tv Dateline London BBC News May 2, 2020 11:30am-12:00pm BST
so where is it? my guests, on socially distanced screens, indianjournalist ashis ray and german commentator thomas kielinger. and here in the studio observing the two metre rule, the bbc‘s chief international correspondent lyse doucet. let's focus first on india, which is so big that everything happens at once infections still rising in some parts of the country and a partial lifting of the lockdown in others. but the damage to repair is huge with 140 million people estimated have lost their jobs. so how is the indian government doing in helping them and balancing difficult judgments about how far to relax restrictions? that is obviously a question to start with you. thank you. india is
either a miracle or a mystery. because, a country as vast as india with a population of 1.3 billion, has today less than 1500 deaths. now, the big question is, is this the real situation or is it something else? there are reports that many deaths may not have been recorded because india is a country where underprivileged people can die without diagnosis or treatment. in the second story which has emerged, doctors are being quoted, that many patients have come to hospital or been brought to hospital after they have died and no postmortems have taken place nor have died and no postmortems have ta ken place nor testing have died and no postmortems have taken place nor testing of families and friends have taken place. so india isa and friends have taken place. so india is a situation where, if one is to be kind, the low testing is of
great concern. because low testing leads to low tracing and therefore containment becomes difficult. but, asi containment becomes difficult. but, as i said, the officialfigures are still good compared to many parts of the world. it has fared better than europe apart from china and iran. but india, again, is a situation where there is a humanitarian crisis and an economic crisis. the humanitarian crisis was created by people being given less than four hours notice of the lockdown and therefore, millions of what are called migrant workers were left stranded in urban areas. they come from remote parts of india and they simply did not know what to do, where to go. there were, again, millions were literally walking hundreds of miles back to their
villages. the second point is about the economic crisis which, like in any other country, india is facing and will face. gdp growth will colla pse and will face. gdp growth will collapse but the package which has been offered so far seems to be quite inadequate. it seems to be in the region of £20 billion where think india needs to spend at least between 75 billion to 100 billion. thomas, pick up that point about the economicjudgment because thomas, pick up that point about the economic judgment because obviously, the indian government has been talking about fiscal rectitude where some other governments have said, your foot to keep the patient alive otherwise you have no economy when all of this is over. you think india has misjudged or is it taking hard realism about what is affordable? i would lean towards the hard realism aspect. it is all very well to say that you need to think about the destitute and there are billions of them in india, and the situation ijust heard
of them in india, and the situation i just heard about of them in india, and the situation ijust heard about is unconscionable. but you have to be careful about damaging the economy in the long term. there is this unfortunate balance and we have not yet come up with an answer. do you concentrate all your forces on the immediate need to help or are you beginning to be mindful of what long—term damage you might inflict oi'i long—term damage you might inflict on your country, too? which is totally unwelcome as well. so there we are, we are in the middle of this decision and living from hand to mouth. but we cannot put all our baskets on here and now and through all our money in trying to solve the current crisis by forgetting what might come in the long term. make this point global for us. we heard from the international labour 0rganisation heard from the international labour organisation and mentioned their figure of half the world's workers being out of a job if we are not careful. everyone wants a global coordinated response and we have had weeks and months now of this
coronavirus crisis. where is the global response? i think we live in a time where numbers can really be numbing but it was really staggering. have of the world's workers at many of them are the kind of workers that we were talking about. 1.6 billion in the informal economy, as we say. and to mouth, daily wages. if they don't have daily wages they do not eat. there has been a chorus of voices since the beginning of this pandemic saying that if the global north wants to survive this and recover the global south has to be brought along at the same time and the un secretary general spoke to the bbc this weekend bemoaned the that power and leadership had not come together to galvanise the world for a coordinated response to this and the acting president of the un security council was even more damning. he said it was a shame that, since this pandemic struck, that there had been only one meeting virtually of the un security council and so there are
