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Hala Gorani Tonight

Italian Coronavirus Cases Climbed More Slowly In Past 24 Hours; South Korea Instituting Drive-Through Coronavirus Testing; Benjamin Netanyahu May Narrowly Win Third Israel Election; U.S. Surgeon General To Public: Don't Panic; Amy Klobuchar To End Campaign, Endorse Joe Biden; Thousands Of Refugees Stranded At Turkish-Greek Border; Ghani Rejects Prisoner Release In U.S.-Taliban Agreement. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 02, 2020 - 14:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Christina MacFarlane, in for Hala Gorani.

Tonight, health officials around the world scramble to trace those infected as global coronavirus cases go up.

Israel holds an unprecedented third election in a year. We're just an hour away from the first exit polls.

And the 2020 Democratic presidential race just got even smaller, after another candidate drops out.

But first, new cases of coronavirus are being confirmed around the world, but experts say that alone is not reason to panic. According to the World

Health Organization, aggressive containment measures are working in places like China, where the outbreak began. IN fact, over the past day, almost

nine times more cases have been reported outside China than inside.

Since December, more than 89,000 people have been infected, and more than 3,000 have died. Remember, the vast majority of cases and deaths, inside

mainland China are in fact there (ph). Dozens of countries with infections have fewer than 10 cases and maybe only have one.

Well, right now, the WHO says the places of biggest concern are South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan. they have the largest outbreaks outside


In the meantime, the European Union has boosted the risk alert level for the virus from moderate to high. The number of confirmed cases in the E.U.

now tops 2,000, with Italy being affected the worst. And fears are mounting by the day of its contamination sweeping rapidly across not just the

region, but the world. E.U. officials say strong and swift action is needed to contain the spread and every country needs to get ready.

Well, for more on what we could expect facing the region, our Scott McLean is here with us in London, and we have Ben Wedeman standing by in Milan,


And, Ben, I want to get to you first because of course, Italy is being seen as the epicenter of this outbreak, and we know the government is taking

extreme measures there to contain the disease, as Europe watches on. But what is all of this impact having on the day-to-day there, on the streets

where you are?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me give you an update first on the numbers. The Italian Civil Protection Agency has

come out with the latest statistics, a total of 2,036 recorded cases of coronavirus in Italy with 52 deaths. That represents 342 additional cases

within the last 24 hours.

What's interesting is that in the previous 24-hour period, the new cases were 566. So it's hard to say if this is the beginning of a leveling-off

trend or perhaps a decrease in the number.

But as far as daily life here in this part of Italy, no traffic jams, schools, universities are closed, La Scala theater is closed. And of

course, not far from here, you have the so-called red zones, where 50,000 people are essentially under lockdown.

But behind me, in the Piazza del Duomo, normally full of tourists, we did encounter some. And despite the grim statistics that are coming out of

Italy, they seemed to brush them off.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): Love in the time of coronavirus. And love, as they say, is blind.

WEDEMAN: Why are you here? There's coronavirus.

ANDRE NOVIKOV, RUSSIAN TOURIST: Oh, my girlfriend says it's no problem.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Andre from Russia is wearing his mask upside-down. Perhaps because, at least on the surface, people here aren't panicking. The

few tourists left in Milan, do as the Milanese do.

Nadia Oganjonovic and her husband Lazar from Montenegro aren't concerned.

NADIA OGANJONOVIC, MONTENEGRIN TOURIST: I saw lots of people. Nobody cares about corona. I think that's propaganda.

LAZAR OGANJONOVIC, MONTENEGRIN TOURIST: This virus is only because you have already some problems or --

N. OGANJONOVIC: -- to hide (ph) many problems.

L. OGANJONOVIC: -- you are sick or something like that. For us, probably for us in Montenegro, we are strong people and for us it's nothing.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): In this era of fake news, it's not surprising that so many shrug off the disease, even if the lion's share of the cases in Italy

are here in the Lombardy region.


ELLENA USOVA, RUSSIAN TOURIST: I'm not afraid. It's hysterical, I think.

WEDEMAN: It's hysterics?


WEDEMAN: Oh, really?

USOVA: Really.

WEDEMAN: You have a mask?




WEDEMAN: Fears over coronavirus have led to an epidemic of hotel cancellations. Parliament member Giorgia Meloni of the Fratelli d'Italia

Party is appealing via Facebook for people to visit Italy.

GIORGIA MELONI, MEMBER, FRATELLI D'ITALIA: Don't leave the most beautiful tourist destination out. You will find a healthy and happy nation, very

proud to have you here with all the excellences it has to give. We await you, here in Italy.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): These Scottish sisters shrug it all off.

