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Hala Gorani Tonight

Poland Grants Humanitarian Visa To Belarusian Sprinter; Families Reunite In England As Restrictions Ease; Wildfires Rage In Turkey, Turkish Villagers Fighting To Stop Advancing Flames; Flooding Could Make Lagos Unlivable By End Of Century; France's New Vaccine Requirement Sparks More Protests. Aired 2-3p EST

Aired August 02, 2021 - 14:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATOINAL HOST: Hello, live from CNN in London, I'm Maxwell sitting in for Hala Gorani. Tonight, a Belarusian Olympian is

seeking asylum, refusing to board a flight back home. Why she's afraid of the Lukashenko regime? Then joy for families separated by the pandemic,

restrictions finally eased for some travelers entering England today. And later, desperation in Turkey. CNN is on the ground as villagers try to save

what little they own from wild fires.

We begin this hour though at the Olympics and the story of international intrigue far from Tokyo's sports arenas. A Belarusian sprinter who spoke

out against her country's Olympic team is now safe at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo. Kristina Timanovskaya was told by Belarusian Olympic officials to

pack her bags, that after she publicly slammed their decision to enter her in a relay event she had never competed in before. Instead of boarding her

flight, Timanovskaya asked police at Tokyo's Haneda Airport for help. And she appealed to the IOC on social media.


KRISTINA TIMANOVSKAYA, OLYMPIC SPRINTER FOR BELARUS (through translator): I asked the International Olympic Committee for help. I was put under

pressure and they are trying to forcibly take me out of the country without my consent. I asked the International Olympic Committee to intervene.


FOSTER: Selina Wang is live in Tokyo for us, and so is Nick Paton Walsh here in London, he's covered Belarus extensively in recent months. Selina

though, starting with you. Poland effectively protecting or giving protection to this athlete with the support of the EU.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, exactly. We have now learned that she has received a humanitarian visa from Poland, and she is set to leave

for Warsaw in the coming days. The deputy foreign ministry said that Poland is ready to do whatever they can to ensure she can continue her sporting


And Max, she was set to compete in the 200-meter heats on Monday. But on Sunday, Belarus national team representatives went to the Olympic Village

ordered her to pack up her belongings and go back to Belarus. As soon as she got to the airport, she approached a Japanese police officer, said she

wanted to seek political asylum.

She was refusing to leave. Now the Belarus National Olympic Committee says that she withdrew for, quote, "emotional and psychological issues." This is

something she has strongly disputed. She says it is because she has spoken out against the Olympic authorities.

She had complained on Instagram that she was entered in the 4 x 400-meter relay, something she was not prepared for, that was done without her

consent, where she said was done behind her back. And this is what she told the Belarusian sports news website. She said, quote, "I am afraid that I

might be jailed in Belarus. I am not afraid of being fired or kicked out of the national team. I'm concerned about my safety. And I think that at the

moment it is not safe for me in Belarus.

I didn't do anything, but they deprived me of the right to participate in the 200-meter race and wanted to send me home." Now, Max, I was at the

airport on Sunday night, waiting outside the police station box where she was being held, and there were a few Belarusian expats who were living in

Tokyo, they drove all the way to the airport at night because they were worried about her, wanted to see what they could do to help. They're

concerned about her safety, about her family's safety. We have since learned that her husband has left and is currently in Ukraine.

But this comes against a dark political backdrop, of course. Athletes in Belarus who have criticized the regime since the mass protests last year,

they have been detained, they have faced reprisal. Some of them were even jailed who participated in these protests.

Some of them were excluded from the national teams. And important to note as well, Max, that Alexander Lukashenko himself was in charge of the

National Olympic Committee in Belarus for decades before his son, Viktor, took over. Now, the IOC does not recognize his son, Viktor, and both

Lukashenko and his son are banned from the Tokyo games.

FOSTER: So, Nic, is she right to be worried about her safety from what you've learned from the country in recent months?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Absolutely, no doubt about that at all. Even though the comment she made, essentially

complaining she was being asked to run in a race she had never run in before without her consent, that will be considered most likely a slight by

the senior elements of Belarus' bureaucracy of which President Alexander Lukashenko is the chief.

From when she says in an interview that she felt the pressure had come from above, that's essentially suggesting a presidential decision here. You'd

think really we were talking about North Korea, Max, here, people being forced back on planes home.