said to be tussling behind the scenes, arguments, particularly it is reported between china and the united states on two which would have a call for a global response but also calls for a global ceasefire. that is the politics of it but there is also the economic summit. the world bank and the imf. they're talking about new kinds of funds and this week we had to be prime minister of epo beer writing in the new york times saying, thank you very much for suspending the debt re payments but you very much for suspending the debt repayments but we need more than that. we need longer term and we need a of the debts because, as we need a of the debts because, as we heard from our chiefs about what is happening in india, india has offered a safety net which is far from sufficient. in some countries have no funds at all or infrastructure to offer the kind of huge safety nets that in britain and the united states in the western countries are now talking about. you wanted to come in? ijust wanted
to add that it is a dilemma. india, like any other country, is in uncharted territory. and resources are scarce because the indian economy was already in the doldrums before covid—19 struck. but, having said that, the way out of this has to be spending money. if need be, printing money. india cannot afford to think of inflation that may happen as a result because you've got to save lives and livelihoods. thomas, can you take up the other point. the point about hand—wringing from international leaders about what is perceived as a zero international response. 0bviously, what is perceived as a zero international response. obviously, a decade ago, we saw, after the global financial crash, a big cooperative effort to get the global economy back on track. what you think is going to happen this time? let me get in on this point. very much so. because it is all very well to be in your hands, as has been said, where is the
united response here and so forth? i think there is a response, a global response, and that is in the medical field. there are medical researchers the world over desperately trying to catch the source of this illness and find a vaccine against it. freakonomics every country is responsible to its own populace to begin with. they are comfortable as democracies and first try to look at the in their countries that needs to be remedied. before you arrive at a global staged response and there is a great deal of domestic issues to answer. in the meantime, the global response, i think, answer. in the meantime, the global response, ithink, is answer. in the meantime, the global response, i think, is quickening and this response is in the medical field where people are putting all theirenergies and field where people are putting all their energies and brainpower on trying to find a vaccine as soon as you can. and that is where i am quite hopeful we might eventually
have a breakthrough, not too far away. scientists are saying that we are cooperating. the who says there are some 80 efforts around the world to develop a vaccine in a period of months which would normally take years. but what happens when that vaccine is found and there are clinical trials and then you have to develop it at scale and at speed. who gets the vaccine? who decides who gets the vaccine? what will be the cost of the vaccine? that is again where there has to be global response. it cannot be a race among the rich. we are going to park that question for now because we can come back to it next week or the week after but i wa nt to it next week or the week after but i want to discuss the uncertainty around india's numbers. there are uncertainty around a lot of country's numbers at the moment. the number of countries with certainty around their testing and death rates is very small. 0ne around their testing and death rates is very small. one of the mysteries at the moment are some countries we would have expected to have a
significant outbreak by now do not seem to have one. i asked the united nations about this and he also used the word mystery. of course, the politics of the pandemic and the poverty of the pandemic. you have countries like turkmenistan and north korea who refused to say that they have any cases that will even know we can see reports from both countries that people are taking measures. but you also have the numbers which do not add up. you have a country like iran which has had more than 95,000 cases, and afghanistan next door, and the borders had been open when the pandemic first began, when the virus first struck. there is only some 2200 cases. there is an idea that things, to use a phrase used by the un, that things are improving, that they are worse than they seem because there is no testing. i was also told by the un that in a place like afghanistan it is because the transport system is not as active as it was on a run so it did not spread
as quickly. the un is expecting that the peak will be reached in many of the peak will be reached in many of the poorer countries in the world in a three — six months. but it is a concern. do the un and other bodies things that they can use proxy figures like excess deaths or some otherfigure to use proxy figures like excess deaths or some other figure to make a rough assessment of whether the disease has already arrived at scale? it is very tricky. pick a country like yemen which is another one that isa like yemen which is another one that is a bit ofa like yemen which is another one that is a bit of a mystery. they also have a political problem because the authorities in the north have not wanted to declare that there has beena kind wanted to declare that there has been a kind of emergency because resources internationally are given to countries on the basis of the figures. how many cases and how many deaths. but how do you know in yemen if you have got the symptoms of cholera? cholera if you have got the symptoms of cholera ? cholera is if you have got the symptoms of cholera? cholera is also rising. there is been historically significant outbreaks in the world of cholera in recent years. or malaria, or malnutrition, some of the doctors don't want to say or
