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Quest Means Business
Modi Asks Voters to Turn Out Despite COVID Crisis; NYC Mayor Says He Plans to Fully Reopen City on July 1st; Navalny Slams Putin In First Public Appearance in Weeks; U.S. And NATO Start Withdrawing Troops from Afghanistan; Turkey Begins First National Lockdown as COVID Case Rise. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 29, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: The closing bell is barely an hour away here in New York, and the Dow has crossed 34,000 over the last few minutes.
A down day until lunchtime, and then the market rose. Well, it looks impressive. It's actually only a gain of about 200 points, nearly three-
quarters of a percent. But we are over 34,000 and that is to the benefit.
That's the way the market looks, and these are the main events of the day: India's Prime Minister, despite what's going on, is urging people to the
polls even as the country is battling its worst daily COVID numbers. We'll discuss.
U.S. growth is speeding up as Joe Biden hits a hundred days in office and is now on the road selling his package of reforms.
And the Big Apple is back. New York plans a full re-opening by July the 1st.
We are live in New York. It's Thursday, it's April the 29th. I'm Richard Quest. And, of course, I mean business.
Good evening. We are spending time this evening talking about the devastating new record for India, which is the epicenter of the corona
India has now reported 380,000 new infections, and more than 3,600 deaths today, Thursday, alone. Overall, the number of cases topping 18 million
since the start of the pandemic. Look at the way the graph has moved. Yes, there were times when the U.S. had higher numbers of deaths, but it was a
downward track fairly sharply after severe measures and restrictions were introduced.
The same does not appear to be taking place in India. Let me warn you, you might be disturbed by what we're about to show you from New Delhi.
There were so many people dying that the crematoria can't keep up. The Mayor of New Delhi says they are burning more than 600 bodies a day, and
the funeral pyres are being lit 24 hours around the clock.
Now, even though global aid started rolling in, little hope for immediate relief, less than two percent of Indians are fully vaccinated. In Mumbai,
for example, a city of more than 12 million, says it has run out of doses and must now suspend vaccinations for the next three days.
None of this is stopping the Prime Minister Narendra Modi from urging people to get out and vote in the Western Bengal state elections, elections
are still taking place. They haven't been suspended for the time being.
Sam Kiley is in New Delhi, we'll deal with elections in just a moment, Sam. I want to get an impression from you. You are there, you are seeing those
funeral pyres. You are hearing what's going on.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Richard. We spent most of the day, in fact, all of the day at one particular
crematorium to just get an idea visually, but also emotionally among the people there as to what this was doing to India's capital.
I have to say, these were visions of hell, frankly, burning pyre upon burning pyre nonstop well into nightfall when we left at 10:00 or 11:00
local time. The level of numbers of people coming into the crematorium, Richard, not only from hospitals, but coming directly from the homes where
So these are people who have been uncounted in the official figures, which indicate perhaps some hospitals, only about 300 dead in New Delhi, they're
burning 600 dead a day at least.
In this crematorium where we were, they were burning about -- they said, they would burn about 150 people, see them through their last rites. I'm
pretty certain we'll find out more tomorrow morning that those figures are pretty small or significantly underestimate the numbers we actually saw --
QUEST: And this idea of still going out and vote. Now, India is the world's largest democracy by number of people, and of course, voting is very
important, but it wouldn't be the first country that during the pandemic has suspended or postponed an election.
KILEY: No, unfortunately, many would say here, and many were saying that this is also not the first country to have a populist leader. It's among
the first, though, to have of the modern version of the populist leader in the form of Narendra Modi, and he has prioritized shrugging off the effects
of the pandemic, declaring it close to over -- declaring victory over it several months ago, suggesting that the country had reached herd immunity
without the benefit of a vaccination program.
KILEY: Being a net exporter of vaccinations and an enthusiastic political campaigner, many tens of thousands of his supporters have been corralled
without any kind of social distancing over weeks and months into these political campaigns for his Hindu Nationalist Party.
And at the same time the Kumbh Mela ceremonies were allowed to go ahead with the gathering of more than two million people, authorities estimate
all of the mahaga maga (ph), all of the chi bajao (ph) -- all of them participating effectively in a super-spreader event. The consequences of
that were seen alight and, on the ground, and not sadly surrounded by mourners, because mourners and many people we spoke to there were being un-
mourned during their final rites because so many other members of their family were already suffering from the disease, they told us -- Richard.
QUEST: All right, Sam. Sam Kiley, thank you.