WEDEMAN: Are you worried about coronavirus?



E. FEARNS: Because, as my sister said, it's just a bigger strain of the flu. So we're not in any (ph) way (ph) worried. We're young, fit --


E. FEARNS: -- and healthy people, so there's nothing to be worried about.

WEDEMAN: The United States has advised its citizens not to travel to parts of Italy affected by the coronavirus. And of course we're in Milan, which

is affected by the coronavirus. And try as we might, we did not find any American tourists here on this day. For the few tourists here, fear is for

the birds.


WEDEMAN: But the authorities here are taking this threat very seriously. The authorities in the Lombardy region are advising all people above the

age of 65 to minimize social contact, to stay at home for the next 15 days if possible because they are the most susceptible to the coronavirus --


MACFARLANE: All right. Our Ben Wedeman there, live from Milan. Ben, thank you very much.

And I mentioned that the rest of Europe are of course watching Italy to see how they deal with the outbreak. That is certainly true here, in the U.K.

where the number of cases are also rising.

I just want to bring in our Scott McLean, who's in London here. And, Scott, we understand that that U.K. prime minister tabled an emergency Cobra

meeting today, where he addressed this and said afterwards that the spread of the disease is highly likely. Do we know if they have a plan to respond

to this?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christina. So British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today, came out and said, look, they expect this to get much,

much worse than it is right now. And so, today, they were meeting with the cabinet -- the prime minister met with his top advisors and department

heads to finalize plans as to what to do when in fact it does get worse.

They are planning to release a so-called battle plan for this coronavirus tomorrow. Over the weekend, the British health minister said that they were

planning for the absolute worst-case scenario, hoping for the best, obviously.

But under that worst-case scenario, you might see things like, you know, closing of schools, cancelling soccer matches and even dissuading people

from using public transit, something that's going to be pretty difficult in a city the size of London, which relies so, so heavily on the subway system

and on the bus system here.

A lot of people, though, seem to be staying at home just on their own. For instance, British Airways said that 200-plus flights would be cancelled

starting later this month, not because of anything related to the coronavirus but simply because of lack of demand -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: And you mentioned worst-case scenario, Scott. I wonder if they are also considering -- as we've seen, of course, in parts of northern

Italy -- the possibility of shutting down cities across Europe. Has that been something that's been discussed, not just here in the U.K. but in

other major countries in Europe as well?

MCLEAN: Obviously, we'll know more details tomorrow, when we see this so- called battle plan. But there was a press conference today with E.U. leaders, discussing the possibility of exactly that. And perhaps to many

people's surprise, they said that this discussion about closing borders, even within the free movement Schengen zone, has been discussed but so far,

no countries have opted to do that.

No countries are even considering that at this point, even though each individual member of the European Union -- and obviously Britain separately

-- would be able to close their own borders if they wanted to. Europe has seen more than 2,000 cases of this coronavirus, dozens of deaths, as you

said. They've raised the risk level from moderate to high.

But even at this stage, they say that closing the borders may not be the best thing to do. They are more concerned about things like procuring

protective equipment for themselves, 50 percent of which comes from China. So they're trying to get on the same page to try to make sure that they can

still get that protective gear, again, in the event that things get much, much worse.

MACFARLANE: Yes. Also a major concern there. Scott McLean there, joining me from London. Thank you.


And also, in an alarming jump, Iran is reporting more than 1,500 cases now of coronavirus and 66 deaths. It's the highest number of deaths outside of

China, a number that now includes a top advisor to Iran's supreme leader.

The World Health Organization landed in Tehran earlier, bringing medical supplies and testing kits for nearly 100,000 people. And experts hope to

get a better idea of the extent of the spread.

Well, CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more now about Iran's response to the outbreak.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A typical sight in Tehran these days: police water cannon trucks, spraying

disinfectant, hoping to protect residents from the novel coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases in Iran continues to rise.

Most of the cases have gone to health centers in recent days, and suspicious cases have also been hospitalized. And the cases reported by the

laboratory are from Tehran City and Tehran provinces, the spokesman for Iran's health ministry says.

Iran is the country most affected by the coronavirus in the Middle East, with dozens dead and hundreds having contracted the disease. And it's

wreaking havoc among the Islamic republic's leadership.

Even an advisor to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohammad Mirmohammadi has died after contracting the novel coronavirus. He was 71

years old.

Iran's vice president for women's affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, is also currently being treated after coming down with the illness, as have various

other political and clergy figures.

Even Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps is now involved in trying to combat the outbreak.

