Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Pressure Mounts on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Novak Djokovic Awaits Australian Immigration Minister's Decision; Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Says the Ball Is in NATO's Court; German Court Convicts Former Syrian Colonel; U.K. Politicians Told Chinese Government Agent "Active" in Parliament. Aired 10-10:40a ET

Aired January 13, 2022 - 10:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back on the court and ready for the Australian Open. Tennis star Novak Djokovic knows

who his first round opponent will be. But his future in the country remains uncertain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives.

KINKADE (voice-over): Down in the polls and facing criticism from within his own party, Boris Johnson is fighting for his political life.


KINKADE (voice-over): And a long conflict sees the first signs of justice. More on a Syrian colonel convicted of torturing thousands.


KINKADE: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade, coming to you live from Atlanta. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Novak Djokovic is hitting the practice courts once again in Melbourne, Australia, as a PR and diplomatic calamity looms heavy over his head. He's

waiting to see whether the immigration minister will revoke his reinstated visa before the start of next week's Australian Open.

He has been named the number one seed for men's singles. And he's been drawn to go up against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic.

But is it possible he could still get kicked out of the country?

Paula Hancocks is joining us live from Melbourne. We also have Scott McLean in Belgrade, Serbia. Good to have you both with us.

I want to start with you, Paula, there is no exemption to enter Australia unvaccinated. We know that Novak Djokovic is unvaccinated. We don't know

whether he's got a medical reason not to be vaccinated.

What is the holdup on making this decision on whether to deport him?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a couple of things that it could be, Lynda. One, the government, after having a defeat on Monday in

court when that visa was reinstated for Novak Djokovic, simply don't want to lose once again.

They may be wanting to dot all the Is, cross all the Ts and make sure they have a watertight argument if the immigration minister is going to revoke

the visa. But we don't know for sure that is the decision he will come to.

We do know that when Novak Djokovic gave that statement on social media and said he had made errors on his travel declaration, he had also gone to a

media interview and photo shoot, knowing he was COVID-19 positive. He also said he gave more documents to the government to make his case.

So presumably the government is now going through those again. But we are running out of time. The Australian Open starts on Monday. It is now the

early hours of Friday morning here in Melbourne.

So you would assume that if there is going to be some movement to try and deport Novak Djokovic from the government, it would have to come soon. We

did hear from the prime minister, Scott Morrison, on Thursday.

He did say, as he has been the whole time, that the rules should be applied to everybody, pointing out that having a visa is not the same as having the

ability to enter the country with your vaccination status, pointing out you do have to be fully vaccinated or you do have to have a medical exemption

with a medical reason why you cannot be vaccinated or why you should not be vaccinated.

So the assumption is we should hear something on Friday. But then again, we have assumed that every single day, since the court made its decision on

Monday. So we really just have to wait and see what Alex Hawk is going to do.

KINKADE: Right. Absolutely. Paula, if you can stand by for us, want to go to Scott McLean in Belgrade.

In terms of sympathy level, I imagine he has quite a bit of support in Serbia.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it would be tough to imagine a place on planet Earth where he would have more support than he does here. Even

the Serbian president was doing an interview last night on the national public broadcaster.

He said he was proud to have supported Novak Djokovic, who is undoubtedly a national hero in this country. He also said that, look, people, of course,

should get vaccinated; Serbia continues to struggle with convincing people to try to actually take the vaccine.


MCLEAN: Less than 60 percent of the adult population is vaccinated so far. He also had some very subtle, also indirect criticism for Novak Djokovic

and his admission that he broke quarantine rules, saying, look, if you know you're positive, obviously you should not be going out.

The Serbian president, it seems, like many people you meet in this country, reluctant to take a national hero off of his pedestal. Djokovic is a role

model here. But for many people, they don't seem begrudge him for not taking the vaccine. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we are Serbs. We are on his side. So everything he says is right. Private thing. So I am vaccinated but if you

don't want to do that, you know, you -- it is OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it is his personal choice. And it is an individual thing. That's how we -- most people see it that way here.

MCLEAN: Do you think he should have taken the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that vaccine is poison. So I think he don't give to his body.