The chairman of PwC in India is encouraging the use of emerging technologies like drones and blockchain and AI to help the country beat
PwC has 15,000 employees across 27 offices in 13 cities and they are asking for their workers to stay home wherever they can. Even before this brutal
second wave, PwC had given out a COVID bonus worth two weeks of extra wages to all its India employees.
We're grateful to have Sanjeev Krishan, the Chairman of PwC in India. He joins me now.
Let me start, sir, by obviously wishing and hoping that you and your family, your immediate family and your wider family at PwC in India, I hope
that, you know, you have not suffered too many losses.
SANJEEV KRISHAN, CHAIRMAN, PWC-INDIA: Richard, thank you. Well, I mean, the situation is, we have about 15,000 people, as you said. I think hundreds
are affected with the COVID virus at the moment.
But you know, the good part is that we have almost 200 of our people in India looking after the 15,000 people strong that we have and the 16,000
people that comprise the PwC family.
So, we have many who are affected. Unfortunately, we have lost five people as well in recent times, but we are doing what we can to make sure that we
are taking care of the physical and mental well-being of our people.
QUEST: PwC, your core business, of course, is consultancy and auditing. Now, if you were to say at this moment what needs to be done, if you
analyze the situation for me with your experience, what is it?
KRISHAN: I think a couple of things. First and foremost is the vaccination, because I think it started very, very well. And now, you know, we have also
from -- actually, from the model, from first of May, we can actually vaccinate everybody who is 18 years and above.
And I think that process needs to get expedited. The question really is, do we have vaccines to sort of give to everyone? But that vaccine program and,
you know, I was listening to you, the numbers are what they are. I think we need to, you know, vaccinate many more.
I mean, whether we need to buy some patrons you know, particularly for the Indian vaccine and just do mass production, et cetera, we need more and
more people to be vaccinated.
I think that's the first and foremost thing. Because what is coming out is that even in cases that people have caught COVID after they have got one
dose, they have not been as serious. So, I think the first and foremost thing is getting more and more people vaccinated.
The second one is, which is an immediate need that we have -- you know, we have, you know, there are a lot of people in hospitals, and there's a
crying need for oxygen and hospital beds. I think there is one thing, which is possibly most important, which is, you know, oxygen needs to reach
people who need it the most.
We have them, but we don't have the oxygen cylinders, and so on and so forth. And that's why oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders are really
becoming very, very critical in the very immediate two weeks, I think.
And I think that's something which we really need at this point in time to happen. We are getting some help, but there is work to be done.
QUEST: Do you believe there should be a waiver on the patents? You sort of referred to it there the ability for India to manufacture more the generic
of the vaccines. Do you think there needs to be an emergency regulatory change so that India can manufacture more?
KRISHAN: Well, I mean, you know, in some ways, there has been now some support to the vaccine manufacturer. One could always argue that one could
have done it sooner. But you now, these are private businesses in India which have come up with the vaccine or are near development of those
Now, they obviously have invested -- they obviously have invested in others, so they possibly would want a fair price. But I'm sure that there
is a mechanism by which -- and there is -- most organizations want public good. They would point to sort of serve the public as well.
So I'm sure they can possibly give away those patrons something which is possibly, you know, a fair public price, if I may call it, not just a fair
price, and that is what, to my mind, the government needs to do so that not just one person, not just one organization, but many organizations could
actually manufacture the vaccine and get as many of our people vaccinated.
QUEST: Sanjeev, thank you. I appreciate your time. We will talk more about it, and we'll follow this through as we continue.
Staying with this, of course, India says it will add more flights to the United States as Americans are being told to leave India. This is where Air
India flights have gone this week. If you look at it, you can see from FlightRadar24, you can see the sort of obviously the domestic
transportation within and the longer-range travel going to the Gulf carriers and then out further to the United States.
The flights returning to the U.S. on near pre-pandemic levels, 32 to 33 a week. Washington assigned level -- India with a Level 4 travel advisory,
the highest alert from the State Department. Fourteen nonstop routes to the United States every day. Nine from Air India, four by United, and one by
And the exodus comes as countries around the world are trying to keep Indians out. Sixteen countries have mostly suspended direct travel. And if
you look, the U.S., Israel, Qatar, Bahrain, and the Maldives have advisories in place or requiring negative tests.
Clare is with me. There are two things here, aren't they? The number of people leaving India to go home. So you've got persons of Indian origin.
You've got those who have got green cards, et cetera, who need -- or visas, who need to get back to the United States because they fear they're going
to be locked out.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They do, Richard. As we see more and more countries instituting bans, there is a fear that it will
spread to the U.S. and that is helping lead to this surge in demand.
