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Hala Gorani Tonight
At Least 3 Dead In Tonga After Unprecedented Volcanic Eruption; White House Warns Russia Could Attack Ukraine "At Any Moment"; Brazil Vaccinates Children Despite Pushback From Bolsonaro; Airlines Suspending Some U.S. Services Over 5G Fears; Brazil Vaccinates Children Despite Pushback From Bolsonaro; Hong Kong To Cull 2,000 Small Animals Over COVID-19 Fears; War In Yemen; Lawyer Targeted British Lawmakers On China`s Behalf. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 18, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I am HALA GORANI TONIGHT. An island covered in ash as the death-
count from the unprecedented disaster in Tonga continues to grow. I`ll bring you the latest on the rescue mission from the Red Cross. Then the
White House is warning Russia could attack Ukraine, quote, "at any moment". We`re live in Moscow and Kiev.
And a closer look at Brazil`s efforts to vaccinate children despite push- back from the country`s president. We start with Tonga. We`re starting to get a glimpse of the damage done there days after that massive volcano
eruption and tsunami. At least, three people are now confirmed dead and the government has declared a state of emergency. The island nation is still
largely cut off from the rest of the world, but some surveillance flights from Australia and New Zealand are showing us what they can, and the images
are stark. Take a look.
GORANI (voice-over): These are just some of the images giving a first look at the damage after an underwater volcano erupted Saturday, triggering
tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific with waves crashing into land as far away as Peru and the United States. Assistance from New Zealand and
Australia is already on the way. Defense forces en route from Sydney. And from Auckland to provide humanitarian aid and supplies, but their task is
not an easy one.
FATAFEHI FAKAFANUA, SPEAKER OF THE TONGAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY: The ash is proving quite problematic, not just for water and sanitation because Tonga
collects its water from the roofs of households, but in terms of access for the aid from Australia and New Zealand and other flights.
GORANI: The scale of the devastation is still unknown, but surveillance planes photographed shorelines blanketed in ash with vegetation decimated.
Scientists say Saturday`s eruption could be the biggest on the planet in more than 30 years. Just hours before the volcano belted out an ominous
warning of what was to come, shooting ash and smoke up to 20 kilometers in the air. Now, the country is still largely cut off from the outside world.
The government says some domestic phone networks are working again, but the internet is down, and international communication is limited because of
damage to a key under-sea cable which could take weeks to repair. For those waiting to hear from loved ones, it is agonizing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The worst fear is always that you`re not going to see the people that you love again. Yes, that`s the worst fear. The worst fear
is the suffering of other people. That`s hard to cope with.
GORANI: Well, there you have it. Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Melbourne, Australia, and one of the officials in Tonga there was saying
there are access issues. These aid flights coming from Australia and New Zealand, because of the damage they`re going to have a lot of trouble
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, Hala. And this is something that the prime minister in his statement mentioned as
well, the fact that some of the runways are damaged, that there is ash on the runways and they understood that the military had to get involved, and
they were getting involved to clear them as soon as possible.
Because this is really the quickest and the most efficient way to get humanitarian aid on to the ground, to get clean drinking water on to the
ground, which is the main priority we understand from aid groups at this point. Now, you mentioned there that the ships that are coming from both
Australia and New Zealand, but they will take a few days to get to where they need to. So clearly, clearing those runways is the most important
thing at this point.
So, the aid groups say clean drinking water is very important. Shelter will be very important, especially along the coast lines where the tsunami hit
the hardest. We heard from -- or we saw in that prime minister`s statement that he said that some of the waves were up to 15 meters high, so the
damage would have been significant. Hala?
GORANI: Paula Hancocks, thanks very much for that update. Let`s talk about the plans for rescue efforts and the aid deliveries. Katie Greenwood is the
Pacific Head of Delegation for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She is in Fiji and joins me live.
Thanks for being with us. Paula was talking about how access to clean drinking water is one of the number one priorities here. Talk to us about
what is so desperately needed in the immediate aftermath of this disaster.
KATIE GREENWOOD, PACIFIC HEAD OF DELEGATION FOR INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS & RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES: That`s right, Hala, that`s the
number one concern at the moment is, access to clean drinking water. That`s because of the ash fall. Most people in Tonga rely on rain water for their
household needs, for their business needs, small agricultural needs, et cetera.
And so, we know that there were some stores of water, because ever since this volcano started to erupt in November, a really great community
campaign was put forward around covering water tanks to make sure that ash wasn`t getting in, disconnecting rain water, gathering from tanks.