And this is a country that borders several European Union states, that at times has tried to get closer to the European Union. But because of the

extraordinarily brutal crackdown since August when Lukashenko claimed fortunately that he had won the presidential election has been thrust into

the arms of his eastern neighbor, Russia, who are fully supporting a lot of this suppression.


The scenes on the streets there against ordinary peaceful, young protesters are extraordinary, riot police violence quite startling often to see it.

And I think the reason we don't see more publicity around Europe about this is because a lot of this violence doesn't end fortunately, in the deaths of

these protesters.

Only a handful have lost their lives so far. But their arrests are pervasive, persistent, independent journalists accused of extremism on the

lower end and on the higher end, male rape allegations by police and some activists they say actually dying in jail.

So, there's a persistent drum-beat of violence and aggression there. And I think it sadly left tens of thousands of the younger, brighter I.T.-savvy

Belarusians to leave the country and those left behind to have to deal with this slow isolation from the rest of the world since President Lukashenko

forced down a Ryanair jet with an opposition blogger on it that he wanted to arrest.

Remember that. We've seen sanctions, air flights cut off. We've seen that country increasingly forced into the arms of its eastern neighbor, and

frankly, probably too, a Kremlin that sees President Lukashenko as an ally of which they could have significantly larger problems than they do.

They don't want Belarus to move in a westward direction towards Europe, but they're probably seeing things like the Ryanair flight downing, and this

extraordinary clumsy way of sending an athlete home for an Instagram post and possibly wondering when does this actually end. Lukashenko though so

isolated from the outside world, most likely surrounded by a culture array of people who simply say yes, it's unclear when necessarily he knows when

to press the brake, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nick in London, Selina in Tokyo, thank you both very much indeed for bringing us up to date on that developing story. Now, after more

than a year of COVID restrictions, travelers from the U.S. and EU are finally reuniting with loved ones here in England. At London's Heathrow

Airport, there were hugs and tears when family and friends greeted each other for the first time in months.

They were unable to do so for much of the pandemic due to Britain's quarantine rules. But that has all changed now as England eases those

measures for fully-vaccinated passengers from the U.S. and parts of Europe. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us live with details. Whatever the rights and

wrongs of this decision, it's heartwarming to see those families reunited.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Max. And as a fellow American, I look at those pictures and get excited about the possibility of my family

coming and visiting me. This is a significant easing of the rules, as you know. For months now, it's required multiple tests, a long quarantine, it's

been rather complicated to get here.

But starting today, if you are coming from the U.K. -- sorry, if you're coming from the EU or the United States, rather, and you can show that you

are fully vaccinated -- that means a green pass if you're coming from the EU or your visa card if you're coming from the U.S., you will be allowed to

come to the U.K. without having to quarantine.

There is of course a few caveats here as there always is. Passengers will still have to show a negative PCR test before departure, and they will also

have to take yet another COVID-19 test two days after their arrival here in the U.K. There's one big exception to this, that's France. France remains

on a quarantine list, and those passengers will still have to follow those isolation procedures.

But this is something, as you said, that the airliners, the tourist industry, regular families like myself have been asking for it. It means

that we're going to start to see reunifications and we're going to start to see very needed tourists to come back to London and other parts of the

country. Max.

FOSTER: Yes, huge amount of pressure from the tourism industry and they're very happy with the situation. Talking about the general reaction across

Europe to the pandemic and the latest thinking on vaccination boosters, third vaccinations. That's starting a rollout, isn't it, here in Europe?

ABDELAZIZ: Absolutely, and it's a bit hard to get our mind around this when some of us are still waiting to get our second shots or get fully

vaccinated. But the authorities have been working on this for months. And that is supposed to start rolling out from September, the most vulnerable

people, millions of them, will be eligible for a booster vaccine.

And what this is supposed to do, Max, is create a layer of protection, yet another layer of protection, if you will, as the country heads into the

Winter months. There is a high degree of concern around a potential spike in that period of time and also concern about variants.

So, this is really going to keep the most vulnerable out of hospital with these booster vaccines. And it follows on some science. First of all, we're

seeing multiple studies now that show that vaccine efficacy wanes over time, so kind of needs to be brought back up with another shot. The second

is a recent paper that's been published by a scientific advisory body here in the U.K., SAGE. And that paper essentially went through a few scenarios

in which the virus mutates to a point where it's able to evade our current vaccines.