We saw, for example, Canada added to the list last week of countries banning flights, which of course raised fears again that the U.S. could be
next. As of now, they haven't -- the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki was asked about this, this week. She said, "We would make those
determinations based on the advice of our health and medical teams." They haven't made that determination at this point.
But, as you say, there is that highest travel advisory in place.
As for Air India, they say there are various factors behind increasing their schedule like this. But the fact remains that as of May 11th, there
will be 32 flights a week; pre-pandemic, there were 33. So, it's very close to that level -- Richard.
QUEST: Right, and the traffic is heavily one way. The planes are going to the U.S., less full going back. But then you have things, for example,
Heathrow Airport refused to allow additional flights from India. So, this exodus, as it is, is confusing and rapidly changing, if I understand you
SEBASTIAN: Absolutely. And, in fact, Richard, I spoke to someone who is now back in New Jersey in the U.S. today who was on a work trip to India just
sort of -- just over a week ago and was trying to get out.
Let me just play you how he described that experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROOPESH KONDRELLA, IT SPECIALIST: On the 21st, I get an e-mail saying my flight is canceled. And I go to the news, I see British Airways is also
canceled. I got panicked and I said, let me take the next available flight back home.
So, I looked for Air India option, the only option I got was United, and there was just one seat left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: So, he was originally flying, Richard, I should just say on Emirates which canceled its flights after the UAE banned all travel
incoming from India. He told me that he not only had to pay double what he is used to paying for his ticket, but he had to travel to a different city
So, you can see the options are very severely limited for people trying to leave. And another wrinkle here, Richard, is that there are people who have
traveled to India to renew visas, but visa appointments at the U.S. embassies and consulates are canceled at least until the 15th of May.
So, some people are actually getting stuck.
QUEST: Yes, and that of course is not going to change any time soon, it would appear. Clare, thank you. Clare Sebastian.
Now, there are many ways you can help people in India facing this devastating COVID outbreak. cnn.com/impact shows you the sort of things
that you can do to assist.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Back in a moment.
QUEST: New York City's Mayor, Bill de Blasio has promised to have the Big Apple a hundred percent up and running on July the 1st. The Mayor says
vaccination rates are high enough for businesses, offices and stores, to, in his words, return to full strength.
Across the United States, just about every state is in some stage of major reopening. The problem facing the global economy is that different
countries are moving at different speeds, and you can certainly see it.
So, for instance, this is what London looked like earlier this evening. Now, England is only in the second stage of its four-stage recovery plan.
So people are out and about, more people than there were. They're getting used to being out and about as restrictions -- the next big date for
restrictions is May the 17th, and only then can people dine indoors in restaurants, cinemas or get together in more than six.
South Africa relaxed its most severe restrictions at the end of February. Now, let's go to our colleagues on the ground for more. Alexandria Field is
in New York City. Salma Abdelaziz is in London. Eleni Giokos is in Johannesburg.
In that order, tell me what it's like in the place where you live. Start off, Alexandra.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Richard. Look, the way that we saw New York a year ago was unthinkable of those miles and miles of
empty concrete canyons. To consider the transformation that this city has undergone in a year is truly remarkable.
You see people back in the streets. You hear the Mayor saying that we could reopen fully by the first of July. You see people clamoring to get their
Is this the New York of before? No, not quite yet. You still have these huge empty swaths of midtown offices. You don't have the tourism that is so
much the beating heart of this city. You don't have Broadway back.
But can you believe in the promise of it? Can you believe it's just around the corner? Yes, I think we all can. You know, the Mayor put it this way.
He says this is the summer of New York.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Alexandra, so much of what you said there really resonated with London as well. It is a beast of a city much like New
York, and it is only just starting to wake up.
Much of what we're allowed to do so far is only outside. You can have a drink outside. You can meet your friends outside. You can picnic in the
park in small groups. But if you know anything about London, it's often not outside weather.
So you're going to see people huddled up under their jackets sitting outside those pubs and cradling their beers because everyone is excited for
the return to normalcy.
ABDELAZIZ: London and Londoners often think that their city doesn't belong to Britain alone, it belongs to the world. International travel is still
not allowed. That means that beating heart that you talked about in New York City still not here in London, as well.
The cultural scene of course is well still very muted. Theaters, restaurants, indoor serving -- all of that still shut down, but a lot of
that excitement because the vaccination program here is happening so quickly. And the Prime Minister has promised that each and every one of
these gradual steps is slow, but irreversible.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN BUSINESS AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Salma, I mean, it is so interesting hearing your perspective.