So, we think that there`s some small supplies of water there for immediate needs, and that it will definitely on these ships coming in of relief items
are bigger water purification modules that can pump out about 100,000 to 500,000 liters of water a day for whole community use.
GORANI: Are you able to get in touch with people there on the island because of the -- obviously, we`re hearing the internet connection is down
because of that under water cable that was damaged. How are you able to communicate with people there to get the latest from them?
GREENWOOD: Well, it`s been very challenging for us and for everybody involved. We have had some communication with our team on the ground, our
Red Cross team there through relayed messages, through high commissions initially. And yesterday, it was a little bit of a frustrating afternoon.
We had some satellite phone calls with the team, but they were cutting out very quickly after the call. So we were just able to get --
GORANI: Right --
GREENWOOD: Bits and pieces to confirm information that was coming through. The aid community has been brilliant in terms of coordination and sharing
every piece of information so we can all get a better picture of what`s going on.
GORANI: But so, if planes can`t land and boats and ships will take a while to get there, time is of the essence here. I mean, what are -- you said
clean drinking water, obviously, the primary need, but down the line you might have and face other big issues as well.
GREENWOOD: That`s right, and we really want to avoid secondary disasters. So --
GREENWOOD: This quick action, this window of opportunity is really important for us all. The good news is that, there are really well-trained
and experience disaster response personnel, both in the government and also Red Cross and other agencies on the ground. Red Cross has pre-positioned
supplies for 1,200 families initially, and that includes hygiene kits with water purification tablets and everything that they need to make sure that
there`s not a secondary effect from waterborne disease or vector-borne disease and things like that.
So, there is action happening on the ground. There are -- there is a stock of initial relief supplies being distributed to people. This next week as
these new supplies come in country, that`s going to be critical as well.
GORANI: And one last one, obviously, this is the few days after these big tsunami waves, but this is going to be such a long-term project and effort
because people have lost their homes. They need shelter. This is -- how -- you know, and obviously, the attention of the world will, as it often does,
move away from today`s disaster on to the next one. How do you -- how do you address that? How do you approach the longer-term needs?
GREENWOOD: Absolutely, and unfortunately, the news that`s coming overnight has confirmed some of those fears that we had for those outer islands and
low-lying atolls, where all the houses on a couple of those islands have been destroyed. A small population centers, but it is still significant
damage. So, we`re talking all homes destroyed on at least two small islands there. So, you`re right. It`s absolutely for the long term.
Red Cross has a special role in terms of shelter provisions for people in emergencies, and we will be working with communities for a long time to
come on those needs. In the immediate sense, it`s helping people with temporary shelters or shoring up their damage to their houses. In the
longer term, it`s going to be a significant piece of work with the government and communities to build back better.
GORANI: Well, we wish you good luck. Katie Greenwood, thanks very much for joining us, live from Fiji. Katie with the Red Cross. We`ll of course keep
an eye and continue following the aftermath of the horrific disaster in Tonga. To the latest out of Ukraine and Russia, just in the last few hours,
we`re hearing a new round of intense shuttle diplomacy meant to head off war in Ukraine as the White House warns Russia could invade at any point.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Friday. Blinken is heading to Ukraine
today and will also visit Germany this week. Lavrov met with his German counterpart in Moscow today. He says Russia needs an answer to its security
demands as soon as possible, even though the west has already rejected the main ones involving Ukraine. They want a guarantee that NATO will not
expand eastward. NATO countries are saying forget that. The White House is calling the situation, meantime, quote, "extremely dangerous".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No option is off the table. In our view, we continue consulting closely with European counterparts on severe
consequences for Russia if it further invades Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, we`re covering developments from Russia and Ukraine tonight as I told you. We`ll get to Matthew Chance in Kiev in a moment. First,
let`s start with Fred Pleitgen in Moscow with the latest reaction from the Russian capital. Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Hala, yes, it certainly was a big day of diplomacy here in Moscow. We had the
German foreign minister here meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Really some really tough words coming from the German
foreign minister. Of course, Germany plays a pretty important role in and all of this because of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, of course, a gigantic
project between Germany and Russia.