And what the scientists say in this paper is that, very likely will happen, and that it is unlikely that the virus will be eradicated. Bottom line,

this is a virus that will remain in the population. It will remain in the population for some time, and it is a virus that will continue changing

potentially until it can evade our current vaccines.

But the good news is some of those recommendations are already taking place, key among them of course is that booster vaccine, the other one is

to get the unvaccinated populations, because those really become breeding grounds for variants, Max.

So, unvaccinated populations within a highly vaccinated country, you need to keep getting shots in arms there, otherwise, that's of high concern to

scientists. The bottom line here, future variants, that's the fear, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Salma, in the U.K., thanks. Let's discuss just how effective and necessary these booster shots are then, especially as that Delta

variant spreads worldwide, Salma was referring to that. We're going to speak to CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. It does seem

there's an increasing body of evidence to suggest that another injection does help, in particular groups especially.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Max. And actually if you listen carefully to what, say, Dr. Fauci has been saying

from the beginning and others, they always knew that there likely would need to be a booster. It was really just a matter of when?

And so, data now has come out from Pfizer that looks at some of the particulars here that we haven't seen before. So, let's take a look at what

Pfizer has found about waning efficacy, and this is from people who they have followed now for many months. So what they found was that about a week

to two months after you're finished with your second shot, after you're fully vaccinated, those two shots are 90 percent of -- 96 percent rather

effective. That's amazing.

I mean, that's the number that's just been the miracle of this mess of a pandemic. What -- but when they look forward to six months later, it was

83.7 percent effective. The two shots were 83.7 percent effective. Now, keep that number up there for a minute because that's an incredible number.

I mean, there are pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars to get vaccines that are that effective or even less. That is very

effective. But still, it is not quite as effective. And so, they've tried giving people third shots, and here's what they found. When they give

people third shots and then they measure antibodies to see what happened to the antibodies after the third shot, this is what they found.

For folks who were ages 18-55, a third shot increased antibodies more than five times. So, that's great, even better, ages 65-85, a third shot,

exactly the same as the first two, it's just the third shot, increased antibodies more than 11 times.

Now, the reason for that most likely according to the experts I've talked to, is that for the older folks, their vaccine was less effective to begin

with, so it was easier to increase it by even more, if that makes sense. In other words, they started out at a lower number. But the bottom line is

that, that third shot really does seem to do some good.

But sort of as Salma alluded to, both -- where she is in the U.K. and where I am in the U.S., it's going to be tricky. There are people here who

haven't even gotten first or second shots in the U.S., is because they don't want it. There's plenty of vaccines, people just -- a third, of

people just aren't taking it.

So, it's -- they're going to -- the government is going to be doing something interesting, trying to convince about a third of the country,

hey, you really need to get vaccinated and then try to convince the other two-thirds, hey, you really need a third shot.

That's a little bit of a tricky communications game. They're trying to communicate the first two shots are great and really work, but later you

will need a third shot. That's a bit of a public communications -- public health communication's puzzle, hopefully they will do it effectively.

FOSTER: Fingers crossed. The other big difference between the U.K. and the U.S. is we've got another month really, more than a month of school Summer

holidays, but the U.S. is going back to school very soon. And that's going to be an interesting test.

COHEN: That's right. Here where I am in Atlanta, many schools started last week. I know this is a very strange concept for Europeans, that doesn't

happen there. But many schools in the U.S. do start in the month of August. And so the question has become how safe is it?

There's one school here in Atlanta that reopened last week that has already had several cases of COVID among both staff and students. It was really

about the unvaccinated. It was unvaccinated people who were getting infected. And so, I think what the issue is here is that the CDC and others

are going to have to really hit home that children need to be vaccinated.

Right now children 12 and up can be vaccinated. And already you're seeing public health leaders trying to get across to parents, look, this virus can

be very serious for children. Let's take a listen to Dr. Francis Collins, he's director of the National Institutes of Health.


FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: While it is very true that Delta seems capable of not just giving severe illness to older

people, but also to adolescents and even children, another reason I think why we really have to push forward as much as we can with getting

vaccination rates up. We need to push that. If you're really worried about the kids, well, let's get the people who can be vaccinated at a higher



We've got a long way to go in some of those communities to get to the point where people are protected.