When I think back to a year ago at this time, it was illegal to walk in the street even while wearing a mask. We could not buy any alcohol. Everything
was shut down. Anything that was nonessential, you couldn't buy.
Such a different world we live in right now where I feel for the first time, the economy is back on track. I'm seeing traffic back to normal
levels. Restaurants are busy and they are bustling.
And it's really fascinating just to see how the economy has recovered. But there is something looming, and we have be very cautious specifically in
the South African case, and you're talking about vaccination programs in New York and in London and across the developed world that are rolling out
with incredible momentum.
It's a very different scenario here with only 0.5 percent of the population currently vaccinated, and this is going to be a very big concern where it
creates more vulnerability for South Africa to potentially head into the third wave, and while people are adhering to mask wearing and social
distancing, and, you know, it is in fact law to wear a mask when you're out in public. People are complying to that.
The big question here is, if we don't start moving towards or closer towards herd immunity, what would that mean for a potential third wave? So
life feels like it is kind of getting back to normal, we can do a lot more. But without a vaccine program that has momentum that is the big risk here.
QUEST: OK. So, the three of you we've now got an idea of what your countries are looking like. Let's go to Salma first, though.
London' is ahead in the vaccine. Germany and France are starting to pick up briefly. Tell me, but the Central and Eastern part of Europe is still a
problem. And related after you've finished, Salma, Alexandra, the issue of course in the U.S. is s going to be those who won't get vaccinated. Start
with you, Salma.
ABDELAZIZ: Yes. The vaccine rollout here in the U.K. has been one of break- neck speed. I mean, this was the first western country to approve a vaccine. You're already vaccinating those over the age of 40. It's
happening. It's happening by age, so people are waiting and anticipating that call from their local doctor to get that vaccination.
And that's why, it's so interesting what Eleni said about the fear of a third wave in South Africa because here, a very privileged country of
course when it comes to the vaccine rollout, people are afraid of a fourth lockdown more than they're afraid of a third wave.
Anytime officials speak about the possibility of a third wave, you see people really clamping up, getting worried, "I don't want to be in lockdown
again." That's why the Prime Minister keeps promising this is irreversible. That's why it's happening so slowly.
So, yes, you have this very quick vaccine rollout, but a lot of politics around it, Richard. And I think this is also part of what is happening
It is as people are easing out of lockdown, politics is coming back sort of into play as normal fighting over the E.U. and the U.K. over supply,
concerns about how much the U.K. is getting in terms of supply compared to its European neighbors and that's not even including what's going to happen
in a few weeks when international travel does resume, which of those European countries will be on the red list. This is after Brexit.
How many of the U.K.'s neighbors will they be putting on the red list? And how can you assume that a city like London can resume business, resume its
engagement with the world and with its most important partner if so many of European countries end up on the red list.
QUEST: OK, Alex, we will back with you in just a second. I am not sure you can hear me, but Eleni in Johannesburg, the issue for you, Eleni, is if you
end up with the rest of the world more vaccinated, and forget South Africa, because South Africa is, again, the most advanced in the sense, but the
other African countries where they are not vaccinated at an even lower level, what happens then?
How do they play their role in the international economy? And then to Alexandra.
GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, look. I want to give you a number that is really important so you can get a sense of where we are right now. Over 960
million doses have been administered globally of vaccines, 1.7 percent of that is made up of Africa. So that gives you a sense of how far behind the
African countries are.
GIOKOS: It's interesting that there is a perception that South Africa is ahead of other African countries in terms of vaccination programs, but in
fact, we're not in the even top 10. Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, the likes of Kenya, and Rwanda are actually ahead of the curve in terms of vaccinating
What set South Africa back is the fact that we had a variant that emerged that actually made the AstraZeneca vaccine, the efficacy, it lowered it so
completely that they had to then change strategy.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine we know globally was put on hold. Now, we've resumed it this week again. So only 300,000 people have been vaccinated at
this point in time.
International travel to many countries are still banned from South Africa. So, you have that pressure that has been put on the country as well. And
yes, you're right, many African countries haven't even received their very first doses of vaccines.
Procurement is an issue. You have richer and more resourceful countries that have been able to procure and order ahead of time, and also order very
large numbers that it has actually crowded out other African nations, specifically low-income countries.
