Return to Transcripts main page

Quest Means Business

E.U. Commission Calls For Lifting Of Travel Restrictions; China Eases Restrictions On Number Of Children; Bitcoin Bounces Back; Osaka Withdraws From French Open After Boycotting Press; Brazilian Demonstrators Demand President's Impeachment; Bitcoin Bounces Back After Sunday's Sharp Fall. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 31, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Starting a new week together. I would normally say, an hour of trading left. But, no. Wall Street on enjoys

a long weekend today as indeed in London, so traders in Europe have had a tough start to the week seeking direction.

European stocks were all lower. No trading in London -- London and New York -- both on a sort of late spring holiday. Those are the markets, but their

many events of the day.

The European Commission says it is time to lift travel restrictions. On this program tonight, the Spanish Tourism Minister on whether, and how, and

if the continent is ready.

Naomi Osaka says she is withdrawing from the French Open after taking a stand for her mental health. On this program, the Director General of the

French Tennis Federation on how to handle this matter.

And China makes a historic shift to its economy allowing its people to have more children.

We are live from New York on Memorial Day. It is Monday, it is the 31st of May. I'm Richard Quest. I mean business.

Good evening. The European Commission has said E.U. members can and should start lifting travel restrictions together. It comes as Europe's

vaccination drive finally appears to be making progress against COVID-19. Now, after more than a year of border closures, restrictions, and various

rules, the E.U. Justice Commissioner says it is time to restore freedom of movement across the bloc.


DIDIER REYNDERS, E.U. JUSTICE COMMISSIONER: We propose no travel-related testing or quarantine for fully vaccinated or recovered persons. This is

already practiced in many member states, and it should be independent from where you traveled from or where you are traveling to.


QUEST: As vaccinations are gathering steam, so people are trying out a new normal ahead of the summer. Five thousand people here got to dance at a

test concert in Paris on Saturday night to see if and how COVID spreads in these conditions.

And Continental Europe saw the largest decline in new infections and deaths this week compared with any other region. Not so for the U.K., which, as

you can see there, is in red, or Spain, which is holding steady.

Now we are going to hear from the Spanish Tourism Minister, Fernando Valdes who you see there in just a moment -- to show how difficult it is going to

be and to show how the reopening is not going to be easy. I spoke to the head of the European Tourism Association, who told me the recovery will be

more slow and like a slaw dawn than a sudden burst of light.


TOM JENKINS, CEO, EUROPEAN TOURISM ASSOCIATION: I think the short answer is that all one say is that this is not going to be a rapid return to

normality. There was a school of thought that we would see a return rather like the sun bursting out from behind a cloud at midday, I think the return

to normality is going to be like a long slow gradual dawn.

How we can accelerate that, I just don't know. I think we can hope that governments start persuading their populations that banning inbound traffic

is not the way forward. But with public opinion strongly in favor of blocking foreigners from coming in, even within Europe, politicians are

likely to lead where the psephologist tell them to go.

I don't have much optimism of things returning before September.

QUEST: See, I am going on assignment on Friday to Croatia. And I can tell you, just to do the transfer on the way out at London and then come back

via Frankfurt -- first of all, there aren't that many flights to begin with. And secondly, the logistical problems -- it is very difficult now,

isn't it, to travel, and it is not going to get much easier?

JENKINS: Well, I think it will get easier. The answer is, this will be over and when it is over, it is going to be a great time to travel to Europe.

You know, there is no -- one where you will be guaranteed of a welcome.

And secondly, there is no problem with space and overcrowding at the moment. Over tourism is last year's story.


QUEST: Spain opened last week to vaccinated British tourists and plans to reopen next week to vaccinated tourists from any country. The Minister is

with, Fernando Valdes, the Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism.

Minister, good to see you, sir. Thank you, Secretary of State for joining me. Firstly, are you having any second thoughts bearing in mind the British

rise in COVID cases as a result of one of the variants? Are you having any second thoughts about putting in new restrictions?