And the German foreign minister today said in some pretty tough words, that if Russia did further invade Ukraine, if there was further military action,
that of course, it would also affect the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline project. The German foreign minister also saying that despite Russia`s rhetoric that
it says that it`s not the aggressor in all of this, the Germans do say the moves that they`ve seen by Russia are grave cause for concern. Let`s listen
in to what the German foreign minister said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNALENA BAERBOCK, FOREIGN MINISTER, GERMANY (through translator): Over the past few weeks, more than 100,000 Russian troops, equipment and tanks
have been deployed near Ukraine for no reason. It`s hard not to see that as a threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So, the German foreign minister saying it`s hard not to see that as a threat. Obviously, the Russian foreign minister taking very different
stance in all of that. The Russians saying that it`s their security concerns that are at stake here. You`ve already mentioned some of the
demands that the Russians have had. The Russian foreign minister for his part said that Russia was not the party threatening anyone. Let`s listen in
to what Sergey Lavrov said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA (through translator): We did not threaten anyone, but we hear threats against us. I hope that all this only
reflects the emotions that certain forces evoke within the camp of western countries. We will be guided by concrete steps and deeds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: And one of the other things that Sergey Lavrov has been saying over the past couple of days, he`s really been trying to put pressure on
the United States, saying that Russians are still demanding written responses to some of the security demands that you mentioned before, that
the Russians had put forward.
And the Russians are saying they want those answers as quick as possible. And a quick update also, Hala, from really the area there around Ukraine
where we have now heard from the Russian side actually that they`re conducting sniper drills in their southern military district, which is, of
course, right near Ukraine. And then also, the Russians have started moving troops into Belarus. As Russia says, there`s going to be major military
drills with Belarus that are going to happen in early February.
Of course, the southern border of Belarus is also the northern border of Ukraine. So the Ukrainians increasingly feeling encircled by an
increasingly growing force, Hala.
GORANI: All right, thanks, Fred. Let`s go to Matthew Chance because he is in Ukraine and can give us reaction to the troop movements and to what the
White House is saying is potentially an imminent Russian invasion. What are you hearing there in Kiev?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, obviously, the Ukrainians are expressing their continued concern about the
Russian troop build-up towards the east of the country, across mainly in Russian territory. There`s been an intelligence document that I`ve seen
earlier today assessing that the number of Russian troops has increased as far as the Ukrainians are concerned to some somewhere in the region or in
excess of 127,000 troops.
That`s a new figure that`s come from the Ukrainians within the past hour or so to us here at CNN. And there`s also concern being expressed by Ukrainian
Intelligence that Russia, as Fred was just mentioning, may be opening up a northern front with its deployment for supposed joint military exercises
with the Belarusians. So that`s a big concern because once that front is opened, if it opens up, that would represent, you know, a huge expansion of
the sort of borders from which Russian forces could potentially enter Ukraine in any possible invasion or any possible incursion.
And that stretches to breaking point the ability of the Ukrainian armed forces to provide, you know, adequate defenses against any kind of invasion
like that. At the same time, Ukraine has been receiving lots of guarantees, lots of assurances of support, particularly from the United States over the
past couple of days. There`s been a bipartisan delegation from Congress here, vowing to impose even tougher sanctions on Russia and to give Ukraine
more weapons in order to meet that Russian threat.
Tomorrow here on Wednesday local time, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be visiting and meeting with the Ukrainian leadership to talk
about, you know, the U.S. commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and what they call their strategic partnership in
dealing with Russia and the threat that it poses. NATO has said it will deepen its relationship with Ukraine as well, promising to transfer
technology to help it defend against cyber attacks.
Britain has said it will transfer anti-tank technology and weaponry to Ukraine as well.
GORANI: Yes --
CHANCE: The big question is whether all these expressions of solidarity will deter Russia or whether Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, will
see them as a provocation.
GORANI: All right, Matthew Chance in Kiev and Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, thanks to both of you. Still to come this evening, Boris Johnson says no
one told him a party at 10 Downing Street was against lockdown rules. Will the "I didn`t know" defense stem the calls for him to resign? Plus, much of
Brazil is now vaccinating young children, even though the country`s president says he wouldn`t vaccinate his own daughter. We`ll be right back.
GORANI: Well, this is the scandal that just will not die for Boris Johnson, and his latest response to the growing scandal around lockdown-
defying parties at 10 Downing Street is to say he didn`t know he was breaking the rules, pleading ignorance essentially. Johnson said Tuesday
that no one told him that a gathering held in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May of 2020 was a potential breach of COVID-19 restrictions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Categorically, that nobody told me and nobody said that this was something that was against the rules,
it was a breach of the COVID rules or we were doing something that wasn`t a work event because, frankly, I don`t think -- I can`t imagine why on earth
it would have gone ahead or why it would have been allowed to go ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Remember, obviously, Downing Street was setting the rules. Johnson`s former aide, Dominic Cummings said Monday that he had warned the
Prime Minister about the party. Cummings said he would be willing to testify under oath that Johnson had lied to parliament about it, which is
obviously a very serious accusation. Salma Abdelaziz is tracking this story. I wonder how people are reacting to this because we all knew in May
of 2020 what was allowed and what wasn`t allowed.
