the U.S. began its withdrawal. And the fear is that there is no way

to stop the bleeding as long as U.S. troops are set to leave because the big factor here is U.S. airpower.

That was really what the Afghan national security forces relied on to try to target and take out the Taliban. That, obviously, is being used

selectively in certain battles now in the south of the country but is not a sort of go-to option for the Afghan military any longer.

And we're seeing very real consequences as a result of it. So people here in Kabul, Becky, are deeply afraid that the situation is only going to get

worse. And they're deeply resentful, as well, that the manner of the withdrawal was, in their words, "hasty and chaotic."

ANDERSON: Clarissa Ward is in Kabul in Afghanistan, thank you.

Well, Iran's new ultra-conservative president will be sworn in on Thursday this week. Ebrahim Raisi takes office at a critical time. COVID cases there

spiking. The economy still struggling and the nuclear deal with the U.S. faces an uncertain future.

In the first phase of the handover Tuesday, Raisi seemed to give a preview of his policies. He said he will work to end, quote, "tyrannical U.S.

sanctions" but would not tie Iran's economy to foreign powers. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is following all of this from Tehran and joins us now.

We know Raisi is going to pursue a different foreign policy than his predecessor, Rouhani.

What will that mean for Iran's relations with the rest of the world, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it's going to have big changes and fundamental differences with Iran's

relations with Western countries.

One of the things we hear from analysts very often, a lot of folks believe that Hassan Rouhani, while he tried to improve those ties with the West,

once the Trump administration was in office, many believe that he tried maybe too hard to keep those ties upright and to continue to improve those

ties, even as the Trump administration was putting in place that maximum pressure campaign.

Certainly on the part of Ebrahim Raisi, things look very different. We hear they want to put Iran first, rather than try to cater, as they put it, to

Western powers. At the same time, they also want to improve ties, as they say, with countries here in the region itself.

Iran saying that it wants to be very active diplomatically, in this region, remain a major factor in this region, as well. Let's have a look.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): With hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi taking over as president, Tehran shows no signs of toning down its foreign policy.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who some believe could be the next foreign minister, recently told me that Iran will follow its own interest, even

against U.S. pressure.

"A foreign policy that is balanced with an eye towards all countries," he said, "with illogical and at the same time, strong discourse.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): "A discourse that will be able to secure Iranian rights on all fronts."

Iran currently has its own and various proxy forces deployed around the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. is also concerned about

advances in Iran's ballistic missile program and wants talks with Tehran about the issue.

In his first press conference, president-elect Raisi shot that notion down.

"Regional matters and missile matters are non-negotiable," he said.

After a landslide victory in the recent presidential election, which critics have called uncompetitive, because many candidates were barred from

running, analysts believe Raisi has the political backing to push through a hardline agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a unity within the frame (ph) branches of government and that's going to reduce tension, reduce infighting, reduce


PLEITGEN (voice-over): While Raisi said he would never speak directly with the Biden administration, indirect talks to revive the Iran nuclear

agreement are ongoing but progress has recently stalled. The U.S. warning its patience is running out.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The ball remaining in Iran's court.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Raisi will take office amid heightened tensions with Israel. The U.S., the U.K. and the Israelis blaming Iran for the

attack on the Israeli-linked tanker Mercer Street in the Persian Gulf that killed two sailors. Iran denies any involvement. Israel sending a warning.

"Regarding the ship and on the issue of Iran in general, we are working to rally the world but, at the same time, we also know to act alone," he said.

Meanwhile, other conflicts could be eased. Raisi says that he's in favor of improving relations with longtime regional rival, Saudi Arabia, a move

analysts hope could also help bolster Iran's struggling economy after years of fighting a proxy war in Yemen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when we speak of foreign trade, that means deescalation. That means decreasing -- I mean, that mean detente with Saudi

Arabia and with other countries. That's why in his first press conference after he was elected, he extended a warm welcome to resumption of ties with

Saudi Arabia.


PLEITGEN: The Iranians saying they're very much in favor of improving ties with Saudi Arabia. Of course, that would be so important for this region

here with that standup between the Iranians and the Saudis has spilled over into so many countries here in this region.

Nevertheless, as far as the U.S. is concerned, very clear messages coming here from Tehran, that they willl continue to stand up to the U.S., to

remain a big problem for the U.S. here in this region. And that goes whether or not the nuclear agreement comes back or it doesn't -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Thank you, Fred.

It appears that a mysterious incident involving a tanker near Iran has now been peacefully resolved. British officials say boarders who briefly took

control of a ship sailing nearing the important Strait of Hormuz have now left that ship.

Reuters quotes sources who say Iran is behind the incident but Iranian officials deny involvement and it comes just days after another tanker, one

managed by an Israeli company, was attacked by a drone as it moved through the strait.

Two people on board that ship died in the attack. The U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for that incident. Iran denies involvement.

Well, I want to chat about all of this with Mohsen Milani. He's the author of the book, "The Making of Iran's Islamic Revolution." He's also executive

director for the Center of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the University of South Florida, a real expert in what is going on.

And I just wonder, look, let's be quite clear about this. Iran denies these allegations against this on these tankers.