MCLEAN: And today Serbia reached a sad milestone; now more than 13,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. And also, Lynda, there are

outstanding questions, some oddities, irregularities about the tests that Novak Djokovic took in this country before heading off to Australia.

There is a press conference being held tomorrow afternoon with public health officials, where we are hoping we can get some clarity because, up

until this point, we have gotten very little.

KINKADE: All right, we will tune into that press conference, speak to you again tomorrow.

Scott McLean in Belgrade, Paula Hancocks in Melbourne, thanks to you both.

A pointed warning today, after days of high-stakes diplomacy focused on getting Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine's border. Listen to the

chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, speaking at the group's regularly scheduled meeting in Vienna.


ZBIGNIEW RAU, CHAIRMAN, OSCE: It seems that the risk of war is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years.


KINKADE: Well, Russia, which is part of the OSCE, says NATO must promise not to admit Ukraine and other nations into its alliance before it

considers de-escalating. The American ambassador to the OSCE is urging other member nations to, quote, "decisively reject blackmail."

Today's meeting in Vienna was the only one in -- of three this week, where Ukraine was represented. A little earlier, our Sam Kiley sat down with the

deputy prime minister in Kiev and asked her about military assistance from Europe.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you want to see now more military hardware coming in as a deterrent?

Do you want to see some serious deliveries of some serious kit?

OLGA STEFANISHYNA, UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Let's make it clear that we, as Ukrainians, we understand that no other nation would fight for

Ukraine on its territory.

But what we understand also clearly, that if Europe wants to sleep well and to feel that their democracy is safe, they should invest in Ukraine's

defense. They should make sure that our army is twice as capable as it can be, to deter and to fight against Russian aggression.


KINKADE: Well, our Nic Robertson is in Brussels, where the NATO-Russian council meeting happened on Wednesday. And Matthew Chance has some reaction

from Moscow.

I want to go first to you, Nic. You sat down with the NATO secretary- general.

What was his take on whether he believes sanctions are enough to stop Russia from considering an invasion of Ukraine?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I asked him if he thought that Russia understood the warning; he said they did.

I asked them if he thought they cared and his answer was diplomatic. He said, look, this is -- we have offered an option; we have offered the

possibility of arms control agreements, of reduction of training on both sides, of both sides, NATO and the Russian side.

You know, there is reciprocity. We could work toward that. But he feels, from what he heard, that Russia's not interested in that at the moment. It

is interested in one thing only and that's their demand. He feels that the ball is firmly in the Russian court.

And I think the opportunity at the OSCE today, 57 nations, that cover a massive area of the world, all the way from Vancouver to Vladivostok, the

long way around the world, it was an opportunity for Russia and Ukraine to be within the same forum and to exchange ideas.


ROBERTSON: But I think what we saw earlier in the week and what the secretary-general will press is really both sides being maintaining their

positions. Russia on its side, NATO, the U.S. and now the OSCE on the other.

I think what the OSCE chairman, the Polish foreign minister, is a big new row, had to say, was a diplomatic way in that forum of trying to explain

the way forward. This is how he framed it.


RAU: This response must be guided by the principle of international law and commitments with all participating states subscribe to in this


The problem is not related to one or two countries but poses a challenge to the stability and security of a European system that has been developed

over the course of more than three decades.


ROBERTSON: And it certainly is generating a lot of discussion about these main forums at the European defense ministers meeting in France. There has

been a conversation today between the Norwegian and Estonian prime ministers.

We heard the Danish foreign minister speak out on this issue as well, essentially all saying NATO is right and that they cannot change their

position under the threat of pressure from Russia.

KINKADE: Thanks to you, Nic. I want to bring in Matthew Chance now from Moscow.

Tough new sanctions are being proposed in the U.S. Senate. No doubt this would further sever relations with Russia.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It wouldn't make it any better, that's for sure. The spokesman specifically, in his daily

conference call with reporters, addressed that issue earlier today.

He basically said that, you know, these tough new sanctions that are being suggested -- by I think it is Senate Democrats in the U.S. Senate at the

moment -- they would put a whole range of tough sanctions against Russia, would cause a breakoff in the U.S.-Russian relationship.

