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U.S. Travel Industry Speaks Out Against Restrictions; Hong Kong Adds More Countries to High-Risk Travel List; Barbados Cuts Ties with Britain, Becomes a Republic; Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Steps Down; Police Ramping Up Response to Smash and Grab Robberies. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 30, 2021 - 04:30   ET




DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The idea about mandates again, it depends on where you are and what the circumstances, you're in. One thing for sure, that if you're in indoor congregant settings, where you don't know the vaccination status of the people around you, you should wear a mask. We're going to be traveling soon. People will be traveling for the upcoming holidays. You're going to be in airports that are generally crowded. Keep that mask on.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN's Pete Muntean is in Washington with more on how the travel industry is reacting to new restrictions.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, the good news for the travel industry is that President Biden says he does not anticipate new travel restrictions at least for now. But we have seen statement after statement from the travel industry calling these new restrictions a bit of a knee jerk reaction. They restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries, those coming into the U.S.

And one of these biggest statements that we've seen from the U.S. travel association, which represents the travel and tourism industry at large, says that the administration should respectfully reconsider these restrictions. In fact, it points to rules that went into place only three weeks ago that allow foreign nationals to come into the United States, so long as they prove that they are fully vaccinated, so long as they show proof of a negative coronavirus test. The U.S. travel association says that is already the best way to ensure safe travel.

You know, all of this is coming at a time when the travel industry is seeing big signs of life, 2.45 million people screened at airports across the country, according to the TSA, on Sunday. That number is the highest number we have seen since the start of the pandemic, 89 percent of the way to where we were back on the same Sunday before Thanksgiving, back in 2019. And travel experts believe that number is actually being pushed up because of that resumption of international travel.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Reagan National Airport.


CHURCH: Health experts also agree travel restrictions may not be the best way to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. With strict guidelines for international travelers already in place in the U.S., one doctor says the new restrictions don't mean much.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think this is really an illusion of protection. A metaphor I've been using, like locking a screen door. You feel like you've done something to protect yourself, but you really haven't. This virus is almost certainly already in the United States. We'll hear over the next day or two, that cases have been identified in the United States.

And it's also important to understand that since October, the United States has had a requirement for all foreign travelers coming to this country to be fully vaccinated and tested. And that's still in place. So, I'm not sure what this ban will achieve. Other than to add some disincentive to other countries that might be looking to do intense sequencing and identify variants. This might incentivize those countries to maybe, you know, back off on that a little bit, because no good deed goes unpunished and I think that is what we've shown to South Africa so I'm not a fan of this ban.

DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF U.S. CDC: In this situation, a short period of restriction, so that we can learn more about whether our vaccines work. We can learn more about the severity. We can learn more about whether this is more transmissible. We should know that information within 1 to 2 weeks. After that period of time, it makes no sense to maintain restrictions and it becomes just punitive, and especially punitive to a country it that has done a lot to ensure that the world is more prepared for this variant than the world was for the Delta variant.


CHURCH: A solid recovery by U.S. financial markets hasn't lasted long. The Dow gained 236 points on Monday. But the futures markets are pointing to a lower open. Stocks fell in Europe and Asia, after the head of drug maker Moderna told the "Financial Times" that existing COVID vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant.

The surge in oil prices isn't over, according to J.P. Morgan Chase. A new report warns clients that brent crude will hit $125 a barrel next year and 150 in 2023. That will translate to gas prices topping $5 a gallon. The report was in the works long before the Omicron variant led to the collapse of oil prices Friday. J.P. Morgan stands by the forecast, believing demand will remain high, and OPEC will defend the oil prices.

Well, a spike in brazen smash and grab robberies is happening in cities across the U.S. We will have the latest on how law enforcement is responding.



CHURCH: We are just learning there are now a total of 14 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile we are seeing signs that it may be too late for some countries to avoid the variant. In the last few hours, Japan confirmed its first case. It comes just one day after the government announced a ban on all foreign visitors to try to keep the virus at bay. Other governments are pushing forward, with similar measures, Hong Kong just announced plans to ramp up its travel restrictions even further in response to the Omicron variant.

And CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Hong Kong this hour. Will, let's start with our first case in Japan. What more you are learning about that?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is obviously concerning for Japanese officials who were hoping and they were getting a lot of public pressure to keep Omicron out of the country and now they have detected this variant. A man in his 30s traveling from the media in southern Africa was the first confirmed case of Omicron inside Japan.

One of the reasons why they have taken this, what many perceive as kind of a drastic step to ban all new arrivals of foreign nationals, from entering the country is, because Japan does not have a strict quarantine system in place. People when they arrive are instructed to go to their home or go to their hotel and not use public transportation. But yet still there is nobody really monitoring them. It's not a situation like where I am in Hong Kong, where all incoming travelers are required to quarantine and you are essentially locked in your room. You cannot open the door. If you leave, you could go to jail, you could get a huge fine. The minimum is 14 days, if you're fully vaccinated, coming from a low-risk country. That's what I'm doing coming from Taiwan.

But there's a growing risk of high-risk countries where Hong Kong residents are required to even if they're fully vaccinated, they have to quarantine for 21 days in a hotel at their own expense.