some families don't want to say that it is covid—19 because in some countries there is a stigma attached to it. in the villages where they bury people, are those figures being collected? the bury people, are those figures being collected ? the collection bury people, are those figures being collected? the collection is difficult and back to testing. there is only, i am told 6700 tests in all of yemen and only 200 ventilators so how do you begin to track and trace and how do you begin to treat? a daunting challenge. i want to move on to the uk. it has faced its own challenges and all of these areas. thomas, borisjohnson challenges and all of these areas. thomas, boris johnson in challenges and all of these areas. thomas, borisjohnson in downing street. new baby, happy news and saying that the uk is past the peak. but still beset by a range of challenges going forward. what do you see as the biggest? well, the biggest challenge is not to fall in the trap of euphemisms and overoptimism. and when he says we are trying to get past the big things like that, in light of the
re ce nt things like that, in light of the recent mortality figures, there were 27,000 deaths in britain, it is going to be the top country in europe for mortality rates and so you have to be very careful not to over the issue and say there is optimism and getting beyond the peak. you have to unite the two counts of opinion in britain. the ones who keep focusing on the health of the nation and the other camp which is focusing on the long—term economic province if this lockdown continues unabated for too long. and so that is the biggest challenge. come together and bring the two camps together so they are singing from the same hymn sheet, in uniting their forces to decrease the problem of mortality and at the same time making sure that the economy may be on the up in the foreseeable future. what is your sense of how uk former
colonies in south asia observing the uk experience, what do they think of theirformer uk experience, what do they think of their former colonial masters' handling of the virus? i think it is a bit of a backlash because people in south asia think that britain is doing very badly compared to south asia and figure certainly suggest that there are many more deaths in britain as compared to countries in south asia. soi compared to countries in south asia. so i have been getting phone calls and messages, hundreds of them in the past month or so enquiring as to how i am doing, am i being careful? and things like that. because the impression is that matters are really serious in britain whereas it is much better in the asian region. so that really is something that people think. the results of this feeling in south asia that the hot summer, the humid weather over the summer, the humid weather over the summer will actually kill covid—19.
it isa summer will actually kill covid—19. it is a hope and an expectation but of course there is no evidence to establish that. we can't rely on a hot summer in the uk to sort it. just before we leave the uk, a quick one on face coverings and masks. because there isa coverings and masks. because there is a division opening up between edinburgh and london on this. london possibly going to look like an international outlier again on the issue of covering one's face? the masks question or to use the word scientist prefer to use, face coverings, is an interesting one. the science has been consistent from the beginning. the masks don't necessarily protect us but they mainly protect others. especially with the disease which can be asymptomatic, you will be making sure that others you work with, especially in public spaces that you are not going to be passing on the disease to them. and i think there
is also a social aspect to it, too. in southeast asia but they have gone through pandemics before, many people wear masks and we notice on our own societies that people have come from southeast asia or have been there before, they are wearing masks. and there has been a discussion to say that it will send a message that we are all serious. notjust being serious about it but being seen to be serious about it, which is why there is a difference in how, for example, ministers here in london and the first minister in scotland have a slightly different view. and in scotland it is only for enclosed spaces where it is not possible to do social distancing but i think nicola sturgeon has said social distancing is what, all the scientists agree, is the most effective. but in enclosed spaces we wa nt effective. but in enclosed spaces we want to take every precaution. the science does not tell us, that is the best way to protect yourself. but we may, more and more, be going
towards coverings especially as you go towards opening public transport and we are in public spaces more, that more and more masks will be necessary. but i have to say, i wear a mask and you realise that when you wear a mask you cannot tell if someone is smiling at night and we will be so distant from each other we can't even smile at each other. all our human connections in trying to protect ourselves and others... a huge experiment. europe, give us a sense of why it is that central and eastern europe seem to have done better on the numbers than france, spain, italy, uk? the first thing to remember is that those countries were the first countries to clamp down on the necessary means to fight the virus. they had clamp—downs, social distancing right from the start and they were very rigid in ensuring that those measures were followed.