Following orders from the commander-in-chief of the IRGC, we have established a central operations room for the purpose of coordinating

efforts in the fight against coronavirus.

From Mashhad in the east of Iran to the capital, Tehran, the Islamic Republic is ramping up its efforts to get the coronavirus under control.

And this country, which is under severe international sanctions, is also trying to develop its own vaccine.

We have three projects working on a coronavirus medicine, and our researchers are working on it seriously and one of our medicines had good

results in the lab. And hopefully in the future, we will have a medicine for the clinical cases, says the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps

Medical University.

Until a vaccine is available, many Iranians are hunkering down and trying to protect themselves as best they can, hoping the outbreak will subside

before too long. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


MACFARLANE: Well, the U.S. markets have rebounded following the worst week for the stocks since the 2008 global financial crisis. The Dow is up after

a sharply higher opening, as investors expect stimulus packages from the world's central banks in response to the coronavirus.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are both higher and if markets finish in positive territory, it would end this seven-day losing streak that we've seen. Asia

has been, of course, worst hit with the coronavirus the hardest.

Even though mainland China has reported success with their containment efforts, other places are trying to keep the threat under control. Let's

take a look.

Hong Kong is reporting two new infections, bringing the total there to 10. Indonesia has reported its first two cases; President Joko Widodo says they

both had contact with a Japanese national who tested positive after leaving the country. And South Korea's death toll has risen now to 26. The country

has more than 4,000 infections; nearly half of them are linked to a single religious group in Daegu. Well, the group's leader has apologized to the

public and says they are now cooperating with the government.

Now as South Korea tries to put the brakes on its growing outbreak, it's come up with a new way to get people tested quickly and efficiently. It's

almost as easy as ordering fast food, but not quite as painless, as Ivan Watson found out.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: South Korea has more diagnosed cases of coronavirus than any other country outside of mainland

China. We're going to take a look at an innovative technique that the country has come up with for expediting trying to detect coronavirus

infections. We're about to take a look at drive-through coronavirus testing.

WATSON (voice-over): Coronavirus cases in Korea jumped from 31 to more than 4,200 in just the last two weeks.

WATSON: And thank you very much.

Now, here's the thing about what the city is doing. It's offering free coronavirus testing to anybody who comes here. You don't even have to be a

citizen, a resident of the city of Goyang.

Temperature --

WATSON (voice-over): I'm instructed to stay in the car the whole time.



WATSON (voice-over): I filled out a questionnaire to see whether I have any symptoms, or if I'm in a higher risk category of people who have visited

the city of Daegu, where more than 70 percent of Korea's coronavirus cases have been diagnosed.


WATSON: This is a tough job that the nurses have, and a volunteer doctor. They do five-hour shifts, they can't go to the bathroom, they can't drink

water and, as one of them told me, it's cold here.

WATSON (voice-over): Korea has tested more than 100,000 people since the outbreak began. This drive-through site can test more than 380 people a


WATSON: I'm now going to do the coronavirus test.

Whoa, OK.


WATSON: Oh, that's really uncomfortable.

OK, I finished the test. I do have to confess that they really have to stick the swab very far up your nose, which is pretty uncomfortable but

it's over in seconds. It'll be two to three days before I get the test results.

I spoke with a doctor at a coronavirus crisis center, and he says that one of the best lessons that Korea has to offer other countries that are just

beginning to deal with coronavirus, are these drive-through test sites. Because the authorities say you can process more people quicker, and it

limits the exposure of the medical professionals themselves to patients who could be carrying the disease.

Ivan Watson, CNN in Goyang, South Korea.


MACFARLANE: Well, still to come tonight, we will have much more on the coronavirus outbreak, including a glimpse at the U.S. where there's been a

big increase in cases. And fears about coronavirus aren't damping turnout in Israel, where voters are hoping to end months of political deadlock.

We're live in Jerusalem with just minutes left until the poll closes.


MACFARLANE: Welcome back. We are following a huge turnout in Israel as the country's third elections in 11 months. Our Becky Anderson is on the ground

as the clock ticks down. Becky, over to you.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN MANAGING EDITOR: That's right, Christina, thank you. We are now less than an hour away from the polls closing here in Jerusalem and

across Israel. And in an election this close, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's political fate could all come down to turnout.

Voters are trying to break months of unprecedented political gridlock. It may seem like deja vu with the very real prospect that, once again,

Israelis could wake up tomorrow with no clear winner between Mr. Netanyahu's Likud Party, and Benny Gantz's Blue and White. But this time,

turnout is at a 20-year high.