COHEN: Now, the public health challenge here is kind of similar to what we were talking about just a second ago. The challenge here is that people

think that COVID doesn't really affect children much. The truth is it does. Perfectly healthy children get COVID and die or get COVID and have

complications or get COVID and it can have a long-term side effects.

That can happen to children. So, why wouldn't you want to give your child a safe vaccine so that, that won't happen to them? So that's going to be a

tough communications message because in the past year and a half, the message has been, oh, children aren't really that affected. And that wasn't

quite an accurate message. Now they need to change that tune.

FOSTER: Well, we're learning all the time, aren't we about the messaging as much as everything else with this pandemic.

COHEN: Yes --

FOSTER: Elizabeth, thank you very much indeed --

COHEN: Right.

FOSTER: Still to come on the program, the Taliban, they've just taken over a major communications center in southern Afghanistan as they threaten to

seize capitals of key provinces. Ahead, live report from the Pentagon. And Iran is denying responsibility for a deadly attack on this tanker, but

Britain says it should pay the consequences. We're live in Tehran ahead.


FOSTER: To Afghanistan. A source tells CNN that militants have just taken over Helmand radio and TV in the capital of Helmand Province after heavy

fighting with Afghan forces there this weekend. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had this sober warning.


ASHRAF GHANI, PRESIDENT, AFGHANISTAN (through translator): The Taliban are no longer the Taliban they were 24 years ago. The Taliban have attacked us

more violently and are more blood thirsty.


FOSTER: A CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins me now. What have you managed to find out about what's happening in Helmand, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, in Lashkar Gah, that provincial capital, a good deal of concern about the Taliban advances, as

well as Taliban advances in nearby Kandahar and Herat out in the west along the Iranian border. These are three iconic provincial capitals. The Taliban

are making advances on them, and if any of them were to fall, there is a sense in the U.S. military there, they could really shake the confidence of

the Afghan people in their government.


These provincial capitals are something that people identify with. They're major population centers. The Afghan forces were supposed to be able to

protect them. And now, what we have is upwards of perhaps five U.S. airstrikes a day, some drones, some manned aircraft striking against

Taliban positions in these areas to try and push the Taliban back.

The bottom line is the Afghan forces aren't able to do it on their own, even with U.S. ground troops gone or almost gone by the end of the month.

There is still very much a need for that U.S. air power.

But whether it can really be effective in turning around the Taliban advances, something that very much remains to be seen, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, in terms of the U.S. airstrikes, what's the strategy there? Is it playing out as your sources are hoping?

STARR: Yes, hoping might be the best, most accurate word. They're striking both Taliban personnel and equipment. When the Taliban moved in, what

they're doing is grabbing, of course, Afghan military equipment as units either flee or surrender to the Taliban. So, there's a good deal of

military equipment and vehicles that the Taliban are able to take advantage of. That improves their own positions.

It makes them more mobile, more able to move around, more able to move their own people around. So, the U.S. strategy is to try and strike against

those kinds of targets. But whether it will be enough, whether it can really change, you know, what is happening on the ground is a difficult


U.S. officials say they do believe there is still time and the Afghan forces have the capacity to regain control. But the Taliban still very much

on the march.

FOSTER: Absolutely, Barbara at the Pentagon, thank you very much. We're going to --

STARR: Sure --

FOSTER: Head to Iran now because Iran denying responsibility for a deadly tanker attack off Oman and says it will respond to any threats against its

security. Israel, Britain, the United States all blame Tehran for the attack that killed two crew members, one British, one Romanian.

This map shows the ship's location on Friday, the day after the attack. The U.S. Navy was escorting it to a safe port over the weekend. The tanker is

managed by an Israeli company and Israel's defense minister is vowing to settle the score. Britain also says Iran must pay.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I think that Iran should face up to the consequences of what they've done and accept that the

attribution that the foreign secretary has made, this was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping, a U.K. national

died. It is absolutely vital that Iran and every other country respect the freedoms of navigation around the world. The U.K. will continue to insist

on that.


FOSTER: U.K. prime minister there. Fred Pleitgen live in Tehran for us tonight. How is Iran responding to these very strong words?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Max, well, quite angrily, and as you've noted already, they are still denying

that they had anything to do with this. Essentially, the spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry called the claims baseless that were being made not

just by the United Kingdom, but of course, by the U.S. and especially by the Israelis as well.