They specifically identified the proposal to target Vladimir Putin, the Russian president himself, with sanctions. He said this was a, quote, "out

of bounds" measure. So the Russians reacting very negatively indeed to the suggestion that those kinds of sanctions could be even debated, considered

in the U.S. Congress, let alone actually imposed.

But that sort of gels with the generally negative characterization that we're hearing from virtually every Russian official that is speaking about

the nature of these discussions, about what the content has been over the course of this week.

It is definitely safe to say they are not at all happy with the outcome of these negotiations. Just to give you a flavor of that, the Russian

ambassador to the OSCE saying he's disappointed that there has been no constructive reactions so far to the Russian demands.

The deputy foreign minister here saying that U.S. and NATO are clearly not ready to meet our key demands. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister,

saying that Russian -- the demands for Russia to withdraw its troops from regions near to Ukraine, Russian troop withdrawals are unacceptable, he

says, we won't even discuss it.

Just to give you -- just to underline the sort of general lack of optimism among Russian officials, at the end of this week, long of talks, take a

listen to Alexander Grushko, another Russian deputy foreign minister, who led the negotiations at NATO. Listen to what he had to say.


ALEXANDER GRUSHKO, RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): One of the elements of the rather sad picture is that, as a result of

NATO's decision, all practical cooperation between us and the alliance in areas of common interest has been suspended. Today we do not have a

unifying positive agenda, none at all.


CHANCE: "Not at all," which is obviously not a great result from a Russian point of view.

The question becomes, is what will the Russians next steps be?

And that decision, you know, whether they decide to continue negotiations, see if they can shake that diplomatic tree a bit harder and get some

further concessions on the core issues for them, from the United States, from the West, or whether they decide that there is no point in pursuing

diplomatic, the diplomatic channel at this stage and look for other ways, as they suggested they will, to pressure the West into giving them what

they want. Lynda.

KINKADE: Matthew Chance for us in Moscow. Good to have you breaking it down for us there.

Nic Robertson in Brussels, great getting that interview of the NATO secretary-general.

Good to have you both with us. Thank you.


KINKADE: Well, a landmark trial and a measure of justice for some victims of Syria's civil war. A German court sentences a former army colonel

convicted of torture, murder and sexual assault. We'll have the details ahead in a live report.

And later, as the chorus of disapproval grows louder around Boris Johnson, we'll look at why some British lawmakers say it could be last call for the

scandal-plagued prime minister.




KINKADE: Well, a sliver of justice finally today for victims of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's murderous assault against his own people. In

the first-ever torture trial against Assad's regime, a German court has sentenced a former Syrian army colonel to life in prison for crimes against


Before he fled Syria and its civil war in 2012, Anwar Raslan headed a feared investigation unit at a notorious Damascus detention center known as

Branch 251. Prosecutors say at least 4,000 people were tortured there, dozens killed.

During the trial, several survivors took to the stand, describing how they were abused, tortured and starved. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now


This colonel was accused of a long list of crimes and, after nearly a decade of evidence gathering, this is the highest ranking official of the

Assad regime to be sentenced.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is indeed, Lynda. We're talking about torture, talking about murder. But this court convicted him of crimes

against humanity. And what lawyers and those involved in this case tell you, that this is so significant, because, when you talk about crimes

against humanity, this is not something one individual, one person would be responsible for.

This is something that was systematic. This was something that an entire regime and system, they say, was convicted of. It may have been this one

colonel who was on trial here.

But for so many, they feel that he was here representing the Assad regime. And, you know, it is being described as a historic moment. This is the

first time anyone has been convicted of crimes against humanity for all the atrocities we have seen unfold in Syria over the past 10 years, where you

have seen this lack of accountability, this total impunity during the conflict.


KARADSHEH: But this is also a very emotional moment, Lynda, for so many of the victims of the regime, the victims of this colonel. And, you know, a

few hours ago when this verdict and the sentencing were handed down in the courts, we were out here with one of the most prominent human rights

defenders in Syria, a human rights lawyer who, for decades, has been fighting for human rights in Syria.