Oren Liebermann is live at the Likud Party headquarters in Tel Aviv. And a text message being sent to mobiles in the past hour or so, reflecting just

how close this is. The message in part, reading, message -- a disaster for Israel. The press are saying that the Arabs are voting in huge numbers.

It's going to destroy the right-wing agenda. Go vote now. What do you make of that -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, to some extent, it's not surprising and we've seen similar messages like that over the course of the

last three campaigns, even going back to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's message in 2015 that the Arabs are going to the polls in buses.

So it's been an attack on the Arab population of Israel, and Arab parties here, that has to some extent been used to drive voter turnout so it's not

surprising we're seeing it again.

It is an indication of just how important voter turnout is this time, and there were plenty of reasons to think it would be lower: voter apathy for

one, a sense of the fact that this might not lead anywhere, with election polls predicting political deadlock, another, and perhaps Israelis are

simply tired of this cycle of elections.

And yet the exact opposite has happened. As you pointed out, voter turnout isn't only up, it's up big. At 6:00 p.m. -- so a few hours ago -- it was at

56.3 percent, a 2.8 percentage point increase over September's elections. Israelis care very much, and they're coming out to vote. The question, of

course, is for whom.

I will tell you that here at Likud Election Night headquarters, there is a sense of optimism. Netanyahu's campaign focused on voter turnout, saying

that he needed 300,000 votes to be able to declare a victory, votes he says he lost between April and September, votes he was trying to bring back.

There is a sense here that perhaps he has done it. Having failed to form a government twice, the longtime magician of Israeli politics, they believe,

may be about to pull off his greatest trick. They're eagerly awaiting the exit polls, and then the results after that.

They believe here that exit polls and election polls often underestimate Likud voters, and that's what they'll be looking to see here as they wait

to see if Netanyahu has done it or if Israel may well be in store for more political deadlock or some other outcome. But it looks like it will be a

very close vote, as we have suspected all along -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is at Likud Party headquarters.

We are now joined by journalist Ronen Bergman, he's a correspondent for an Israeli daily here and a writer for "The New York Times," and author of

"Rise and Kill First." Sir, what do you make of this high voter turnout, historic to a certain extent?

RONEN BERGMAN, CORRESPONDENT, YEDIOTH AHRONOTH: Yes, the highest since 1999, Becky. And usually, traditionally, when more voters -- putting aside

the Arabs, of course -- more voters coming to vote, more people coming to vote, it's usually a benefit for the right-wing parties.

And the leaks -- as much as we trust them -- from the recent polls taken during the election days, as we get them, and now becoming viral on Israeli

WhatsApp on the last two hours, are predicting a very, very, very close result for the right-wing bloc, very close to 60, very close to have a

majority without Avigdor Lieberman.

This means a triumphant victory -- if happens, triumphant victory for Benjamin Netanyahu that, as your correspondent said, just pulled up the

biggest trick of his career.

And this is the only question that now matters. It's not who is the biggest party, it's not if Likud wins the biggest number or Blue and White, it's as

-- the only question is if Benjamin Netanyahu, the ultra-religious and the older right-wing parties have 60 or more seats in the cabinet.

If not, then Blue and White are able to form a coalition with outside support of the Arab party. If yes, then we are talking about a very, very

different Israel from tomorrow, because Benjamin Netanyahu is expecting --

ANDERSON: Which means -- which means --

BERGMAN: -- to continue its policy that would --

ANDERSON: -- sorry, if Benjamin Netanyahu is able to push this across the line, what's changed this time? And what would that mean for Israel, going


BERGMAN: Benjamin Netanyahu is the reason why we are facing a third election in a year time. And the only reason why he was pulling this again

and again was in order to gather a right-wing majority that would support him in changing a series of legislations in order to get the procedures in

court against him stopped or detained or get him, in any case, off the hook in the three severe criminal charges.


I remind everybody that on the 19 of March, he's expected to sit on the bench in the court in Jerusalem and hear the reading of the prosecution and

the indictments against him. And if he is elected, if he's the next prime minister, then he would use this majority -- something that he could not do

in a coalition government with the left wing or with the blue and white.

He would use that in order to get the proceeding against him stopped or at least put on hold until the end of his term that, from his point of view --

if I read him correctly -- is the end of his life. I mean, he is going -- he wished to be the prime minister of Israel as much as he is alive.

The other thing is, I think, that the right-wing parties have made a very clear distinction, a very clear call before the elections. They prefer to

have Netanyahu not giving away any kind of territory, not agreeing to the two-state solution and preferring that, (INAUDIBLE) having a prime minister

that is charged with severe criminal and corrupt cases.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, what role has Donald Trump and his Middle East peace plan -- or vision for peace -- played in these elections, do you


BERGMAN: The Donald Trump plan, the deal of the century, whatever they're called, is -- was aimed at achieving two targets. One, the primary target

was to get Netanyahu elected and get him off the hook from the criminal charges. And the marginal case was to bring peace to the Middle East.