QUEST: And, finally, on the optimistic note with you, Alex, in New York. Does it feel like New York -- I know I'm sitting in New York as well, but
you're out there? And where you are, by the way, at Javits, is where I got my vaccination. And I have to say, by the time I got my second dose, the
place was deserted.
There were dozens of vaccinators who were not actually doing anything because there weren't enough people. But does it feel like New York yet?
FIELD: It doesn't feel like New York? Not quite yet, Richard. Does it feel so much closer than it did a year ago when this city was really the first
epicenter in this country of the crisis? Yes.
I mean, where we are today really was almost unimaginable a year ago where you do see these restaurants brimming with people. Where you are
regrettably sitting in traffic once again.
I think we have a lot of questions still about what the future of New York City looks like. You have a Mayor here who has been very confident that
people who left New York are returning to New York, that you're going to see all of these restrictions lifted within a matter of months, the few
that do still remain in place.
But you know, to what extent has this pandemic transformed this city? To what extent has it transformed the culture of this city? To what extent
will see we see work-from-home or a more flexible work model pervading in this city, a place that has been the home and the seat of so many American
industries for such a very long time where you have this huge sort of corporate culture in midtown? That part is still missing.
Do you believe that it could come back? I think a lot of people believe that. There is certainly the infrastructure in place to help it to come
back, and that is of course in terms of vaccinations.
You saw it over at Javits Center. You saw this huge operation there ready to vaccinate people. We are now in a position in the city where they've
opened a number of sites across the city and told people, if you're age 16 or older, just walk on in, you get your vaccine.
And that is sort of indicative of where the U.S. is overall, we are in the enviable position now really where you get closer to having more supply
So the trick really is to keep up the momentum in New York in terms of vaccinating people and to replicate that momentum in parts of the country
where you're seeing a bit more hesitancy -- Richard.
QUEST: And over your shoulder there, I see the hot dog salesman stands which is always a good sign.
Thank you, colleagues. Thank you from New York, which has just about reopened, to London, which is well on the way, to Africa or to South Africa
where there is still much work to be done. We wanted specifically to give you that view of the world.
And later in the hour, we'll look at one place where life is pretty much back to normal completely. The small territory sandwiched between Spain and
Morocco, Gibraltar. There is the Rock, and it offers a glimpse into a post- COVID future.
We will be talking to the Chief Minister there.
And Heineken is looking forward to re-opening, the CEO is with me after the break. What will it look like -- the home sales versus bars and
restaurants? It is all to talk about. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
QUEST: I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. The U.S. economy is roaring back from its pandemic slumber. I speak the chief
executive of Heineken about his hopes on the global recovery and a glimpse of life after the pandemic. Gibraltar chief minister will be with us. How
life has changed, now herd immunity or more properly, fully vaccinated.
You're watching CNN and here are the facts and the news always comes first. In prison, the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has made his first public
appearance since ending his hunger strike. He faced a court via video link. He looked much thinner obviously than before, but he's still attacked
Russian President Vladimir Putin for his policies calling him a naked king who was ruled in competently.
The U.S. and NATO have started withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan weeks after officials first announced the plan to leave the country. So far
the U.S. has pulled out fewer than 100 troops, along with contractors and government workers. The White House says it wants all American forces home
by September the 11th.
A few hours ago, Turkey began its first national coronavirus lockdown. It's hoping to curb the highest infection rate in Europe. All non-essential
businesses are closed and travel between regions is restricted. A lockdown will last through Ramadan and is scheduled to end on May the 17th.
The U.S. economy is roaring back. GDP grew at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in the first three months. Slightly better than expected. Also
faster than recorded at the end of last year. Now President Biden celebrated the economic recovery and addressed to the joint session of
Congress last night. America is back he said as a global leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for takeoff in my view. We're working again,
dreaming again, discovering again and leading the world again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Stock markets enduring takeoff. You have to go back 60 years to the days of the Kennedy administration. JFK to find the U.S. investors this
confident after a change in Washington. The S&P is up around 10 percent since the inauguration, it rose five percent during Donald Trump's first
100 days in office. Matt Egan is with us. Now Matt, we have to put this all in perspective.
This this growth is coming because of a reopening after a very difficult Q1 when numbers in the United States were at sky high levels.
QUEST: It's not as good as Q3 last year where things started to open again. But again, that was because of what we saw before.