the people are somewhat more obedient and have been in following those rules whereas in a country like germany, which is not a model case by any means, they have a further sort of cantankerous society which rebels against the imposition of their freedom. there is this dichotomy between health camp and the freedom camp whereas in eastern europe people by and large accepted the need to follow the regulations that the government imposed and may be that, for my money, is the best explanation for why there is this difference. and just in germany, your home country, you mention it there and of course it is taking some measures. see different european countries beginning tentatively to unlock over the coming few days. what is your assessment of what the eu neighbours
can learn from each other? there is a limit to what you can learn from each other. especially, there is a limit to what you can learn from germany. germany is a highly decentralised country. on top of the national government in berlin you 16 regional governments with a great deal of freedom to do their own thing in terms of health, schooling, education and so forth. so we have this tendency at the moment for some regions in germany going ahead before their neighbouring regions and there is not really so far, until the 6th of may when the government will come together, to decree and new national policy. until then you have a sort of chequered system of individual regions doing their own thing. so how much you can learn from the german example, i am doubtful. iam german example, i am doubtful. i am doubtful, frankly. can you talk to us about the science? we've seen
over the past few days headlines about the ebola drug been used in severe cases now in the us. we had about blood plasma been trialled in the uk. talk of vaccines and trial starting on that. which of the science headlines, with a disclaimer, obviously, we know you're not an epidemiologist, but which give you hope? well, all i can say is that the drug has been approved as medication the united states by the federal drug authority. it is an anti flu medication and so, since the results a p pa re ntly medication and so, since the results apparently have been more promising with it than other types of medication, it is something that is going ahead in the united states. whether it will be equally successful in other parts of the world, i don't know, but i'm sure america will try more now that the fda has given it the go—ahead.
talking about vaccines, again, you know, one can only guess whether it'll be six months or nine months or 18 months. it is something that we will have to wait and see but, obviously, matters on a very fast track. it is unprecedented. people have certainly taken months to find a vaccine, in this case it could happen much faster. and i dare say that the oxford experiment that is taking place, the vaccine that 0xford taking place, the vaccine that oxford university is trying to produce has already been authorised to an indian company and institute for manufacture, for mass manufacture. the institute informs us manufacture. the institute informs us that there will be 60 million doses available before the end of the year. this is quite remarkable. and whether it is effective ultimately or not, but one thing is
certain that the solution is a vaccine and nothing else. a quick word on any hope for the science from you? they really is extraordinary to see other scientist, the world's biggest laboratories and pharmaceutical companies are put aside other research to focus on the urgent need to find a vaccine. i think it is really extraordinary and yet again it underlines what humans are capable of when they know they are pushed and urgencies of the hour. our time is almost up but let's spare a thought for the news that is getting neglected. so tell me what story would dominate today if the coronavirus crisis wasn't sweeping the world. may i remind you that britain had beenin may i remind you that britain had been ina may i remind you that britain had been in a lockdown situation before this current crisis and that is the
brexit lockdown. the country was driven to distraction about brexit and suddenly brexit has disappeared, more or less. if it wasn't for the crisis we will now be back into the thick of things on the brexit debate, how are we going to manage? there is the danger but in exiting the without a deal that would have been paramount in this country and it has completely disappeared. also there is a lack of discussion and there is a lack of discussion and there humanitarian crisis. the west sahara. violence meted out against the people. we're not talking that because we have to deal with the current crisis. yes, i think the us presidential election would have made headlines around this stage. 0bviously, donald trump andjoe around this stage. 0bviously, donald trump and joe biden barking at each