If you read some of the press releases that have been put out by the Iranian foreign ministry, they obviously never named Israel by name, but

they are saying that they believe that Israel is not telling the truth in all of this. That's certainly what the Iranians are saying.

So, the Iranians certainly not giving an inch. One of the interesting things though that we're hearing from the messaging that's coming out of

Iran's foreign ministry, they're essentially warning about any sort of retaliation. While they're not acknowledging that they were behind these

attacks, one of the things that the spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry said is that, people who sow the wind will in return harvest a whirlwind.

So essentially, what the Iranians are saying if the Israelis were to retaliate to all of this, they would face more retaliation, harsher

retaliation on the part of the Iranians.

And of course, one of the things that we've seen over the past couple of years, past couple of months also especially since the beginning of that

maximum pressure campaign under the Trump administration in the United States, is that there have been more incidents in shipping in this area in

the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf as well, but of course, also involving vessels that were owned by Israelis or affiliated in some way,

shape or form by -- with Israel or with Israeli citizens and also Iranian vessels as well. And the Iranians regularly blame the Israelis if something

happens to their ship, the Israelis regularly blame the Iranians.

What you have now for the first time though, is you have loss of life. And that certainly is something that very much ups the ante, and you can really

see that with some of the rhetoric that you're hearing from nations like the U.K. and of course the U.S. as well, but then also coming out of Tehran

too, Max.


FOSTER: Can you envision more friction in the region than we've had recently because of a, you know, a harder line president effectively coming

in next?

PLEITGEN: Yes, well, and this is really the week where that inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi is going to take place. Then you are going to have a much

more, tougher more hardline administration here in Tehran. And they've already made quite clear that they do intend to have a hardline, not just

as far as domestic policy is concerned, but also as far as foreign policy is concerned as well.

The two words that you keep hearing out of the incoming folks of the administration is active and dynamic. That's how Iran intends to conduct

itself here in this region and they say globally as well. And one of the interesting things that we sort of picked up over the past couple of days

is Iran's supreme leader also saying, look, administrations in Iran in the past, obviously sort of bailed, referring to the Rouhani administration,

which is outgoing.

He says all of them that negotiated with the west, they've always failed at achieving their aim. So, he's obviously warning about that. And obviously,

the Raisi administration, the one that's coming in, does not intend any sort of negotiations, direct negotiations with the United States. You can

feel that harder line already take hold in politics here in Iran.

And one of the things that you do have here right now, which is very significant and most probably going to be significant for this entire

region over the past couple of years, is you have pretty much 100 percent convergence between Iran's military, the supreme leader of course is the

overall final authority on everything, and the presidency and government as well with the incoming Raisi administration. And they certainly have said

that they are going to have a very forceful and dynamic foreign policy, which obviously has a military element to it as well, Max.

FOSTER: We'll be watching. Fred, thanks for that from Tehran. Still to come tonight, record-setting heat is fueling dangerous wildfires across Turkey.

It's the latest example of extreme weather turned deadly. Plus, an Australian TV channel is suspended from YouTube. What "Sky News Australia"

is accused of doing in its COVID coverage.




FOSTER: Welcome back. Turkish officials say more than a hundred fires have started across the country since Wednesday. Farmers can only watch

helplessly as their land and livestock are destroyed. Others have seen homes they built burnt to the ground as CNN's Arwa Damon reports.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gulai Kachar can barely breathe, barely shout the words. Her father's land is burning. "Let it burn, we're going to

burn, too," her relative responds. She's frantic. Where to go? What to do? What can they save?

For days the flames have been leaping closer and closer to this tiny village on Turkey's Southern Mediterranean coast. It's as if they're

fighting a monster that keeps coming to life each time they dare to hope it's dead. "Everything is going to burn," Hezeyan Kachar tells us

mournfully. "Our land, our animals, our house. What else do we have anyway?"

Despite this being close to popular seaside tourist destinations, these villagers don't have much and what they have, they cherish. They take pride

in. A small band of men from here and other areas trudges through the easily flammable fields. They take control of the firefighters' hopes.

It's so hot out it feels like the water evaporates almost as quickly as it is sprayed. Trees are felled to 1stop the things from growing and sparks

flying into other areas. They are fighting a beast they may not be able to Beat. The last of the children are sent away.