But what would it hope to gain by threatening tankers moving through the strait, do you think?


think we have to put this incident in a bit of historical context.

Iran and its (INAUDIBLE) have been involved in what I call a shadow war, a kind of mini cold war for the past three decades. Iran accuses (INAUDIBLE)

of assassinating its scientists, of supporting Iranian opposition and cyber attacks.

And on the other hand, Israel accuses Iran of committing acts of terrorism, of supporting Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and Hamas (ph), of providing

missiles and financial support to the enemies of Israel and, most importantly, calling for the death and destruction of Israel, which is in

violation of international law.

Now the recent incident, the key question is why is it taking place now?

We think there are two reasons for it.


MILANI: Number one, Iran is sending a very clear message to the Persian Gulf countries, if Iran is behind those incidents, it's sending a very

clear message to the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf that, after signing the Abrahamic accord with Israel, Iran is not going to allow the

neighborhood to be safe for the Israeli ships, for the Israeli investments and for the Israeli politicians.

That is a clear signal being sent to Tel Aviv as well as to the capital of the Persian Gulf countries. At the same time and the second reason, if Iran

is behind all of this, Iran is trying to establish what Iran has been trying to establish since the Persian Gulf War, that Iran is the dominant

power in the Persian Gulf region.

And no security can be established in the region without some sort of participation by the Islamic Republic.


ANDERSON: Well, the first question is it, is it the dominant power in this region?

And what do you think this new incoming president is likely to do next with regard to the nuclear deal, relations with the regional Gulf countries and

then the U.S. and the West?

What are we in for at this point?

MILANI: Excellent question. Let me start with the first question you ask.

Is Iran the dominant power in the Persian Gulf?

The answer is no. Iran is an important player in the Persian Gulf but there are other powers, including Saudi Arabia but, most importantly, the

dominant power in the Persian Gulf is the United States of America, which has replaced British, who withdrew from the Persian Gulf in 1968, as the

dominant power.

Now regarding Mr. Raisi, I think he's going to have some serious decision. He has to make some serious decision. The key decision he has to make --

and I'm not sure if he has made it yet -- is that he cannot address Iran's economic problems.

He cannot address Iran's regional problems unless and until he reaches an agreement with the United States and with the (INAUDIBLE) powers about its

nuclear program. If that is not done, I don't think we can have any hope for other issues to be addressed.

See, the key challenge for him is how is he going to address and resolve the nuclear impasse, considering that his constituency, his main

constituency in Iran, has wrongly been criticizing Rouhani for having made a deal with the United States?

Iran has no choice -- realistically speaking -- Iran has no choice but to reach an agreement with the West and with the global power about its

nuclear program.

ANDERSON: Sir, we will have you back. Thank you very much, indeed. Your analysis and insight is so important. Thank you.

Still ahead tonight, we'll get you live to India, where a young girl from the country's poorest class was found dead. Some say she was raped and

killed in a case of caste violence. That is coming up.





ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you out of London today.

To a disturbing story, I'm afraid, in India, that set off days of protest to demand justice. A 9-year-old girl was allegedly raped and killed in New

Delhi. Her body was found after she left home to get water.

Now several people have been arrested, including a priest. The girl belongs to India's oppressed Dalit class and police are investigating if this is a

possible case of what's known as caste violence. CNN's Vedika Sud is in the Indian capital for us.

Just what do we know about this case and what are police saying?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, horrific case, indeed. And what we know from the ground, since we were there today, we spoke with the Delhi

police, we spoke with the mother of this alleged gang-raped victim.

What the police says is that they are investigating the case. They have booked four accused along with the priest that you just mentioned, who

works at the crematorium ground. And they're looking into the case of rape, murder and also the possibility of destruction of evidence as well as

criminal intimidation.

But when asked the police whether any of the accused have come forward and confessed to the crime, he said, not yet.

We spoke to the mother when we reached out to her, she was extremely exhausted and emotional. She was in fact calling out to her daughter,

saying, come, sit on your mother's lap, be with me. I need you at this moment.

It was quite emotional and they alleged that the villagers of the area, that this 9-year-old Dalit girl, who belongs to one of the lowest castes in

the Indian caste hierarchy, actually was gang-raped by the priest as well as three other associates.

That is yet to be determined, because the body was burned, Becky. And what actually remains of the body, according to police, is just the ankles and

the feet, unfortunately. Yes, it is disturbing.

But how do you determine rape when you don't have enough forensic evidence?

So as of now, they are waiting for some reports to come back to determine whether this is a case of rape. And that's where it stands. This will then

go to court. Right now, all the four accused are in judicial custody for the next 1.5 weeks.

ANDERSON: There are deeper issues here, aren't there, about the treatment of girls and women in India and especially the treatment of the Dalit.

Have we seen any progress on these fronts?

SUD: Oh, yes, we have seen progress, especially in urban areas. We have seen fewer cases of discrimination compared to decades before. But that's

not the case in rural areas, Becky.

Remember, 65 percent of India's population lives in rural areas. That's where this discrimination not only against Dalits but against women also

exists. You remember the case of 2012, the gang rape case that shook the world because of the brutality that girl had endured.