At least on the first one, with no doubt, it helped Netanyahu a lot in the timing, just before the elections, and the ability of Netanyahu to identify

himself, to tag himself as the super-stateman, the one who can recruit the United States of America and the president of the United States, to align

completely, 100 percent, with the Israeli right-wing policy.

And appease and satisfy a majority -- almost a majority, we'll see in the coming votes, but -- a significant chunk of the Israeli voters, were (ph)

promising them that no Israeli will be evacuated from the -- from his land, which basically means no two-state solution, no end of the conflict and the

continuation of the annexation.

This is what -- this is how this was perceived, and Netanyahu was very, very successful into maneuvering, spin this plan, identifying him as the

super-prime minister, the only one who is able to orchestrate such a plan.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us on what is an incredibly important night, here in


And what happens in Israel, of course, doesn't stay in Israel. Remember, the polls close in just about 30 minutes. We will be standing by with the

leading exit poll projections. Do join us for our special coverage, ahead. Until then, Christina, it's back to you.

MACFARLANE: Thanks very much, Becky. We look forward to that.


Well, still to come tonight, a jump in numbers of people sickened by the new coronavirus in the U.S. over the weekend, but the top health official

says don't panic.



MACFARLANE: A U.S. Surgeon General says this is not the time to panic, reassuring Americans concerned over the coronavirus Monday. He said the

increase in U.S. cases, over the weekend, is not surprising. The top U.S. medical official advice caution and preparedness.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to hold a briefing on the government plan of action in just a few hours. And President Trump is

traveling to the Centers for Disease Control this week and is announcing additional screenings for travelers.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm also meeting with the pharmaceutical companies later on this afternoon. We have a big meeting

with the biggest companies, really the most powerful companies, hopefully the smartest companies anywhere in the world, when it comes to drugs and

vaccines because we're talking about a vaccine, maybe a cure that is possible. So we'll see about that.

But we're talking about a vaccine and they're moving along very quickly. All of the pharmaceutical companies are moving along very quickly.


MCFARLANE: Well, in Florida, 60-year-old man who contracted the virus says he hadn't traveled to impacted areas and New York City has found its first

case. Washington State, meanwhile, the worst hit among U.S. states has closed two more schools, amid fears of the virus.

Our Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has more, and joins us now from CNN Center in Atlanta.

And, Elizabeth, the U.S. Surgeon General telling Americans that now is not the time to panic. But I wonder what your assessment is of how ready

medical officials have been to respond to this outbreak that we're seeing.

You know, I thought -- I think it's hard to give an assessment across the board. The United States is a very big place. I think in some hospitals,

they've been anticipating this really for four months now at this point, I was speaking with doctors at NYU Langone Health which is in New York City.

And really for almost two months now, when someone comes in with fever and a cough, they insist that that person wear a mask, they treat them as if

they had coronavirus even though, of course, you know, they -- the vast majority are probably all of them don't, up until this point.

So I think that places like that have been more prepared. They have isolation rooms where they can put people if they do have coronavirus, but

that does not mean that every hospital in the United States does. There are large hospitals, small hospitals, hospitals with varying amounts of

resources. It really depends on where you're talking about.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And Washington State, of course, has been the worst hit so far with two deaths there. There were reports on Sunday that the virus

might have gone undetected in Washington State for weeks now, which means that anywhere up to, I believe, 1,500 people could have been infected.

What does this mean for the efforts there to contain the virus if that is true?

COHEN: Right. So there was that report that there's that concern there. There's also been concern. We wrote about modeling that was done at a

university here in the United States that says that as many as 10 people might have come infected from China to the U.S. in the first few weeks of

in December and the first few weeks of January.


So even back then, there may have been community spread that nobody was checking on and that, of course, CDC, the Centers for Disease Control in

the United States has said we need to get tests out beyond the one lab that's doing it in Atlanta, we need more places to do it.

But unfortunately, what happened was that that process did not go smoothly. They sent it out. The kids had some issues with them. They had to go back

and forth with the labs about what to do. And it was only really since about late last week that labs, besides the CDC lab in Atlanta, really

started to do testing.

So it is good that the last few cases, that the last batch of cases that have been announced, many of those the tests were done locally, they were

done at a state or a county health department, in Rhode Island, in New York, in California and Oregon. Those were done locally. They were not done

by the CDC in Atlanta. That is -- that is good. And as they get more tests out there, then that will improve.