But what Hong Kong has done now is they're actually banning nonresident arrival from 13 more countries and not just in southern Africa but places like Australia, Canada, Israel, basically anywhere where the Omicron variant has been detected. If you're not a Hong Kong resident, you're banned from entering, if you are a Hong Kong resident and you're fully vaccinated you have a 21-day quarantine. And the travelers from southern Africa have to spend seven of those days in a government facility where they're tested for COVID every single day. It's a similar to the strict quarantine that is in place in mainland China.

So, Japan shutting down their borders like Israel. Hong Kong and China, they remain confident that their very strict quarantine protocols will keep Omicron out of the general population. There was a third case of the variant detected here at the Hong Kong International Airport. The first two cases of the variant were actually detected two floors down from me in this hotel. We get tested quite a lot for COVID in quarantine. I've already been tested three times, Rosemary, since I've arrived in Hong Kong a week ago, three negative test results so far.

CHURCH: Well done. Will Ripley joining us live from Hong Kong, many thanks.


SANDRA MASON, BARBADOS PRESIDENT: I, Sandra Prunella Mason, do swear that I will well and truly serve Barbados in the office of president so help me God.


CHURCH: And that is the 73-year-old Sandra Mason now the first ever president of Barbados. Just hours ago, the island nation declared itself a Republic, 400 years after it became a British colony. That means Britain's Queen Elizabeth is no longer the head of state for Barbados. The transition ceremony including a military parade, changing of the flag, and a gun salute. One of Barbados' most famous citizens Rihanna was honored as a national hero.


MIA MOTTLEY, BARBADOS PRIME MINISTER: On behalf of a greater nation but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for national hero of Barbados, Ambassador Robin Rihanna Fenty. May you continue to shine like the diamond.


CHURCH: Britain's Prince Charles also attended the ceremony. He was given the country's highest-ranking honor, the order of freedom, a movement to highlight the close relationship that still exists between Barbados and the United Kingdom.

Honduras is nearing a major political milestone. Xiomara Castro is on track to become the country's first female president. Her husband was ousted in a coup 12 years ago. Castro ran in a field of more than a dozen candidates. She has vowed to battle corruption and address the conditions that have led to migration from Honduras to the United States.

Well, it is deja vu in Sweden. Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson has been elected Prime Minister again just days after she had already won the job and quickly resigned. Andersson quit hours after she was elected last week when her proposed budget was defeat and her coalition government broke down. Now, Sweden's first female Prime Minister plans to form a minority government. The social Democrats only hold 100 of the 349 seats in Parliament. Meaning of course she will need the support of other parties to pass legislation.

Twitter's CEO has called it quits stepping down from the company he co-founded more than 15 years ago. Jack Dorsey has led Twitter through some challenging times like banning a sitting U.S. president and combatting hate speech and misinformation. But Dorsey says it's time for change in leadership. CNN's Brian Fung reports.


BRIAN FUNG, CNN REPORTER: This is a pivotal moment for Twitter. On Monday, CEO Jack Dorsey announced he is stepping down from the job immediately. Dorsey has been CEO of Twitter since 2015, and the co- founder of the company who sent the platform's very first tweet in 2006.

Rumors of his departure Monday morning briefly sent Twitter stock surging by more than 10 percent. In his announcement, Dorsey said Twitter is ready to, quote, move on from its founders.

Following Dorsey as CEO is Twitter's chief technology officer, Parag Agarwal. Agarwal first joining Twitter in 2011 as a software engineer. Before that he spent time at Yahoo and Microsoft. Agarwal takes over at a critical time for Twitter facing tough investor expectations, the company is experimenting with new ways to grow its revenue and user base.

For example, this year Twitter launched a way for some users to pay for additional premium features like the ability to undo a tweet. Twitter also continues to face questions and possible new laws and regulation on the handling of misinformation in hate speech. But Dorsey insists that this is the right moment for him to leave. In a memo to employees, he wrote that he was choosing his company's future over, quote, his own ego. This was my decision, and I own it, Dorsey wrote.


Brian Fung, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: A legal fight over leggings. Lululemon is suing Peloton over its new clothing line. The Canadian athletic apparel maker claims five of Peloton's new products infringe on its patents. They also accuse Peloton's new leggings of being a copycat of one of Lululemon's best sellers. Meanwhile, Peloton filed its own lawsuit a few days ago, and they're seeking a declaration that Lululemon's claims hold no merit. We'll be watching that.

Well, the FBI says it's closely monitoring the sharp spike in smash and grab retail robberies. A spokesperson tells CNN the bureau is in close contact with local law enforcement and ready to take a more active role if it's determined a federal crime has occurred. The brazen thefts are happening in a number of city, as CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police in Chicago today warning thieves they are ramping up efforts to stop so-called smash- and-grab robberies, often involving large gangs of perpetrators who swarm into stores, terrifying employees and customers.

DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: We are particularly focused on this type of crime here in Chicago, both, prevention and enforcement. Over the weekend, we arrested two 16-year-old juvenile female offenders.