FERNANDO VALDES, SPANISH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TOURISM: Not at the moment. No, no. We took the restrictions in terms of how the pandemic evolved in

the U.K. We saw how the vaccination plan rolled out.

It is true that numbers, the figures related with a variant -- we keep very vigilant on those figures, and if needed -- and that's not the case at this

moment. If needed, we will be taking extra measures to try to control it

But today, we still find the U.K. a country that we can receive British tourists without no restrictions.

QUEST: It is two sides of a coin, though, isn't it? Because you are letting them in. But you really do need the U.K. government to take you off the

amber and put you on the green list so there is no quarantining on the way back. Similarly, the other two great countries that send you tourists,

Germany, and France, you need returning holiday makers to be able to go back without restriction.

VALDES: That is true. That is true. We are doing our best. Spain also, like other countries in the European Union, we are trying to reach our velocity

and our speed in terms of a vaccination plan. Right now, I should mention previously, all countries in the European Union, we are now doing well in

the rollout of our vaccination plans.

We expect that this situation, for example, figures today on notification rate insist that Spain is consistently is at least controlling the

pandemic. So I would suggest and I expect that in the next review, Spain has to be reconsidered in this list.

QUEST: On this question of tourism, do you think enough is being done? You heard the Commissioner today saying, "Lift the restriction, let's get

Schengen reopened again." Do you -- there was a lack of coordination during 2020. Are you more hopeful that you will be able to coordinate with your

European partners?

VALDES: Sure. Sure. I am. It is true that 2020 was problematic. We were trying to cope with a pandemic. We all learned about this process. But

right now, we do have the means. We do have the tools to reach to that mutual coordination between member states.

We just passed the regulations in terms of the digital certificate covering E.U. and we are trying to move ahead towards a summer that needs to be the

start of the -- restart of tourism flows.

QUEST: You heard Tom Jenkins there just before from the European Travel Association basically saying perhaps we had all been too optimistic. We

thought it was going to be a bright ray of sunshine coming over the clouds when actually it might be a lot slower and arguably more painful to get to

the point, say in mid-August, where things are smooth?

VALDES: Well, we are seeing the start of the recuperation. I'm sure it will take time to have a normal tourism experiences or flow as we had in 2019.

But we are only half of restoration. We are on the path of given certainty. And this is quite important in the European Union, certainty to tourists.

Right now, what people need are some certainty on the next months, and we are doing our best inside the E.U. and with our countries to give them that

certainty that they can fly and they can have a nice holiday with no problems, and that has to be a game changer in summer.

Only time will tell us how intense it is the recuperation.


QUEST: Minister, Secretary of State, thank you for joining us with that message of certainty. I appreciate your time tonight. Good see you. Thank

you, sir.

Bitcoin's wild ride continues. The cryptocurrency is up today. And U.S. regulators are planning a crackdown. We will talk about it after the break.



QUEST: After fitting family sizes for decades, China now says a baby shortage is threatening its economic growth, and Chinese state media now

reports Beijing will allow couples to have up to three children, that's part of the effort to ensure the country has enough younger workers to

support its growing older population. David Culver in Beijing for us tonight.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China easing its strict family planning policies, now allowing couples to have three children, this according to

state media and it is coming from the top.

The Chinese Communist Party's leadership including President Xi Jinping making the decision just three weeks after Beijing published its 2020

census. That census showed China's population was growing at its slowest rate in decades. This is more than just about altering family planning.

This signals at a pressing issue for China as the country tries to avert a demographic crisis.

A declining birth rate combined with increased life expectancy is causing fears that there will not be enough workers here to support the aging


What you have to take in mind about China is that economic stability and prosperity are deeply intertwined with social stability here.

State media did not say when this new policy regarding three children would be implemented.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


QUEST: The shortage of young workers poses a threat to China's economic ambition, which is to double its GDP by 2035 and in doing so, overtake the

United States. How this new policy will work and will it have the desired effect is far from clear.