You know, I think it is not a difficult thing to get tests out there and online and working well. People do, you know, labs and doctors do tests for

viral illnesses all the time. It's really a matter of just getting them out there. And that does seem to be happening in very short order.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And we also saw that President Trump said he plans to visit the CDC Friday, no doubt to highlight, you know, U.S. efforts at this

time, but also to focus on efforts towards a vaccine.

But really, Elizabeth, we're sort of looking at a way to go up until a vaccine is actually going to be ready.

COHEN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the vaccine would really indeed be a wonderful thing. But no one should think that it's going to help us at this

juncture. You have to get the vaccine ready, and that's actually the relatively easy part. You then have to test it.

You know, we don't just put vaccines out on the market, we do very rigorous safety and efficacy testing. That takes at least a year. So we're talking a

year, a year and a half, at least until the vaccine would be on the market. So, well, it is important and it is something to follow. It's not going to

help us now.

MACFARLANE: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

MACFARLANE: And we actually have to tell you, we have some breaking news just in from the U.S. that three more deaths from the coronavirus have been

announced in Washington State that brings the national total now to five. We'll, of course, bring you more details as we get them in here.

All right. Still to come tonight, on the eve of Super Tuesday, another Democrat is dropping out of the presidential race and throwing their

support behind Joe Biden. What does this mean for tomorrow's high stakes vote? That's next after this short break.


MACFARLANE: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, dropping out to the presidential race and endorsing Vice President Joe Biden, as according to a senior

campaign aide speaking to CNN, Klobuchar is expected to make the announcement at a rally in Texas tonight.

His endorsement is more good news for Joe Biden. He was looking to build momentum and lockdown moderate voters after a runaway victory in South

Carolina over the weekend. He is now seen as the most viable moderate candidates after Mayor Pete Buttigieg ended his historic campaign Sunday

when Democrats are rushing to win over voters on the last day of campaigning before tomorrow's Super Tuesday primaries when a wave of states

will head to the polls.


Take a look, more than a third of the party's pledged delegates are up for grabs.

Well, David Swerdlick, our political commentator joins me now from Washington. Good to see you, David.

Well, a good weekend for Joe Biden just got even better, David, with Amy Klobuchar saying she's dropping out of the race now and endorsing a Joe

Biden. Was this always on the cards for Klobuchar? Do you think ahead of Super Tuesday?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Christina, she had a surge in January and early February, but her campaign never really took flight.

And I think now she sees it as in both her best interest and in the best interest of that center left moderate lane of the Democratic Party to get

behind a Vice President Biden, who is starting to consolidate a little support in that center left moderate lane after his runaway win in South


Just for our international voters, you know, you cannot think of this competition between Sanders and Biden a little bit like a competition

between Labour and Lib Dems in the U.K. This is the two sides of the Democratic Party vying for supremacy, vying for whose representative will

be the Democratic Party nominee with New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, being the sort of wild card as we head into Super Tuesday tomorrow.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and we'll come to Bloomberg in just a second. But in terms of where this now leaves, the moderate Democrats, I mean, are we seeing now

as sort of consolidation of moderate Democrats behind Joe Biden, given that we know or think that, you know, Buttigieg is also going to endorse him?

SWERDLICK: I think to a certain extent, yes, it's being reported out now that Senator Klobuchar is flying to Dallas tonight to endorse Vice

President Biden at is rally. It's very likely, although not yet confirmed that Mayor Buttigieg will endorse Vice President Biden in the coming day or


It just makes sense for these candidates to not waste their political juice while they have it. And Biden is the logical moderate candidate for them,

even though he really just won this one primary. And we still have to think of Senator Sanders as the front runner in this race, at least until we see

the results tomorrow on Super Tuesday, whereas you said, you're going to have about a third of the delegates selected in these various states,

including two huge prizes, California and Texas, two very big states with a lot of delegates.

MACFARLANE: Do you think this is going to give Joe Biden enough momentum now after that big win we saw though, to really now, you know, go toe to

toe with Bernie Sanders? How do you see that race playing out as a two- horse race?

SWERDLICK: So in a couple of those states, I think it's going to be tough. California, Senator Sanders has a double digit lead. If you look at polling

averages, he has a lead, a smaller one in Texas, also a big state. I think, if you're Vice President Biden, you're looking to southern states like

North Carolina and Virginia, not quite as big, but still pretty big states, states where he has more support, states where there is a higher percentage

of African-American voters with whom he has done very well, including South Carolina to make his mark on Super Tuesday.