TODD (voice-over): Suspects, who the Chicago police superintendent said took part in the burglary of an Ulta Beauty store in Chicago and stole about $8,500 worth of merchandise. At two Best Buy stores in suburban Minnesota, the pattern continued in recent days. At one of those locations, police say at least 30 perpetrators stormed into the store, and stole electronics. Local shoppers are uneasy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't feel good if I were here and that were happening as I'm there, seeing people run out with stuff.

TODD (voice-over): From thieves violently smashing the glass case at a jewelry counter near San Francisco, to the mass ransacking of a Louis Vuitton store outside Chicago, law enforcement agencies are scrambling to respond to smash and grabs involving multiple suspects at a time.

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They are definitely looking at the targets. They are doing reconnaissance. They know when they are going to hit. This is organized at this point and police have a serious pattern here that they have to deal with.

TODD (voice-over): The targets have ranged from high-end stores, like Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton, to an Apple Store in California, hits where tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise was taken. To a Home Depot near Los Angeles where the sheriff's department says up to ten people stole tools that thieves might use in robberies like these -- hammers, sledge hammers, crowbars. Four men were arrested in connection to that case.

STEPHANIE MARTZ, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: This is a trend that we have been seeing gradually increase, I would say, over the last year, year and a half. It, I would say, started mainly in the pharmaceutical and drugstore area, and has spread to department stores and luxury goods.

TODD (voice-over): Now, a top concern among law enforcement analysts, that the thieves could become even more emboldened and violent.

BARKSDALE: What if someone has a gun? It is totally possible that this could become even more violent, even more dangerous for those that work in these stores, the customers.

TODD: So far, at least one security guard has been pepper sprayed by robbers and in Oakland, California, a security guard was killed while trying to protect a TV crew that was covering a smash and grab robbery. That incident did not seem to be directly tied to a mob burglary, rather one individual trying to steal the crew's camera.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And still to come, what does Tiger Woods' future in golf look like? He discusses that for the first time since he was badly injured in a car crash earlier this year. Back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH: Well, the Pacific Northwest in November is no stranger to heavy rain, but what's happening right now in Washington state and Canada's British Columbia is extreme even by their standards. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri looks at the atmospheric rivers drenching the region -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Rosemary. Here's what's happening across the U.S., generally quiet weather. There is one area of interest, though across the Pacific Northwest where we have a flooding threat back in action across this region. Of course, recent weeks, we've seen multiple atmospheric river patterns here producing an incredible amount of rainfall in this meteorological autumn which runs from the first of September to today, November 30th. Seattle has picked up an historic 18.8 inches of rainfall. The single wettest autumn on record across Seattle. Besting the 18.6 inches that fell back in the autumn of 2006.

But you'll notice flood alert, widespread across the western half of Washington state, heavy rainfall, especially around the northwestern corner of the state. But work toward Vancouver Island, portions of British Columbia and into the higher elevations, it is all going to be heavy snow here. So yes, the concern remains in place for some of these areas to see additional rounds of flooding.

Now, Seattle will climb up to 56 degrees. That is well above average. But notice that by this weekend, we go back down to well below average and kind of moderate back out early next week into a very cool and somewhat unsettled trend here over the next week or so.

But across portions of the Great Lakes, we do have some winter weather alerts, Detroit, Saginaw, as far south as Toledo, could see a couple of inches of snow showers here into the early morning hours of Tuesday. But really for this time of the year, not an impressive -- a pretty impressive setup, not a bad setup there for just a minimal amount of snow.

But were going to have above average temperatures widespread across the U.S. We'll take you to almost 60 degrees in St. Louis, about 61 in Denver, and temperatures in Las Vegas, lucky 77 -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thanks for that, Pedram. Tiger Woods says his days as a full-time golfer are over.


He spoke with "Golf Digest" about his future for the first time since his car crash back in February. Woods suffered serious leg injuries and says he will now pick and choose a few golf events to play each year.


TIGER WOODS, 15 TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: This time around, I don't think I'll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that's OK. But I can participate in the game of golf. I can still maybe, if my leg gets good enough, maybe kickoff a tournament here or there. But as far as climbing the mountain and get all the way to the top, I don't think that's a realistic expectation of me.


CHURCH: Woods says he's not even at the halfway point of his rehabilitation. And he's also dealing with issues from his five back surgeries.

For the seventh time in his career, the Argentina's Lionel Messi is football's finest. He won the Ballon D'or on Monday for his role in Argentina's win of the Copa America title. He also finished as the Spanish League's top scorer.

The women's award went to Alexia Putellas. The 27-year-old helped lead Barcelona to victories in the Champions League, the Spanish League and the Spanish Cup.

Well, it's the word on the tip of everyone's tongue this year. What you think it is? You probably heard it a few dozen times just this hour. The 2021 word of the year according to Merriam Webster, drum roll, is vaccine. The dictionary says searches for vaccine were up more than 600 percent from last year. Noting it's become as much of a political or cultural term as it is a medical term. Now just go out and get your vaccine. Right? That's want we want to send that message.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourself a wonderful day. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett is up next. You're watching CNN.