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: Yes, Richard, that's right. When you're talking about the economy, I mean, this was a historic collapse. And
we have seen a rebound for a number of different reasons. I think first, you have to look at the rollout of vaccines. The fact that most Americans
who want a vaccine to have already gotten one is great news. The fact that New York City is talking about opening fully in two months is just an
And then you have all this stimulus of the Fed, of course, rock bottom interest rates, quantitative easing, they're buying $120 billion of bonds
every month still. And the big one, of course, is what Congress in the White House have done a bolter in the Trump administration. And now the
Biden administration, we're talking about unprecedented amounts of emergency aid, and the Biden administration wants to do even more.
So, I think there's good reason why there's a lot of optimism about the economy right now, Richard.
QUEST: And you've got the checks that were sent out to the last set of checks (INAUDIBLE) and you've got the higher rates of payments for
unemployment. But it begs the question that all we off to the races in this economy. I mean, it does it -- is it systemically ready for what is going
to be a boom year?
EGAN: Yes, I mean, it does look like a boom year. You listen to Jamie Dimon. I mean, he told me recently, he doesn't remember the last time he
was this optimistic on the economy. He said, there's no reason why the economy can't boom into 2023. I think there are really good reasons for
that. To your point, though, you know, is this sustainable? I think one issue is we still have this gap between the needs that companies have from
workers the skills that they need.
And the amount of workers that are out there. Carrier, the air conditioning company just reported up strong earnings this morning. And I talked to the
CEO, and he said, listen out, we were optimistic coming into this year. I'm even more optimistic now. But I'm having a hard time finding workers.
Another constraint we hear about a lot is the computer chip shortage. That is the railing production of a lot of things, including cars, raw
We've seen lumber prices go sky high. That's impacting the price of homes, copper is up, oil prices are up, gas prices are up. So, I think there's
going to be some growing pains as you would imagine, when you go from a period of time where the economy was at a standstill to know when it's
rearing back up. And in the background, you have the Federal Reserve having to decide when will they take the foot off the pedal.
They don't want wait too long, Richard, because then they could inflate asset bubbles, and they could actually invite strong inflation. And they
don't want to do that.
QUEST: No bubbles as the chairman of the Fed, no bubbles. And I think he also said there's not worried about inflation at the moment. Now we'll talk
about that. You and I need to have a good discussion here on inflation. We might even get (INAUDIBLE) La Monica involved to have that. Thank you, Matt
Egan joining me. Shares of the Dutch bear maker Heineken were up one percent. The stock is now six percent below its pre pandemic highs.
The company's hoping reopening in different markets will further fuel the bounce back. At the same time, it's launching a sustainability campaign
2030 brew a better world. Dolf van den Brink is the chief executive. He joins me via Skype from Amsterdam. Sir, it is good to see you. We'll talk
about sustainability in a second. I just need to get the feel of from you of where you expect to see the best growth which markets -- which factors
We were talking about earlier in this program about which parts of the world were at different positions in the pandemic? For you, where's the
DOLF VAN DEN BRINK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (via Skype): Hi, Richard. And thanks for having me. And it's actually I was listening to your --- to your
program for the last 10, 15 minutes. It was great to hear the optimism and the hope because that's what we all need. We needed all over the globe. For
us being a truly global company, we see a lot of volatility still, where growth is very unequal.
In our first quarter results we were basically flat on our beer volume, which still continuing declines in European markets because of lock downs.
But then very solid growth from Asia, from African markets and from the Americas region. To your question at the Vietnam markets, particular is
very fast growth for us. We saw Nigeria. We see markets like Mexico coming back, South Africa but ultimately it really will come down to vaccination.
BRINK: We only will be safe if we're all safe all over the world. So, it's great to see that growth in the U.S. in some of these markets. But we
really need to see vaccination scaling at a global level to truly be able to say that we are out of this pandemic.
QUEST: So, if we talk about sustainability as we grow, because the one thing I've seen is all the smokes come back, all the various -- the various
ills of emissions has returned has we've reopened. So, how difficult is it for you to stay true to a sustainability program? 2030 brew a better world.
But the reality is, as we reopen that sustainability, the ESG has become harder.
BRINK: Yes, no, that's a very fair question and the challenge. Now, Heineken is a hold of 156-year-old family company. And we like to say that
we don't think in years, that in generations. And we have learned over the generations, that we can only thrive if the communities in an environment
we operate in do thrive. And I think we all agreed that the world is facing unprecedented challenges in disregards.
Global heating, water scarcity, inequality. And yes, we sign up for this notion that we really have two decades of action in front of us that we
really need collective action to make sure that we keep the world livable place. It won't be easy. Parts of it are easier, we really see a line of
sight on how to make our electrical energy need renewable, you can use wind and energy and solar for that.