I mean, police were breaking up picnics in parks. So, how is that going down, the prime minister`s statement that he didn`t know that such a party
was tantamount to breaking COVID restriction?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Look, Hala, the prime minister now is not just being accused of lying to the country, of lying to parliament. He`s
being accused of lying badly, of essentially taking us all for fools. Because let`s go to this May 20th incident. This is an event that was
organized by a top official in government. He sent out an e-mail to nearly a 100 Downing Street staff members and said, come to the Downing Street
garden and bring your own booze, exclamation point.
Yet, the prime minister somehow says he didn`t know it was a party. It`s become the butt of nearly every single joke in this country. Are you sure
you`re at work or is it a party? Is that a coffee or an Espresso martini? What`s the difference between a spache(ph) and a cocktail? I mean, the
jokes go on and on, and in part, Hala, it`s because this country has first had to deal with the fact that the government broke the rules or is accused
of breaking the rules rather, that this breaking of the rules was not one incident or two or three or even four.
We`re talking about a pattern of behavior here. I mean, Christmas parties, garden parties, bring your own booze parties, the list goes on and on.
Really, the mood has switched I think from heartbreak to anger and anguish to just dark humor to deal with it. I mean, the prime minister now, the
laughing stock of the country, but it`s no laughing matter for him because this could cost him his job. As you said, there`s an investigation underway
into all of these allegations now stretching over two years, multiple lockdowns.
You have someone like his former top aide, Cummings, which you mentioned, willing to go out there, willing to speak to the investigators and say
under oath, the prime minister is lying. There`s a lot that can pile up here against the prime minister, but already you`re starting to see cracks
within the support for his own party.
Conservative lawmakers saying over the weekend, they were fielding hundreds of calls from angry, frustrated voters who had to follow the rules
themselves, who had to make sacrifices, who weren`t able to say goodbye to loved ones, and now they have the knowledge that the very government
setting those rules, making them make those sacrifices wasn`t following the rules.
You now have an image of a government that essentially has a drinking culture, that didn`t take the office with a sense of maturity, that doesn`t
take the job of running the country during a pandemic seriously, Hala. This is absolutely not just damaging, I think it`s -- it`s broken, Hala. It`s
quite frankly, broken.
GORANI: OK, Salma Abdelaziz in London, thanks for that. North Korea says it fired tactical-guided missiles on Monday to test the accuracy of its
weapons. It`s the fourth time Pyongyang has launched missiles in the past month. CNN`s Ivan Watson takes a look at the flurry of activity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So, patriotic declarations on North Korean state television, announcements of fresh
missile launches. North Korea has launched a salvo of six ballistic missiles in less than two weeks. On January 5th, what Pyongyang calls a
hypersonic missile, another hypersonic missile on January 11th, two ballistic missiles fired from a train on January 14th and two tactical-
guided missiles fired early Monday morning.
Weapons tests that appear to be part of a plan laid out by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un more than a year ago.
DUYEON KIM, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: Fundamentally, Kim Jong-un has basically ordered his people to make the type of weapons that he thinks
will make North Korea become a very advanced nuclear power.
WATSON: Weapons experts say some of this month`s launches didn`t break any new ground, but North Korea also fired this new hypersonic missile, which
it first revealed to the public last year, and the South Korean military confirmed it flew at ten times the speed of sound.
MELISSA HANHAM, STANFORD UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY & COOPERATION: What North Korea is calling a hypersonic missile is really a
ballistic missile at the base when it launches, and then on the top it has a maneuverable warhead, which means it can move in a way that is
WATSON: This type of missile poses a new potential threat to the U.S. and its allies in Asia.
HANHAM: They`re able to launch a missile in one direction and essentially turn a corner, which makes it very difficult for radar systems and
interceptors to track it.
WATSON: The latest missile launches, a reminder of the flurry of missile tests North Korea conducted back in 2017. They sparked a war of words
between Pyongyang and then-President Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rocket man should have been handled a long time ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WATSON: Eventually, Trump and Kim staged three historic face-to-face meetings and a lot of letter writing.
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: We`ve had, what? You know, during Trump administration by my count, 27 letters exchanged between Kim Jong-un
and Donald Trump. Kim Jong-un, you know, wants that kind of attention.
WATSON: Former U.S. diplomat Joseph Yun advises the Biden administration to try harder to engage with the North Korean regime.