He was a political prisoner himself. And he was the main driving force behind this trial. He says, you know, this is a moment he's been waiting

for his entire life. He described it as justice, it was a victory for justice, it is victory for the victims of the regime, for the victims in

this case of torture and also for the victims who did not live to see this day.

We have to warn our viewers, the report they're about to see contains graphic images of torture.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): It is in this small, idyllic German city where Syria's long road to justice begins, with an end to a decade of impunity

for some of the worst atrocities of our time.

This court in Koblenz is the first in the world to convict a former senior member of the Assad regime of crimes against humanity. A year ago, it

sentenced a junior co-defendant to 4.5 years in prison for his role in the case.

For nearly two years, the court heard of horrors that unfolded thousands of miles away, at a Damascus detention facility, where former colonel Anwar

Raslan allegedly oversaw the torture of as many as 4,000 detainees, sexual assaults and the death of dozens during the early days of the uprising.

Raslan defected in 2012 and later fled to Germany, where his past caught up with him. Some of his victims were among the hundreds of thousands of

Syrian refugees, who also made it to Germany.


WASSIM MUKDAD, SYRIAN WITNESS AND JOINT PLAINTIFF: He ordered directly to a man next to me, make him lay on his belly and raise his feet in the air,

like a stress situation. And once the answers didn't suit him, the other man, on command, starts to hit until he say stop. It's like hell.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Musician Wassim Mukdad was tortured 10 years ago. He says he's been tormented by the trauma ever since. Reliving that trauma

and confronting his jailer, he says, was a duty to those who never made it out to tell their own stories.

MUKDAD: I gave my testimony on the 19th of August 2020. I felt relief, a huge burden from my shoulders. This memory that I kept willingly because I

didn't want it to be just lost and the suffering would be in vain.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Activists have been collecting evidence of the regime's rampant and systematic torture long before this trial. In 2014,

some of the most damning visual evidence of state-sponsored torture emerged, after horrific photographs of thousands of detainees tortured to

death in Assad's jails were smuggled out of Syria by a military defector code-named Caesar.

But up until this trial, no one had ever been held accountable. The path to international accountability has been blocked by regime allies Russia and


KARADSHEH: But that is starting to change now. Here in Germany and in other European countries, victims have found a new path to justice under

universal jurisdiction, a legal principle that allows national courts like this one to prosecute grave crimes against international law, no matter

where in the world they were committed.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): It is the breakthrough on what al-Bunni has dedicated his life to. The human rights lawyer was a driving force behind

this trial and other cases in Europe.

ANWAR AL-BUNNI, SYRIAN HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: Crimes against humanity, it is not grants who (INAUDIBLE) by one person, it is committed by regime, by

state. When the charge would be crimes against humanity, that mean all the system, all the regime and all the person charged now.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Bunni believes this trial sends a message of hope, at a time when Assad appears to have won the war and many in the

international community seem keen to turn the page.

AL-BUNNI: We want to send message to the criminals who still in Syria or they escape to here and think they are safe now and, OK, we let -- there is

no safe place can hide to, no safe place to you in whole the world.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Victims say their battle for justice is only just beginning -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Koblenz, Germany.



KARADSHEH: The reason you did not see the face of the colonel there is because this is German law. The court ruled early on in the case that that

his identity must be concealed to -- for protection of privacy reasons.

You know, Lynda, this is being described as a watershed moment for justice, international justice, for the victims of the Assad regime; this is being

described as a historic moment.

And there are so many here that we have met and we have spoken to today; for them this is also a moment of mixed emotions. Yes, they are happy to

see someone being held accountable for these crimes.

But there are some who believe that there is a long, long way ahead for them to get the justice that they have been seeking for such a long time.

You may have seen, at the end of the report there, there was a group of women, who sat outside court today, holding up the pictures of their loved

ones -- their fathers, sons, brothers -- who have disappeared into the black hole that is the Assad detention facilities.

An estimated 120,000 people forcibly disappeared in Syria, they still don't know their fate. We're talking about years here, where these people have

vanished without a trace. They are taking this moment to remind the world of these disappeared.