But we also use a lot of thermal energy in our breweries for heating and cooling, which is much harder. You need biomass, you need bio gas, thermal
pumps which is harder to scale. So we have a little bit the butterflies in the belly, as we say in the Netherlands because we know about 70, 80
percent how to get there how to become truly carbon neutral by 2030. But there's still stuff that we will have to figure out.
QUEST: Well, we will talk more about that. And it's a shame that you're there with all that drink and I'm here with only a cup of tea out of a
paper cup to keep me company. But hopefully please God, before long I'll be in Amsterdam with you. And we'll be sharing a glass of something
appropriate. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
BRINK: Looking for it. Cheers.
QUEST: Protecting the planet from beyond the grave. We'll tell you about a green burial in the U.K. after the break.
QUEST: This time with Call to Earth, our us initiative to promote the sustainable future sort of thing Heineken was talking about just a moment
or two ago. Now today's piece is about how to be good to the planet, even after your die. A consecrated forest in Bedfordshire, the United Kingdom is
leading the way for green funerals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is a spiritual place. It's a wonderful place. And when people have had a funeral here, they want to stay here and
be here because they can sense that there's something special.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Most funeral practices come with an environmental cost. For example, some of the materials used to build
caskets don't biodegrade. Imported stone for tombstones adds to shipping emissions and cremations create air pollution. In fact, it's estimated that
cremations release 1.7 4 billion pounds of CO2 in the U.S. alone each year. But around the world, there's a growing movement to make funeral practices
CHARLES ROYDON, THE REVEREND CANON, ST. MARK'S CHURCH: We just wanted to be able to provide an opportunity for people to choose to be buried in a way
that was helpful to the planet, as opposed to damaging, it was called green burials or natural burials or woodland burials. When we first started
(INAUDIBLE) it was regarded as being very wacky, and I think that time has now moved on.
Many people are now choosing woodland burial just because they want to be friendly to the planet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): In the U.K., the first natural burial ground was in Carlisle in 1993. Today, there are around 270. In
Bedfordshire the St. Albans Woodland Burial Trust have taken advantage of an old English law to protect their woodland burial ground forever.
ROYDON: We're doing something which had longevity built into it. And the way that you can provide the greatest protection in English law for any
site is to consecrate it. Sets the land aside for eternity, for the purpose of which is prescribed, in this case, woodland burials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what we're trying to do is make sure that anything that we bring in here is not going to impact adversely on the environment.
So, you'll see the monuments they're made of wood. We don't have stones. We don't import granite. The coffins themselves, they will be made of
biodegradable materials, you'll have wood or wicker or willow. The bodies themselves won't be embalmed, so we're not introducing any of those nasty
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Many funeral practices are marketed as environmentally friendly from human composting too biodegradable urns that
break down once they're buried. One of the greenest burials involves dressing the body and clothes made of natural fibers for going embalming
fluid and using a natural biodegradable coffin made of local materials.
ELLEN MUSGROVE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, MUSGROVE WILLOWS: We grow 60 varieties of willow on around about 200 acres of Somerset farmland. The number of
coffins that we produce now are in excess of 100 a week. We've had many, many families come along to help with coffins for their loved ones and
found it incredibly cathartic. When they go there's a lift in them, they're much happier, they're laughing, they've had a chance to chat about the
person that's passed away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): As the climate crisis worsens, more people may choose to be laid to rest in the way that is good for the
planet. In the U.S., a 2019 survey found that more than half of respondents were interested in exploring the options for green burial. However, only 85
cemeteries in the U.S. have been certified under the green burial council. The movement is still young.
ROYDON: If we could have woodland burial grounds creeping out across our country, and people being able to choose to be buried in a place where
there are trees planted and nature flourishes. I think we could do an immense amount of good in terms of returning woodland to our country.
QUEST: Gosh, fascinating. We'll continue to showcase inspirational stories like this as part of initiative with CNN. And let us know what you're
doing. Answer the Call to Earth with #calltoearth.
QUEST: To get a sense of what life could be like after the pandemic. We look at Gibraltar. The British territory on the Spanish coast is not even
twice the size of New York's Central Park. Its health officials say nearly everyone there is now fully vaccinated against COVID.
Well ahead of Israel, the U.S. or indeed the U.K. itself and as a result life pretty much heading back to normal. Look at them. Outside enjoying the
weather. Fabian Picardo is the chief minister of Gibraltar and the minister -- chief minister is with me now. Chief Minister, thank you. This is
amazing and achievement. Now if you were to tell us what life is like now you have got herd immunity. How easy it?