YUN: Otherwise we`re going to return to the bad old days of 2017, which is really a crisis atmosphere.
WATSON: So far, Pyongyang has rejected multiple U.S. requests for talks. In the meantime, the Biden administration imposed sanctions for the first
time last week in response to North Korean missile launches, targeting North Korean and Russian nationals as well as a Russian company accused of
helping Pyongyang`s weapons program.
North Korea accused Washington of gangster-like logic and launched two missiles the very same day. Clearly, the North Korean government does not
want to be ignored. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: And still to come, Hong Kong`s plans to euthanize thousands of animals after some test positive for COVID-19. And who are the John Does?
The effort to learn the names of people connected to convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein takes a surprising turn. The details coming up.
GORANI: Some breaking news just in. Those of you hoping to travel to the United States in the next few days, listen up.
So this is surrounding the rollout of 5G technology at some American airports. Emirates Airlines has announced, starting Wednesday, tomorrow, it
is suspending service to nine U.S. airports because of what it calls operational concerns about the 5G mobile network use in those airports.
Flights to New York; Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles will continue as scheduled. So if you are flying there, you should be OK.
Now other airlines are also cancelling some flights, including Japan Airlines and ANA. Airlines say that 5G can interfere with key plane safety
equipment and have asked that 5G signals be kept at least three kilometers from major airport runways until the issue can be studied further.
Now earlier today Verizon and AT&T, CNN`s parent company, said they will delay activating the technology on some towers around certain airports. So
certainly, if you are planning a trip to the United States, check with your airline if that trip, if that flight is still going ahead.
We will keep on top of this and connect with our reporter on the ground for more information.
All right. Let`s bring you the latest on COVID. COVID-related hospitalizations in France are now hitting record highs. They`re still
hitting record highs. The country reported Monday its biggest one-day increase since November 2020. And that was, of course, before vaccines were
In the U.K., though, the health secretary says hospitalizations have likely peaked. He says restrictions could soon be relaxed, just as the country
reports its highest number of lives lost to COVID-19 in almost a year.
Brazil`s COVID vaccination drive for younger children is underway. The campaign started last week, with some of the 20 million doses the country
bought for children, aged 5 to 11. Most Brazilian state capitals are taking part, even though the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, claims without
proof that vaccinating children could have side effects.
Our Shasta Darlington is live from Sao Paulo with more.
Are parents excited about this?
Are some resistant?
How is the rollout going?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The rollout is going really well, Hala. Basically, as you mentioned, the health ministry is
finally beginning to distribute these vaccines for children 5 to 11.
According to a recent poll, 79 percent of Brazilians are in favor of COVID- 19 shots for children. If they haven`t been rolled out in cities, they should be rolled out in the next few days.
Nonetheless, Bolsonaro has repeatedly criticized them, claiming the chances of a child dying from COVID were, quote, "almost zero," when, in reality,
more than 300 children in that age group, 5 to 11, have died from COVID since the beginning of the pandemic here in Brazil.
DARLINGTON: In fact, the country`s health regulator Anvisa approved Pfizer vaccines for children more than a month ago. At the time, Bolsonaro called
the decision unbelievable. That`s when he said he wouldn`t vaccinate his young daughter and later publicly asked what interests were behind the
Anvisa decision to allow them to be used here in Brazil.
Now his health ministry initially proposed requiring a doctor`s prescription to be able to get the vaccine; faced with backlash, they
backpedalled. But then they held a public consultation before they rolled them out.
So this has just really been a series of delays, which means that they are finally being rolled out while we are in the middle of the Omicron surge
here. We haven`t peaked.
Children should be going back to school after the Southern Hemisphere`s summer break at the end of this month. And it looks basically impossible
for them to have received two doses of this vaccine before they head back to classes, Hala.
GORANI: Right. And the president is saying it is virtually impossible for a child to die of it. Obviously, there are cases where children have,
sadly, died. But as we have heard repeatedly from experts, it is also who you infect; it is not just what it does to you.
I wonder, what are the numbers in Brazil?
What are the latest COVID numbers in terms of deaths and hospitalizations?
DARLINGTON: We are a couple of weeks maybe behind some of the surges we`re seeing around the world.
DARLINGTON: What we`re experiencing right now is the surge in new cases, daily new cases. So we saw one of the highest numbers at the end of last
week. Now that we`ve come after sort of a pause in collecting data, we expect to see another big jump today.
As we know, we will see a delay in hospitalization numbers going up and then another delay before we see a real increase in the number of deaths.