And they want to remind the world that, when we talk about the Assad regime's crimes, we're not talking about something of the past; for them,

this is ongoing, something that they are living every single day of their lives.

And they want to remind the international community, as it seems to be so many in the international community are keen to turn the page and move on

and to bring the Assad regime back into the fold, they really want to remind them that they are still living the consequences of these crimes.


KINKADE: Exactly. Hard to believe 120,000 people still unaccounted for. Jomana Karadsheh, great reporting, thank you very much.

The Norwegian Nobel committee that awarded Ethiopia's prime minister the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 now says he bears special responsibility to end

the bloodshed in Tigray in northern Ethiopia. He sent troops there in 2020.

The fighting between army forces and those loyal to Tigray's ruling party has now killed thousands of people, displaced millions more and sparked a

humanitarian crisis. The U.N. says hundreds of thousands of people are starving, with no access to food or medicine.

Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, Britain's embattled Boris Johnson is feeling the pressure. Why calls for him to quit are growing.

And fed up and taking their voice to the streets, why COVID rules are prompting teachers to carry out nationwide protests.





KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Good to have you with us.

The British prime minister is fighting for his political life. Polling shows only 20 percent of the U.K. public hold a favorable view of Boris

Johnson. And that was even before the latest controversy engulfing Downing Street.

On Wednesday, Mr. Johnson apologized for attending a Downing Street garden party in May of 2020, when England was in the first COVID lockdown. The

prime minister's apology is doing little to silence calls for his resignation.

Today, Mr. Johnson is out of public view. Downing Street tells CNN he canceled a visit to a vaccination center after a family member tested

positive for COVID. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is watching all of this from London and joins us now live.

Good to have you with us, Salma. Amidst calls even from within his own party to step down, he is hunkering down today, with some member of his

family testing positive for COVID.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not to speculate too much but it does give the prime minister a moment of reflection, a moment to decide next

steps, a moment to figure out his strategy.

Because what are the options here?

This the day after the big apology, the day after the fallout. You have a few things that could happen here. You could have the prime minister simply

resign. I'm going to put that in the nearly impossible category.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is known as someone who is going to hold on to power. This is a political office he fought his entire career to win. He's

not going to leave easily.

That leads me to the second option: he's pushed out. That would require a rebellion against him, from his own party. Conservative lawmakers would

have to turn against prime minister Boris Johnson and call a vote of no confidence.

It would require 15 percent of Conservative lawmakers to write a letter to the 1922 Committee, a body that oversees Tory leadership in this country.

We're nowhere near that threshold. That's 54 lawmakers, nowhere near that. Local media only reporting that two so far have written that letter.

That leaves me with the last option; that is for the prime minister to simply ride out the storm. Here's what you have to know about Johnson. He

is a great political escape artist. He has survived scandal after scandal after scandal. This is his biggest one yet.

And for his critics, Lynda, this is the gift that keeps on giving because, remember, the prime minister has so far admitted to his attendance at one

event. But there is accusations of multiple events across multiple months, there is a lot there that could still come back to bite the prime minister.


KINKADE: As you say, he is indeed a survivor.

I have to ask you about another story that is just coming into us. We're hearing that U.K. politicians have been warned about an active Chinese spy

in Parliament.

What can you tell us?

ABDELAZIZ: So we're just getting new information about this here. And we found out about this when a senior lawmaker, senior Conservative lawmaker

stood up in Parliament and spoke about receiving information from the Speaker, warning of a Chinese agent in Parliament. Take a listen.


IAIN DUNCAN SMITH, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: I understand that Mr. Speaker has been contacted by MI-5 and is now warning members of Parliament that

there has been an agent to the Chinese government active here in Parliament, working with another -- with a member of Parliament, obviously

to subvert the processes here.


ABDELAZIZ: Smith went on to say so far it is understood there is no deportation arrangements in place. He asked why. This is of particular

concern to this lawmaker, because he's been sanctioned by the Chinese government.