other, it has receded at each other. the primaries and caucuses are not being talking about and one of the fallouts of covid—19 is, of course, many western companies, even japanese companies are pulling out of china. i think that is a story that could develop after the crisis has subsided to a certain extent. in india, ithink, the has subsided to a certain extent. in india, i think, the economic wars and perhaps unemployment would have been the stories of this current time. irrespective, notwithstanding, covid—19. even before this pandemic struck there was a yearning for good news and there were some good news this week that sudan has criminalised female genital mutilation, fgm, three years in prison and that is a practice that still is, particularly across africa and middle east, sets and a positive signal. in the movement there to end
military rule were then played a big role so it under vines the importance of diversity at the table. thank you for giving us a positive headline to close. i will expect from you a story over the course of the week that you smile made you laugh, something to raise the spirits. i can't help butjoin the millions of people who are heartened and encourage by the spectacle of this gentleman captain tom moore leading up gentleman captain tom moore leading up to his hundredth birthday and hoping to engender money for a good cause and he thought he would collect £1000 and it has come up with 30 million at the end of it. it is so encouraging to see people pitching in to try and emphasise together in this well we know not everyone is affected in the same degree in this crisis but it is a hopeful sign of a nation trying to find a moment of neighbourliness and
concentrating their forces on the positive thing. 30 million two very positive stories. you will be surprised by this but my nightly comic relief has been the press co nfe re nces nightly comic relief has been the press conferences in the white house. i think donald trump has kept us entertained. i do not take the man seriously and therefore, for me, it is light entertainment and after fills and horses it is donald trump at the white house. we don't have time to comment on that but thank you for that. and we will be back same place same time next week. for this week that is it. thanks for watching.
for those lucky enough to have a garden they become sanctuaries in recent weeks. you have been working so hard to make them so immaculate. a lot of sunshine showing up they crossed sussex to the morning. there will be more around this afternoon as well and this weekend will bring usa as well and this weekend will bring us a lot of dry weather other there are still some showers coming in the north east. it was a very dry april for many parts of the uk so some of showers in recent days actually bringing some welcome rainfall. below that brought them off to the continent. this is where the front sitting towards the south—west will come into play as well. for saturday, a lot of dry weather. a
lot of sunshine but showers initially across northern scotland congregating across the south east of scotla nd congregating across the south east of scotland in the north—east of england. quite a i think breeze and on the north sea coast, too. feel quite chilly here. generally across the mid teens. cool ever northern scotland. you can see the clouds trying to push towards the south—west of england through the afternoon. the late sunshine here turning increasingly hazy and that cloud pushing further rain overnight, perhaps rain for a time. meanwhile the showers in the north—east fade away. temperatures overnight, five or 6 degrees. typical lows. a few clearer spells across scotland and then patchy fast. sunday morning a quiet start. light winds, a lot of sunshine to get to the day under way. showers quite quickly breaking out across northern beach church of scotland. affro nt to northern beach church of scotland. affront to the south not manifesting much in the way but definitely cloudy skies for england and wales
by sunday morning. by the afternoon some sharper showers were northern england stretching into the midlands and parts of east anglia. the locally heavy downpour is here. cooler than today as well. into next week, the high does dry to wind out and it will eventually but, still this system towards the south—west trying to bring us some rain and it looks like it will have its great success in doing that across south particularly through tuesday and on into wednesday. average if not somewhat cool temperatures for the first part of the week. it gets warmer and drier on wednesday.
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. adults flock outdoors to exercise in spain, as one of the countries worst affected by coronavirus further eases its strict lockdown rules. it feels like an historical moment, you know? with everybody out like this. so i'm very happy about this, and i think that people are respecting the rules. meanwhile, trials are to take place in the uk to see if blood plasma from covid—19 survivors can help other critically—ill patients. an experimental drug is authorised by us officials for emergency use on severely—ill coronavirus patients. could temperature checks be the key for uk commuters to get back on public transport?