"How should I feel? We haven't slept for three days," this woman starts to tell us.


DAMON: They're so understandably upset. I mean so angry that they're actually finding our questions of how they're feeling, what they're

thinking to be absolutely ridiculous and I get it.


DAMON: For what can one even think, even say when they are watching everything they own in life about to go up in flames? Arwa Damon CNN,

Manavgat, Turkey.


FOSTER: A dire warning, about one of Africa's most populous cities, experts say by the end of the century, Lagos, Nigeria may become uninhabitable due

to climate change. Sea levels are rising and parts of the coastal city are now experiencing some of the worst flooding in recent years. Lagos is

currently home to more than 24 million people. CNN's soon as Larry Madowo us live from Nairobi, Kenya. Just describe what's happening there, Larry.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's happening, Max, is that because of rising sea levels as a result of climate change, Lagos is essentially

disappearing into the water. According to scientific experts, Lagos is about two meters or six feet above sea level.

So, that's especially vulnerable for a city. This is a global phenomenon. But it's especially serious in Lagos because of prolonged human activity.

So Lagos already suffers from a problem of inadequate and poorly maintained drainage systems. And also, unplanned urban growth, you mentioned, is a

city of 24 million, it's exploded.

But Lagos is a massive city also. It's something like it's actually the largest Metropolis in Africa, and it just keeps growing. And that's all

contributing to this catastrophic problem that they're experiencing and Nigeria's hydrological agencies saying they will have even worse floods in

September which was the peak of the rainy season.

FOSTER: Is this a crunch point for people in Lagos? Is that sort of thing that they're talking about now? Or are they sort of getting used to the

idea that things are going to get more difficult?

MADOWO: The reactions I've seen, Max, is in typical Nigerian fashion with good humor, you will see tweets people saying, "Oh, just swim to work

because sometimes that's how it's been. Houses submerged, roads nonexistence." They are making do with this situation they find themselves

in. I've spent a lot of time reporting in Lagos, and there is nobody who lives in the city who will dispute that even in the best of times, it's a

challenging city to live 1in. It's overcrowded, it's difficult to navigate.

But then now add to that this warning that by 2100, it might be completely uninhabitable. These floods, Max, already leads to about four billion

dollars in losses annually. And now it just seems like there's something that needs to be done and President Muhammadu Buhari has said he's open to

working with international partners to tackle climate change, including the Biden administration, but they will have to handle, for instance, some of

the things that are easy to deal with like sand harvesting, that is leading to this erosion of the coastline that's disappearing, which is not

happening in other coastal cities in Africa quite as fast as it is happening here.


FOSTER: OK. Larry in Nairobi, thank you very much indeed for that. Back to the pandemic now. The French government is moving forward with new COVID-19 restrictions set to begin a week from today. But it's sparking an

angry backlash in Paris and beyond.

This took to the streets over the weekend in protest. Starting next Monday, anyone entering a restaurant, a cafe, and a range of other public places

will be required to show the COVID-19 Health Pass. Some are adamantly opposed, calling it an infringement on their civil liberties.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I won't go to restaurants. I don't give a damn. I won't sell my soul to go to the cinema or for other

nonsense. That's it. There is more at stake, freedom, there is nothing above freedom. We have started losing all of our liberties. So it must

stop. That's enough. We must put an end to their nonsense.


FOSTER: Well, there's no room for that kind of dissent in China. Beijing is tightening its restrictions now that a new cluster of cases have started to

threaten the zero COVID strategy. CNN's Steven Jiang reports.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: China's latest number of new locally transmitted cases still pales in comparison to what we are seeing in many

parts of the world, including in the United States, but in this country, they hadn't seen this level of infection for months. That's why the central

leadership has sent a vice premier to Nanjing to supervise the local response to this outbreak. And that's the same senior official they

dispatched to Wuhan during the peak of that city's outbreak in the beginning of the global pandemic.

That's how seriously concerned the leadership feels about the spread of this new cluster, which really shows no sign of abating spreading across

the country, impacting not only airport staff, but also airline crews, schoolchildren, tourists, as well as doctors and nurses.