The one-child policy lasted for decades as China struggled with overpopulation and poverty and a shift to cities and rural communities.

After 2015, the policy was increased to two children. However, as you can see from this chart in 2015, the rate continued to decline. Many Chinese

families simply find it unaffordable to have larger families. The cost of living is rising and the GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power is

just $17,000.00 a year in China. It's $65,000.00 in the United States.

William De Vijlder is the Group Chief Economist at BNP Paribas joins me from Belgium.


QUEST: What is the reason, the economic side of this move by China, because economists like you have been concerned for some time that the aging

population on one side of the scale cannot be met by the current decline in birth rates on the other.

WILLIAM DE VIJLDER, GROUP CHIEF ECONOMIST, BNP PARIBAS: I think the overriding concern is social stability. Like any aging economy, China is

heading for a pension timetable, and it means that they need to make sure that the economy is growing sufficiently quick.

Now, of course, we can count on technology or productivity gains, et cetera, but to have some more people around to do this would of course be

very helpful. The problem is that there's a difference between having the ambition and putting it into practice, and I think key issues in that

respect are, indeed it is expensive to raise children because Chinese people are setting very high standards, understandably.

But also, we need to think of systems that make it possible for women to have children and then to continue a successful career, nursery rooms and

things like that. There are a lot of European economies that are shown example in that respect. And I would expect that China will also find

inspiration in that. And this is kind of what they have hinted at to say that we will take measures to actually stimulate that.

QUEST: As they do this and we see, for example, the O.E.C.D. predicting the global economy is going to recover quite dramatically from the COVID

crisis. Where do you now see the strains within the system at the moment?

DE VIJLDER: Well, first and foremost, there is a supply strain. What we have seen is that -- and this is this is making this recession that we have

that we are coming out now in Europe, and that U.S. has already left earlier, it was very difficult.

Normally a recession, and as it will be caused by oil shocks are really the result of demand declining and collapsing, and what have you. And then it

takes quite a lot of time for the economy to go back on its feet again.

What you've seen here is that, at the start of 2020, the world economy was actually doing quite fine. So you had this very abnormal recession with

demand being shut off. But also supply shut off.

And then you put a lot of policy stimulus into the system, and then you open up because restrictions are lifted fortunately. And then it's really

powering ahead and supply simply cannot follow because demand is too vigorous.

That is the leading two concerns about inflation, as we have seen already building up in the U.S. and financial markets are repeating concern about

that and the O.E.C.D. is insisting strongly on that short term risk, I would say.

QUEST: Where do you stand on this inflation debate at the moment, sir? Are you with the Fed that this will just work its way out? Or are you with the

others like Larry Summers and co who say no, no, hang on, there's something much more serious here and inflation could be off to the races, where are


DE VIJLDER: I'm more on the Fed's camp, although not as optimistic as the Fed, I would say. But I think they have a point and I subscribe to that

that it should be a transient phenomenon. Eventually demand will be a large dynamic. By the fall of this year, we will already be talking about slowing

growth, still in a very good pace, but nevertheless, slowing supply will be catching up.

I think to have inflation moving up to a higher level and staying there at say around three percent year-over-year for several months or even quarters

in a row, what you need is you need a very tight labor market and significant wage increases that and this is a very big important if whereby

companies will be willing, courageous enough, confident enough to reflect these wage increases into prices and what we have seen in the previous

cyclical peak, both in Europe and in the U.S. that transmission from wage gains that were accelerating to consumer price inflation simply did not


QUEST: Sir, we thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. Thank you. I know we will talk more about this inflation issue in the days and weeks ahead.

It's been one of the most volatile months in the history of Bitcoin and it's thankfully drawing to a close if you're long on Bitcoin. The most

widely held cryptocurrency is marginally higher today, still under $37,000.00 and the price has recovered just after a weekend plunge.

A top U.S. currency official has hinted that tighter cryptocurrency is on its way. Clare Sebastian joins me now.

We know what China did, so what is the U.S. planning to do?