What experts here are saying is that they expect the peak to come end of January, maybe February. So we`re still on our way up. It is hard to
compare the numbers but we do expect to be reaching, for example, new high- record seven-day averages, as far as new cases are concerned this week, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Shasta Darlington, thank you.
Even though Israel was the fastest country to roll out COVID vaccines a year ago, most of its young children are unvaccinated right now. Now
hospitals are seeing a surge in youth cases. CNN`s Hadas Gold spoke to a doctor about this alarming trend.
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For months, this children`s COVID ward at Sheba Hospital in central Israel sat empty. Now it
is reopened and nurses are suiting up again, as health experts estimate COVID cases in children will soon surge to tens of thousands per day.
Dr. Itai Pesach, director of the Safra Children`s Hospital at Sheba, says, during the last wave, they had at their peak around 15 children in the
DR. ITAI PESACH, DIRECTOR, SAFRA CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL AT SHEBA: We already broke that number during this week and I`m sure it is going to be higher
because the rate of positive people and positive children around the country is still rising.
GOLD (voice-over): But something is different about this wave: most of the kids in the COVID ward weren`t admitted because of COVID.
PESACH: We found them to be positive while we were treating them for other illnesses. So the COVID actually complicates a little bit conditions. We
have to care for them. But otherwise it poses no significant medical risk for them.
GOLD (voice-over): Dr. Pesach is especially worried about the long-term ramifications of so many positive cases. Children with even asymptomatic
COVID infections sometimes develop a debilitating disorder called PIMS, pediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome.
PESACH: If Omicron does cause PIMS, the huge number of positive cases that we see will definitely bring a wave of PIMS later. And PIMS is a
significant disorder. We know that the vaccine protects from PIMS in a very good way.
So going back to the vaccine, if most of the kids were vaccinated, we wouldn`t have to worry about what is going to happen in a month now.
GOLD (voice-over): But less than 15 percent of Israeli children aged 5 to 11 are vaccinated. As health officials try to get more lifesaving shots
into arms, the education system is soldiering on.
DALIT STAUBER, DIRECTOR GENERAL, ISRAELI EDUCATION MINISTRY: Here in Israel, we are absolutely sure that open schools are the best option, even
under most difficult circumstances. And our policy is very clear, to keep schools open under any circumstances.
GOLD (voice-over): At the Gretz Elementary School in Tel Aviv, open windows for ventilation, masks and a new kind of homework.
GOLD: Because of an intense demand for testing, whether at-home or performed by professionals, the Israeli government has decided to give each
student in the education system three free at-home antigen tests.
GOLD (voice-over): The school`s COVID coordinator Mirit Haviv can barely keep up with her students` positive tests and quarantines.
MIRIT HAVIV, COVID-19 COORDINATOR, GRETZ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: It is crazy. It is like a wave. It is a tsunami. It is not even just a regular wave. It
is a real tsunami that just flushes everything, that`s it.
GOLD (voice-over): But she agrees schools must stay open despite the risks.
HAVIV: I think it would be easier to shut down schools, yes. But it is a problem. I`m a mother. I have two boys and I know how hard for them it is
to stay at home. And I think it is more important that the kids will stay in some kind of a regular routine, come back to school every day, see their
friends. I think it is much more important.
GOLD (voice-over): And so the children in Israel continue on, testing and hoping that they can make it through the tsunami -- Hadas Gold, CNN, Tel
GORANI: Hong Kong plans to euthanize around 2,000 small animals over fears they could transmit COVID-19 to humans.
The decision comes after nearly a dozen hamsters and an employee from this pet shop in the Causeway Bay district tested positive for the virus. The
hamsters were imported from the Netherlands but it is not known if they were carrying the virus when they arrived.
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LEUNG SIU-FAI, HONG KONG AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT (through translator): For all animals in the warehouse we will conduct
LEUNG (through translator): And then we will conduct euthanasia humanely. It is mainly to take relevant actions under consideration of public safety
and health risks. In addition, all pet shops in Hong Kong that sell hamsters need to temporarily close.
The hamsters in the shops will be taken for testing. And then we will conduct euthanasia humanely.
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GORANI: Well, it is important to note health authorities generally say that the risk of transmission from animals to humans is very low -- though
Now everyone around the world wants to know, are we approaching what is called the endemic phase of this whole global nightmare?
America`s best-known infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says it is still an open question.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: When you talk about whether or not Omicron, because it is a highly transmissible but
apparently not as pathogenic, for example, as Delta, I would hope that that`s the case.
But that would only be the case if we don`t get another variant that eludes the immune response to the prior variant.