Well, it took eight years for that case to go ahead and for the execution to be passed, the death rule sentence to be given by the courts. There was

a delay. So there are a lot of things at play here, Becky.

It's not just the exploitation that takes place but other laws acting as a deterrent, be it for women, be it for Dalits. There are about 200 million

of them or more in India and they still say and the activities that Dalits say they're still being exploited and repressed.

They're not being given their due. Yes, they're part of the reservations across India but still, that's not enough, because the perception has to

change, especially in rural areas and that's where the challenge lies, even today, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Vedika Sud.

I want to get you up to speed on some of the other stories on our radar.

In Turkey, officials say they have successfully brought more than 150 wildfires under control in the past week. They say that they are still

battling to stop 11 other blazes. Officials blame eight deaths on the fires.


ANDERSON: Around 2,500 homes have been damaged by these wildfires.

People in Athens, in Greece, are being warned to stay indoors because of poor air quality after a wildfire broke out there in the northern suburbs.

The country under threat from an intense heat wave, one the prime minister describes as the worst in more than 30 years.

Well, surging coronavirus cases lnkd to the Delta variant is pushing France to tighten restrictions. An outdoor mask mandate has been reinstated in

vacation spots, including in Cannes and Nice. The country also working to expand the use of its digital health pass.

And the United Arab Emirates authorizing a COVID booster shot. UAE emergency officials say fully vaccinated people can get it six months after

their second dose and high-risk individuals can get it three months after their second vaccine shot. The U.K., Germany and Israel, are also giving

booster doses a green light.

Well, ahead on the show, the COVID pandemic returns to Wuhan and China in the form of that Delta variant. We'll tell you about the travel

restrictions and mass testing efforts being imposed there and across China. More on that after this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching the first hour of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Health officials in Wuhan says the coronavirus that's returned to the city is linked to that Delta variant; 20 local infections have been recorded so

far. According to a government tally, the city of 11 million, the original epidemic of the pandemic, is working to test everyone who lives there.

We're seeing images like these of people flocking to the stores to stock up on food and supplies. They are afraid Wuhan will impose another lockdown,

the like the one back in January of 2020, one of the strictest on the planet and certainly the first.

Meantime, travel has been restricted in medium and high-risk areas. David Culver is in Beijing.

What do we know about these travel restrictions and other restrictions at present and how are they being enforced, David?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's look first at the travel restrictions. Most focus around where I am right now. It's Beijing,

it's about protecting the capital, what's been described as a fortress.

If you go back to the initial outbreak, more than 1.5 years ago now, and one of the officials that spoke just in the past couple of days said that

they will protect Beijing at any cost.

What would that mean on the ground here in China?

Those who are in infected areas are deemed at high risk and medium risk and that's a designation given based on potential exposure or confirmed cases.

They cannot travel into Beijing.


CULVER: They are restricted by train and by plane from flying or traveling in. They will be able to monitor those folks through smartphone QRs that we

get around with here and they can change colors and put you in different designations as to potential quarantine or just to get tested.

Either way, the focus is on keeping Beijing safe and many other cities right now. It's widespread. You mentioned Wuhan, the original epicenter.

All of this is so eerily reminiscent of the conversations you and I were having more than 1.5 years ago now and the discussions of a potential

lockdown there.

Well, right now they're doing the mass testing. This is actually the second round that they have tested the entire population of more than 11 million

people. And they do that mostly through pool sampling, so that they can then narrow down, if one pool, for example, of 20 individuals is positive,

they'll go one by one.

That's what they've been doing in multiple cities. It's not just Wuhan. In Nanjing, where this outbreak that we're talking about right now is believed

to have started, via the Delta variant and an imported case from Russia?

Well, they, too, 9 million people going through multiple rounds of testing of everyone in this city. So it's happening at level we have not seen since

the initial outbreak. It's causing a lot of concern.

You're seeing a shift in social attitude. There hasn't been any major policy shift to say, yes, masks are mandatory, they're strongly encouraged.

But what you notice is people don't need a policy change. They start putting on the mask if they start to feel uneasy, uncertain and doubt that

anything will clear up anytime soon.

That seems to be the trajectory we're on as of this moment -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. David, always a pleasure. Thank you very much, indeed.

That Delta variant seems to be setting the entire world three steps back. Thailand, for example, has reported record highs in both new cases and

deaths; 188 people died in a single day on Wednesday.

And you can see how many that is compared to the rest of 2021. And more than 20,000 people were found to be infected. The country dispatching more

than 400 doctors and nurses from rural areas to the capital to test and isolate more people.

And with the Olympics in its 12th day of competition, Tokyo 2020 says several more athletes have tested positive for the virus. This Wednesday,

five cases were detected on Greece's artistic swim team.

And team officials staying at the Olympic Village, they will no longer be participating at the games and will move into a quarantine facility. The

total number of COVID cases linked to the Olympics so far is at 327.

The debut of skateboarding at the Olympics causing records to be broken in a sport dominated by teenagers. On Wednesday, medals were handed out to a

19-year old, a 13-year old and a skater who isn't even a teenager yet, 12 years old.