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're still in the early stages of this, Richard. We are in a moment where the regulators are

really sort of trying to catch up with this trend that has accelerated so much over the last year.

What he said, this is Michael Hsu, the acting Director of the -- the acting Comptroller of the Currency, one of the banking regulators here in the

U.S., he told "The Financial Times" that he wants more interagency coordination. He wants the main banking regulators to get together and sort

of come up with a plan, what he calls a regulatory perimeter around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

And it's interesting because he is sort of reversing what came before under the Trump administration. One of his recent predecessors was Brian Brooks,

who is now the CEO of Binance, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the U.S. and he sort of opened the door to more acceptance for cryptocurrencies

in the banking system.

This is something that it seems that Michael Hsu is now sort of putting under review, he told Congress a few weeks ago. So definitely a more

conservative view, but we don't exactly know what policies yet.

QUEST: Right. But the interesting thing is, what is Bitcoin's purpose? And the old, what is the value? What is value? Is it a store of value? Modicum

of exchange? What the purpose is, will very much depend on the purpose for which it is being used on the sort of regulation we will see.

SEBASTIAN: Right, whether you see it as an asset, whereby, you know, you should report your holdings to the tax authorities and pay capital gains,

or whether you see it as a currency and the currency they're having difficulty is really throughout the short history of Bitcoin, because it is

sort of so clunky to do transactions, it takes a long time, the fees can be quite high.

So most people right now are seeing it as a store of value. But honestly, Richard, it depends who you ask what it is for. There are those who are

sort of the key proponents of Bitcoin, who do see that it will have a use case in the future as sort of the future of money. They are the ones who

are saying that we could go back up to $100,000.00 even.

QUEST: Right. But Clare, am I missing the point here that we focus so much on Bitcoin, but there are all the others from Doge to Ether to all the

others that actually have far less spectacular volatility movements, but may ultimately be the asset class or the store of value that people seek.

SEBASTIAN: The thing is, Richard, yes, there are a lot of others and some of them, you know, may perhaps have more staying power. It's interesting,

you talk about Ethereum. They are transitioning to a different algorithm, which they say will be more environmentally friendly.

The climate and energy usage is something that Bitcoin has been roundly criticized for recently, and the reason why Elon Musk reversed course and

decided to suspend Bitcoin payments for cars, but they all move in lockstep at the moment, that's the interesting thing. The wild swings that we see in

Bitcoin are echoed and sometimes even amplified in the others like Ethereum, even like Dogecoin, which has been a wild ride of its own


So I don't think any of them right now are insulated from that volatility.

QUEST: Clare Sebastian in New York. Clare, thank you.

The latest numbers suggest that U.S. airports will see more travelers today for the Memorial holiday than at any time during the pandemic. It is the

end of the long weekend and airlines already reporting this will be the busiest day of the lot.

So getting people on the plane is one thing, keeping them happy is quite another. Delta Airlines is developing what it is calling a connected cabin,

where the WiFi never stops and the inflight TV is specifically tailored to you.

On my recent visit to Delta headquarters, I went to their head of brand experience at the flight product headquarters, and I learned about it'll be

a whole new era of flying.


BYRON MERRITT, VICE PRESIDENT OF BRAND EXPERIENCE DESIGN, DELTA AIR LINES: If you think about the experience of entertainment in the air, there's kind

of three or four eras, right? You think of the first era, it's like, bring your own. You're going to show up with a book or a deck of cards. That was

your in-flight entertainment. Right?

Then we went to, and I won't age you here, there was a screen at the bulkhead. And it was like one size fits all whatever was shown is what you

consumed. Right?

Then we went to the era of in-flight entertainment in your seat pack, and frankly, this is the era that we're in right now. Right? It's like, you've

got a number of things that you can choose from, and you choose your own content, right? But it's not specific to you, you're just choosing the


The third -- the fourth era is what we're really excited about, and frankly, what we're building towards and what we're calling this is the

connected cabin, right? When you've got high speed, ubiquitous, continuous Wi-Fi on board. You've got seatback entertainment with enhanced content on

board and you bring that connectivity between the customer, the seat pack and their devices, that unlocks a whole different world for us and

consumers. And that's what we're focused on.