That's why increasingly, we are seeing local authorities re-impose draconian measures we hadn't seen for a long time. And that means millions

of Chinese people are now, again, being confined to their homes, with the government designating more than hundred so-called high or medium risk

areas. And all of this is happening in the middle of the peak summer travel season, and that hasn't helped things.

So, we are seeing a growing number of tourist attractions, as well as airports being shut with local officials, including those here in Beijing

advising residents not to leave town. And here in the Chinese capital, they have also greatly tightened entry requirements basically banning anyone

from the high or medium risk areas from entering the city by suspending transportation links to those regions.

And as of now, there is little indication the central leadership here is going to change their current approach which is zero tolerance towards

locally transmitted cases. So do expect to see more lockdowns and a sharp decline in domestic travel here in China. Steven Jiang, CNN, Beijing.

FOSTER: Now, YouTube has temporarily suspended Sky News Australia from its platform over misinformation tied to the COVID pandemic. YouTube didn't

specify which videos violated its policies, but said, "We don't allow content that denies the existence of COVID-19 or that encourages people to

use these two treatments to treat or prevent the virus." CNN's Brian Stelter joins me live with details.

Ultimately owned by Rupert Murdoch. So that's part of this debate here, but also a big debate about what this means for freedom of speech within


BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And this is a continuation of YouTube trying to provide a home for accurate information about COVID,

trying to stamp out disinformation, but where -- that gray area that in between, that no man's land, that area where something may be misleading,

but not wrong, where the science might evolve over time. That is where YouTube ends up in very sticky situations. And this seems like one of


Sky News Australia is known for conservative commentators, some who are very skeptical of COVID, who are very opposed to lockdown measures, who are

on the air expressing opinions, some of those opinions might creep up to the edge of YouTube's rules about COVID misinformation, and ultimately,

YouTube owned by Google, one of the biggest companies in the world, is making these decisions, and on doing so on a daily basis in ways that are

absolutely worthy of scrutiny Because of how big YouTube is.

Sky News is accusing YouTube of political censorship, saying in a statement, "It is hard not to look at some of these tech giant censorship

decisions as being based on one factor." They say, "It's simple. It's the political persuasion of the person making the comments."

In other words, Sky News owned by Murdoch, saying YouTube is targeting conservatives trying to stamp out conservative speech. It's, I think, a

little more complicated than that. YouTube is putting in place these policies trying to keep up with disinformation. And then, you know, being

challenged to enforce the policies every single day.


You could argue it's a no-win situation for YouTube. If they leave up offending videos then they're going to get flack from one side. When they

suspend an account, they're going to get flack from the other side. This is life as an editorial company. These tech companies sometimes want to

pretend they're not editors, but they are. They're becoming more and more like newsrooms every day by having to make these kinds of choices.

FOSTER: Yes. OK. Brian, thank you. Now one of the most stunning upsets of the Olympics so far came from a Tunisian swimmer, Ahmed Hafnaoui, won gold

in the Men's 400 Meter Freestyle. For a country rocked by political turmoil, his victory was welcome news to say the least. Michael Holmes



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A hero's welcome for a Tunisian swimmer who brought home Olympic gold in a shocking win that surprised his

competitors, the sporting world and even himself. Eighteen-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui was the longest of long shots, the slowest qualifier for the Men's

400 Meter Freestyle, but he out-slammed the favorites to get the gold. And even more stunning is he did it from the outside lane.

"I felt shivers when I heard the national anthem," Hafnaoui says. Adding "I'm very honored." Tunisia's newest media star is a welcome distraction

for the country, suffering from a stagnant economy made worse by a surge of Coronavirus that's overwhelming hospitals and an escalating political

crisis. The nation's president recently dismissed the prime minister and suspended Parliament for 30 days.

But despite the chaos and uncertainty in government, many Tunisians celebrating Hafnaoui's win as a bright spot during a difficult period. Even

one of swimming's greats, Michael Phelps, called the performance an unbelievable swim. Neighbors poured out in the street to greet the newly

minted champion. As one man says seeing him touch that wall first was a win for everyone.

"When I was watching, I cannot tell you how we felt at this final moment," he says. This is the feeling of every Tunisian. An underdog going from

(INAUDIBLE) to the top of the podium, giving much needed hope to the country he returns to. Michael Holmes, CNN.


FOSTER: Thank you for watching tonight. Much more from the Olympics next. World Sport coming up after this short break.