I think that if he comes away with 15 percent viability threshold in a number of those states that propels him on from Super Tuesday, but I think

that even though the attention has been on Vice President Biden since this big, big win in South Carolina, Senator Sanders still has a lot of support.

He still is looking good in polls, and he is running a very effective campaign up to this point, what you're seeing is this competition narrowing

down in some ways to the two candidates who were in the spotlight from four years ago, Vice President Biden as the sitting Vice President, Senator

Sanders as someone who ran in 2016.

A lot of the other Democratic contenders were, sort of, newer to the public made their mark at various points in this race, but now are sort of either

fading or dropping out altogether.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And, David, meanwhile, we're seeing, you know, Mike Bloomberg readying for his first test in Tuesday's primaries. He's been

doing a lot of super spending ahead of Super Tuesday, but what kind of pressure is he now going to be under with this sort of consolidation going

on behind Joe Biden, who is always sort of looked at as his opposition, really, in terms of the moderate race?

SWERDLICK: So, Christina, one pressure that he's not facing is money, right? He's already sort of zooming past the $500 million mark, could

easily spend a billion or two billion if he wanted to in this race, he's worth over $60 billion. Money is essentially no object to him.


And we should remind our viewers that one of the reasons campaigns, ultimately, often end or presidential campaigns, at least, is not because

the candidates are doing poorly or because the candidates don't want to go on, but it's because without money, they're no longer viable. Bloomberg

doesn't have that problem.

But to your point, he's got a show tomorrow in the first states where he's on the ballot. He wasn't on the ballot in the early four states that he is

competitive in that moderate lane with Vice President Biden, or else it's much tougher for him to go into the next set of states into the next set of

debates with an argument that he is somehow the foil to Trump versus Vice President Biden, who, as you said, is starting to consolidate some of that

support in the Democratic Party, in that centrist moderate, left of center lane.

MACFARLANE: Yes. Time for Bloomberg to put his money where his mouth is, some might say.

David Swerdlick, great to have you with us. Thank you.

SWERDLICK: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: And you can, of course, be sure to tune in as voting kicks off across 14 states. Our Super Tuesday special coverage starts at 5am in Hong

Kong, that's 9pm in London right here on CNN.

OK. Still to come tonight, they can't go forward, and they don't want to go back. We'll take you to the border between Turkey and Greece, where

thousands of refugees from Syria are stranded.


MACFARLANE: A suspect is in custody in a hostage crisis early today at a Philippine shopping mall. Authorities say a former security guard held more

than 30 people at gunpoint. Police say he was upset over losing his job. He freed the hostages after demanding the resignation of the company's

executives, six directors jointly resigned and apologize to the government to end the daylong standoff.

Now thousands of refugees who fled Syria and other countries are stranded at Turkey's border with Greece. Turkey's president is not stopping them

from crossing into Europe, but Greece is using tear gas to keep them from entering, others are coming by sea.

And this video, released by Turkish government, appears to show a confrontation between the Greek Coast Guard and migrants on board a small

boat here, as she talked with some of those caught in the middle.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They just spent a night cold and wet, out in the open. And for what? A sliver of

hope, sparked by Turkey saying it would no longer stop refugees crossing to Europe, and facilitating their transport here, to the border with Greece.

Abdullah (ph) is the sole survivor of a bombing that killed the rest of his family in Syria.

DAMON (on-camera): They thought it was open, they thought the whole border was open.

DAMON (voice-over): It's not. Greece is not letting anyone through.

DAMON (on-camera): But it's quite chaotic, it's quite intense. People are just trying to bust through towards what they think is going to be a better


DAMON (voice-over): Europe doesn't want them, never really has, striking a financial aid deal with Turkey, back in 2016, that it never fully paid up

on to stem the refugee flood.

Turkey, hosting upwards of 3.5 million refugees, mostly from Syria, has long threatened to open the gates if left to shoulder the refugee burden

alone. And now, Turkey is even more angered by the West's refusal to support it in Idlib with anything more than rhetoric.


Many here are aware they are being used as leverage. The tear gas wafts over and mixes with smoke from multiple fires as those here try to stay


Samida's (ph) husband was killed in Iraq by ISIS. She came to Turkey with her children, elderly mother and disabled brother. Where are we supposed to

go, then? She wonders.

This Syrian mother doesn't want to talk. When we ask how she's doing, she just strokes her child's face. It's all horribly reminiscent of the

desperation we witnessed years ago, as throngs crossed through Europe.

At night, we meet some of those who tried to cross the river to Greece but failed. Greek authorities deny this, but Khalid (ph) from Idlib says the

Greeks forced him back, tore up his ID and took his phone.