FABIAN PICARDO, CHIEF MINISTER OF GIBRALTAR: Will, Richard, it is almost back to what we used to call normal. This is not an achievement of the
government of Gibraltar on its own, it's an achievement of Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom that has supported us by providing us the
vaccine. We've been able to jab it into people's arms here as quick as the clappers, as soon as we got it.
And we have been able to see people walking down our main streets and going about their business without their masks, without the need for any social
distancing to be enforced. I'll tell you a little anecdote. Just today, I met someone who I didn't know before the pandemic, who I had only ever
known with a mask on. And I was able to see his face and see exactly what his smile looked like. So that's what the world has coming to it.
As long as the vaccination programs are followed, as long as people accept that the vaccine is the way out of the sciences leaving us out of the
QUEST: Sir, the tourist seasons beginning, we know Greece is opening in May the 17th, Spain, I assume will do something similar. The significance for
you is to get tourists during the summer season. Can you do it?
PICARDO: Well, we think we can. We think that with the United Kingdom, opening up its travel corridors again after the 17th of May. We hope that
the decision that is made by the United Kingdom Government is the decision entirely for them will be to see that Gibraltar is a safe place for U.K.
tourists to come U.K. travelers to come. People from the United Kingdom travel to Gibraltar not just for tourism, but also because of our cultural
links and for business.
And of course, we have an open frontier with Spain and I hope that we'll be receiving a lot of international tourists who I sincerely hope will be able
to come to Spain this year for the benefit of the Spanish economy and our economy too.
QUEST: And are you worried about the next round of negotiations with Spain, with the E.U. over the relationship. You have got an open border as a
result of a last-minute deal at the end of last year. But now comes the big tough difficulties.
PICARDO: Well, I expect that the border will always be open between Gibraltar and the European Union, between Gibraltar and Spain. The question
is whether we have a fluid frontier between Gibraltar and Spain and the European Union. And I'm very optimistic. I think the difficult balancing
act had to be done in the context of the New Year's Eve agreement. The United Kingdom and Gibraltar on the one hand and Spain on the other came at
those arrangements with goodwill.
We were able to reach agreements that we think will work for the benefit of all of the people who live around Gibraltar. And in Gibraltar, too, I think
we can create what Gonzalez Laya, the Spanish Foreign Minister rightly calls an area of shared prosperity. And I think the European Union
commission will want to form part of this historic resolution of many of the issues that have bedeviled our relationship in the past.
And I'm very confident that that is the way that the commission will want to structure its mandate and engage with the United Kingdom for these
treaty negotiations to come.
QUEST: Congratulations on herd immunity and returning life to something approaching normality. And Chief Minister, we look forward to bringing
Quest Means Business to the -- to Gibraltar. Hopefully before not too long. Thank you, sir, for joining us.
PICARDO: I sure look forward to seeing you here.
QUEST: Let's it find a decent restaurant and we'll be -- we'll be off to the races. Lovely. Thank you, sir (INAUDIBLE) now, let me show you the
markets, very quickly and look at the markets. 34,000 on the Dow. We managed to guess. It's still holding. I'm guessing it's going to hold until
the end of the hour. The profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment. We deliberately tonight focused on the way in which we move forward. Enough rearview mirror stuff, looking forward
and that's New York which says it'll get to 100 percent reopening by July the 1st. London with May the 17th deadline and reopening slowly but Africa.
And then right at the end, Gibraltar. Now of course the smaller areas Gibraltar, Israel, the Maldives, Seychelles.
They have done that, you know, they get the -- they get the vaccines and they're able to distribute them much easier than say, for example, the
awfulness that we saw. And we're reporting and we'll continue to have India, which is an advanced country in terms of technology, and it has so
software up the wazoo but in terms of basic infrastructure, roads, rail, air, getting oxygen tanks from A to B is very different.
We wanted to show that there is a light in a sense at the end of this tunnel. And it is shown through places like Gibraltar and New York and the
developed world where yes, privilege has enabled vaccination to take place. And now as the Secretary General, as the President, pretty much as
everybody said it's time to turn our attention. Those who are vaccinated who want to be vaccinated have done so in most of the developed countries
are getting there.
Now it's time for us to concentrate on those who are next. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. I'm off
tomorrow. Long weekend. Whatever you're up to in the days ahead I hope it's profitable.
QUEST: Closing bell is ringing. The Dow (INAUDIBLE) Jake Tapper, "THE LEAD" is next.