And fears among lawmakers as to what exactly this means, what compromises potentially were made, we're going to tune in to find out more on that,


KINKADE: It sounds like this warning came from British intelligence services. So a lot of questions as to what will happen, what will come from

this. Great concerns and maybe Boris Johnson is happy for a different story to emerge amidst all his controversy.


ABDELAZIZ: Absolutely. The prime minister is hoping, praying, wishing for a different headline at this point. I doubt this is going to detract from

the attention. Here is the thing you have to realize. This is no longer just about what actually happened. It is now becoming about how the prime

minister has handled this.

He's becoming the laughingstock of the nation. You saw that moment in Parliament yesterday, where the opposition Labour leader, Keir Starmer,

said his excuses, that he didn't know it was a party; he thought it was a work event. That has become a meme across this country.

Just type in #workevent and you'll get plenty of jokes. But it is no laughing matter for prime minister Boris Johnson. He's absolutely fighting

here for his reputation, for his support within his political party.

He is a prime minister, that looks increasingly cornered, increasingly vulnerable and you saw that in Parliament yesterday, the prime minister

simply flinching at times.

KINKADE: Exactly. At least for today, people are having a laugh about it. Salma Abdelaziz, good to have you with us from London. Thank you.

Today, French teachers are holding a massive strike over the government's COVID response. About a third of elementary teachers nationwide are taking

part and about half of elementary schools across the country are closed.

Teachers say they're fed up with the constantly changing rules over COVID testing for students. France recently eased its testing requirements for

students who had a positive case in their class. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris and joins us now for more on this.

And I understand about 75 percent of French elementary teachers are taking part in this strike. But also a majority of high school and middle

schoolteachers have joined them.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The government figure is -- the education ministry figure is slightly lower than that. There is a

discrepancy between the unions and the government about the actual number of people on strike.

Yes, a great deal of unhappiness within teaching unions and teaching staff. And it isn't that they have gone on strike with so many schools closed as a

result. It is also that they have taken to the streets in pretty big numbers to make plain their displeasure.

What they object to is not just the nature of the rules themselves that have been changed in a way that will make it easier for classrooms to stay

open and for kids to stay in school but the fact they say they weren't consulted.

They learned about it from the media and they're making clear in the various press releases that these grievances predate COVID-19. They have a

fair amount of disgruntlement within their ranks over the way they have been treated; cuts made to budgets and so on, that was historic and

preceded this whole crisis.

That has simply been made worse by what they say is the mismanagement of the COVID protocols within schools. They were changed only on Monday in

order to make it easier for children to stay in school.

What is happening is with the Omicron variant being as contagious as it is and the peak still ahead in France, authorities are trying to find ways of

living with it, without having to shut down the economy for another catastrophic bout of lockdowns.

So measures that will allow kids to stay in school, measures that allow the economy to stay open but with a lot of people at the front line of that

pretty unhappy about the way it is being done.

KINKADE: Exactly. I did find it quite surprising; I was watching the strikes in Paris earlier today. And most people are protesting the fact

that they feel schools aren't safe. But looking at the images of the protesters, there were a lot not wearing a mask or not wearing it properly.

BELL: That's right. You'll notice the same thing if you look at the protests from last Saturday. People had taken to the streets against

government COVID measures and their push to get vaccines done.

At the moment, it is a pretty risky thing to do, to head to the streets and into large crowds without masks, especially here in Paris. In the wider

Parisian region, the incidence rate is nearly 3,000 per 100,000 people. That is astonishingly high when you consider previous waves.

And the incident rates we used to see then, getting to 500 seemed in the first and second wave points of which the government started to panic and

lockdown measures were taken.

And, again, it is because of that contagiousness, it is because it is so virulent that we're seeing the extraordinary numbers. And we're seeing

people get infected, that we still have the peak ahead and that the government is trying to find ways of allowing people to keep living with

that, Lynda.

KINKADE: Exactly. Melissa Bell, good to have you with us today from Paris. Thanks so much.

Stay with us on CNN. Outrage on the pitch in an African Cup of Nations match. We doubt you've seen anything like this before. We tell you why a

referee may need to invest in a new watch.