DAMON (on-camera): He hasn't spoken to his parents in almost four weeks. And they're in Idlib, they're in the camps. He's worried about them and now

he has no way of getting in touch with them.

DAMON (voice-over): This family from Afghanistan says the same thing happened to them. But even worse, they were separated from their men.

DAMON (on-camera): Her father -- your brother -- her husband are over there. And you're stuck here.

DAMON (voice-over): They are scared, vulnerable, alone, burning discarded clothing, not knowing where to go or how to find those they love. What are

they supposed to do when their misery and desperation has become little more than a political weapon?

Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Turkey-Greece border.


MACFARLANE: Important reporting from our Arwa Damon there.

Well, turning to Afghanistan, Taliban members are said to be divided over whether to stick to an agreement with the U.S. to reduce violence in the

country. The two parties signed a landmark deal, Saturday in Qatar that could potentially lead to the end of America's longest running war.

But there are now contradictions over a planned prisoner release. The Taliban say 5,000 Taliban prisoners must be released before negotiations

with the Afghan government can take place next week. The Afghan President has rejected that saying his government didn't agree to that. Also doing so

would, of course, take time.

Here's how U.S. President, Donald Trump, responded Monday.


TRUMP: We are going to be leaving and we're going to be bringing our soldiers back home. We've been there for almost 20 years. It's a long time.

We've done a great job in terms of getting rid of terrorists. Now, it's up to other countries to get rid of those terrorists.


MACFARLANE: Well, earlier, I spoke to Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who also told me Pakistan would prefer to facilitate its

own relations directly with Afghanistan.


MAKHDOOM SHAH MAHMOOD QURESHI, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: I do not view that President Ashraf Ghani understands the importance of the release of

prisoners. He understands how important a confidence building measure that it is. The fact that he sent a six-member delegation to Doha is, you know,

a case in point that how important this is.

He hasn't rejected release of prisoners. What he has said is that we have to talk about it. Obviously, there's going to be talk about it, what is the

intra of negotiation all about? It is about talking on such critical issues the way forward. What is going to be the way forward, but I am sure that

all parties understand the commitments they have made, and it's not the first time prisoners have been exchanged in the past as well.

MACFARLANE: You warned on Sunday that spoilers could try to sabotage the peace process as it stands. What do you mean by that exactly?

QURESHI: Well, there are some who were living off the war economy. There were some who wanted to use Afghan soil against Pakistan. They were

certainly not happy with this team, and they would create hiccups, they would create obstacles.

We overcame them in the past, and hopefully, in the larger interest of Afghanistan (ph), the leadership of Afghanistan would realize what is in

their long-term interest.

The people of Afghanistan want peace. The question is, will the leadership rise up to the occasion and live up to the expectations of the people?

MACFARLANE: One of these groups who might not be happy who you mentioned are, of course, Al Qaeda. How concerned are you that Al Qaeda or indeed

ISIS could scuff efforts towards this piece deal, especially in light of the fact that the Taliban have yet to publicly renounce Al Qaeda?


QURESHI: Well, I think it's in the agreement they have, categorically said, they will not allow any organization, Al Qaeda or any other terrorist

organization to operate in Afghanistan. They would not allow them to recruit, raise funds or train people. So they are committed to that. And

obviously, they also understand, ISIS understands that this new arrangement would not make life easy for them.

There is a consensus that their footprint should not grow, and obviously, they'll be uncomfortable with that. But there are many who are comfortable

with the new arrangement, there are many who feel that it is in Afghanistan's long-term interest, it is in regional long-term interest, and

it is essential for global peace and stability.


MACFARLANE: That was Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, speaking to me earlier there about the latest Taliban peace deal.

All right. Finally tonight, business legend and leadership guru, Jack Welch, has died at the age of 84. Neutron Jack, as he was known, spent 20

years at the top of American corporate giant, G.E., while he was named manager of the century in 1999 stream light General Electric by selling

almost 100 businesses he thought were not performing well.

When he left G.E. in 2001, the company's value had rocketed up 2,700 percent.

Well, thank you very much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. Our special coverage of the elections in Israel starts after this short break.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very good evening from Jerusalem, I'm Becky Anderson, and history being made in Israel tonight. It's the

third vote this country is held in less than a year. But make no mistake, this is also a night of first as an indicted prime minister running for

reelection. It's Benjamin Netanyahu's third election battle in 11 months. The result could bring an end to the longest political stalemate in

Israel's history.

Well, voters in Israel undeterred. They've been doing their part to try and break the deadlock. At last count, turnout was at a 20-year high, according

to the Israeli Central Elections Commission.