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GORANI: All right. Let`s hope we don`t get another variant for sure. Dr. Anthony Fauci there, the chief medical adviser to the president of the
United States, on whether or not we have entered the endemic phase of this pandemic.
Still to come, rising tensions in Yemen`s lengthy war. The Saudi-led coalition has retaliated for strikes by the Houthi rebels on Abu Dhabi.
And we will take an exclusive look at last week`s rare public warning from MI5 about an alleged spy, suspected of trying to influence British
GORANI: Yesterday, Houthi rebels say they targeted Abu Dhabi with a drone attack. And today, Houthi rebels are being targeted by the Saudi-led
They are saying at least 12 people were killed when the coalition launched airstrikes Monday on Yemen`s capital, which is controlled by the Houthis.
The strikes were retaliation for that drone attack near the airport in Abu Dhabi. Sam Kiley is here to break this all down for us. Sam.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Hala, there are at least, as you say, 12 casualties, deaths from these airstrikes.
KILEY: They were conducted in and around this capital, Sanaa, in a number of locations. One of the airstrikes at least hit a building with several
people in it.
It may, indeed, have been three buildings that were destroyed, according to local reporters, that CNN had been working with on the ground. It is very
difficult, of course, to get into Sanaa itself.
They were not admitted to any of the military facilities which were attacked, which were the majority of these counterattacks being launched by
the Saudi-led coalition.
But of course, it also brings up echoes. The disastrous deaths of innocent people brings up echoes of criticism, leveled over the years at the Saudi-
led coalition over the large numbers of civilian deaths in Sanaa. Here is the reaction of one local person, very close to these events.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What happened is a heinous crime. The missile targeting this house led to the death of three entire families.
Only one girl survived and she is in critical care.
They also targeted my brother`s house. Five people are missing, including two women. We are still searching for them and haven`t found them.
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KILEY: Now the death toll may be going up because of the numbers of people injured. Indeed, there are still searches going on for people underneath
some of these collapsed buildings.
As I say, we don`t know about the military casualties. The Emiratis, I think, Hala, will be wanting to draw a line under the whole incident,
because they have been trying, at least, to extricate themselves from the long quagmire of the civil war in Yemen, Hala.
GORANI: Yes. And let`s talk about what is going on in Yemen, just to explain to people. The Houthis are under pressure. I mean presumably that`s
one of the reasons that they attacked those targets in Abu Dhabi.
But how much pressure?
KILEY: Well, they had been enjoying a great deal of battlefield success. They were closing in -- excuse me -- looking like they might even capture
the important, strategic town of Marib toward the north of the country, which was very much the center of the Saudi-backed government`s efforts to
hold the line, if you like, in the face of Houthi advances.
Then, according to the Houthis -- and there is also some independent verification of this -- a unit known as the Giants Brigade in the south was
able to take the pressure off Marib, with attacks against the Houthis that enjoyed some kind of level of support from the Emiratis. It is unlikely
that was any boots on the ground.
We don`t know what form of support that really took. The supposition is that it is probably arms and money. Of course, at the same time, there are
other groups there that the Saudis are backing, that have not had the money.
So the heart has gone out of their fight. But that meant that the Houthis felt inspired or provoked into this attack against Abu Dhabi that killed
three people yesterday, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Sam Kiley, thanks so much, live in Abu Dhabi.
Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman convicted of helping Jeffrey Epstein`s sex trafficking, will no longer fight to keep the names of Epstein`s rich and
powerful friends secret. Maxwell`s attorney told a court Monday that she will not seek to block the release of the identity of eight of those men,
John Does, as they`re called when we don`t have their names officially released.
They were named in a lawsuit filed against her and Epstein. The attorney says that lawyers for those eight people should take up the fight instead.
And presumably lawyers for those eight people will not want those names to be made public.
GORANI: And more on that breaking news that we have brought you earlier, surrounding the rollout of 5G technology in the United States, with
airlines saying they are cancelling some flights to the United States over concerns that 5G networks could interfere with the planes` functioning.
Richard Quest is in Dubai with more on that.
So we heard from Emirates and others as well. Tell us more.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Yes, so we have these airlines that use the 777 on their flights to the United States. And it is the 777 that Boeing says
could -- I`m using the word could -- potentially be affected by the 5G equipment that will be positioned.
What is not clear, Hala, is the timing in all of this, because many of the major U.S. telcos, AT&T, the network`s parent company and others, say
they`re suspending, for the time, being the rollout tomorrow.
However, the airlines over here and in Japan -- and that might largely be when planes have to leave here to get there, it is 15, 16 hours flying in
some cases. So it is not completely clear whether there`s a mishmash of timing. What is clear is that the airlines are sending a robust message to
the United States.
QUEST: That, if you mess around with this, we will not fly.
GORANI: So what is the concern, that 5G will interfere with the controls, with the software on the plane?
QUEST: Right. There is the spectrum. Think of that as the spectrum that we`re talking about, from 3.2 to 4.7 megahertz on the scale. Now this bit
of it is what`s been given to 5G. This bit immediately next to it, at 4.2, is what is given to aviation, used for the bit that determines the altitude
on the plane.
They are so close together that the fear is that this interferes with that. If you look at what other countries around the world have done, they`ve
either reduced the power of the equipment near the airport or they have refused to allow that equipment from the cellphone companies by the
They have given a priority, if you will, to the aircraft and to airlines and aviation.
The problem in the United States is nobody can point to a study, a report, any form of evidence that they`ve done anything that will sort it out. In
fact, quite the contrary. For the last two years, there have been numerous reports that say, if you do not do something, because they are so close
together on the spectrum, then we could be facing trouble.
That`s why -- I mean airlines are using words like "calamity," "catastrophe," "disaster." When you hear the airlines using those words,
refusing to fly, then you know there`s trouble.
GORANI: And we`ll see you at the top of the hour on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS with a lot more on this story.
GORANI: Thank you.
We`ll be right back.
GORANI: Britain`s home secretary is praising U.K. intelligence after an alert about an alleged Chinese agent. Last week, MI5 warned about the
potential threat posed by a lawyer with offices in the U.K. Nina dos Santos has this exclusive report.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): For 15 years, Christine Lee cultivated her high-level connections. She set up pressure
groups with British prime ministers and got this close to China`s President Xi Jinping. On Thursday, U.K. intelligence issued an alert to members of
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Saying Lee had been attempting to influence politicians on all sides of the spectrum, with money coming from abroad on
behalf of China`s Communist Party.
Now CNN can reveal the U.K.`s own government has been advertising these services to prospective foreign investors for years as part of an
invitation-only network of vetted lawyers and accountants providing a forum for feedback directly to the corridors of power.
Lee`s law firm, Christine Lee & Co solicitors, has been on the network`s directory drafted by officials since at least 2016. Until the close of
business on Friday, she could still be reached via an official government website, with the firm promising the first hour of legal advice for free.
The Department of International Trade said the site mentioning Lee was no longer live and that it had to do some digging to find out why she was on
there. The Home Office told CNN it doesn`t comment on the detail of security or intelligence.
DOS SANTOS: One place Christine Lee can`t be reached, it seems, is here at the London office of her law firm. As you can see, it looks like it has
been empty for quite some time. The windows are dusty. There`s papers still left on desks. And also interestingly enough, a security camera pointing
right at the front door, where I`m standing right now.
There is a notice here pinned to this window which says, because of the pandemic this office is shut. There`s a number, though, to call for
inquiries. Let`s just try it now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to the EE voicemail. I`m sorry, but the person you`ve called is not available.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Multiple emails sent to the account posted on Lee`s office went unanswered. A CNN analysis of political donations shows
that one member of Parliament from the opposition Labour Party accepted more than $600,000 from Lee between 2014 and 2020.
The leader of another opposition party, the Liberal Democrats, accepted more than $7,000. Both say they were unaware of the concerns surrounding
Lee`s activities until this week. Under current U.K. laws, there`s no suggestion that the donations were illegal.
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WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): China has always adhered to the principle of noninterference in other
country`s internal affairs. We have no need and will not engage in so- called interference activities.
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DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Documents filed for Lee`s company state that she is British. The U.K. doesn`t yet have a foreign agents registrations act
like the United States. But it is considering passing one.
A letter sent to the House of Lords by its speaker obtained by CNN says Lee`s facilitation was done to covertly mask the source of political
donations coming from China. The letter said the behavior was clearly unacceptable and would be made to cease.
But for this activist, campaigning for human rights in China, the news Lee appears to be so enmeshed in Westminster is extremely worrying.
LUKE DE PULFORD, COORDINATOR, INTER-PARLIAMENTARY ALLIANCE ON CHINA: What this case shows is an abject failure of government vetting and shows
extraordinary naivete on the part of the government when it comes to the purpose of these kinds of institutions and individuals.
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DOS SANTOS (voice-over): How Lee is still able to receive government promotion shows the extent of her access and will give fresh impetus to the
U.K.`s pledge to toughen up legislation on foreign influence in the country`s politics -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.
GORANI: And "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.