This is the foundation of all of that, and that's what's really exciting.


QUEST: Airlines spend a huge amount of time, money and effort, branding the airline, giving it a tagline, giving it a look and a feel. Does it matter

in the sense? Don't we just want to get from A to B at a reasonable price?

MERRITT: Yes, it's more than that, though, and brand isn't only about how the airline looks, right? It's really about how the airline makes you feel,

and how we make you feel as to the service that we deliver and the means in which we deliver that.

And so that's incredibly important for us. That's incredibly important for our brands, to be honest with you, is that aspect of not just look and feel

of a brand, but how it literally makes you feel, right, and the services delivered in order to achieve that.

QUEST: What you're doing, is it an art? Or is it a science?

MERRITT: It is both, without a doubt. It is definitely an art and a science.

We're standing in the midst of it, right? There's a lot of science and engineering that goes behind this, right? But there's also a lot of thought

around what are we trying to do for the consumer? How do we make it new? How do we want them to feel as we are moving through our spaces and sitting

on our aircraft?


QUEST: Delta Airlines. As we continue tonight, a stunning move in the world of tennis from Naomi Osaka, the world's highest paid female athlete and

number one seed says she is dropping out of the French Open.

We get the reaction from the Director General of French Tennis Federation, in a moment.


QUEST: The tennis champion, Naomi Osaka who is also the world's highest paid female athlete says she is withdrawing from one of her sports biggest

events to protect her mental health.

The French Open has fined Osaka $15,000.00 on Sunday for avoiding a post- match press conference. The world's number two player said before the tournament, she wouldn't do them.

In a tweet on Monday, Osaka said she did not intend to create any controversy, adding she has apologized to the tournament and she wants to

work with officials to make things better for players and fans.


Christina Macfarlane is in London, she interviewed Naomi Osaka last year. First of all, we've got a lot of ground to cover, but your initial reaction

to the vaccine is pulled out, rather than force this issue further.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, I think regardless of the fallout, Richard, make no mistake. This is a hammer blow

for the French Open that the world number two, one of their biggest stars has withdrawn from the tournament.

And it's also a hammer blow for Naomi Osaka herself who has never won the French Open. But I have to say, it doesn't really come as a surprise, you

know, after she was hit with that $15,000 fine on Sunday after her round one match.

She was issued with an extremely strong statement from all four heads of the Grand Slams who came together collaboratively to tell her that if she

continued with this stance, she would not only face further fines, but suspensions as well, which would have meant or could have meant that after

our second round on Wednesday, she might have been forced to withdraw from the tournament. So serious implications for her, maybe she's got out ahead

of this.

And we've also seen as well, Richard, in the past couple of days that a number of top players have not really backed her stance. They've been asked

the questions in the press conferences about this and they've all said, you know, Raf Nadal, Egor Gerasimov, the two defending champions in particular,

that while they respect her opinion and her decision, they do not really support it because they see the role of the press as being vital,

especially at the big Grand Slam tournament.

So, in my view, you know, this was somewhat inevitable. The irony, of course, is that this is what Naomi Osaka wanted to avoid. She wanted to

avoid any scrutiny, she wanted to avoid bringing any attention to health -- to herself to protect her mental health. But of course, the opposite have

happened. And there's been this power struggle now at the top of the game between her and the leaders of the sports been playing out the last few


QUEST: Now, let's say -- I mean, the reality is athletes often have contractual, always have to do these interviews. They don't always agree on

whether it's fair, or how best to handle them and have a listen. The dynamic between players and press is often tense. Your (INAUDIBLE) after --

for example, listen to this after a loss at Wimbledon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you not have to look at yourself a little bit about how you cope with these big points, because it's all very well saying it's

a lot to do with your opponent. But there are key points when you perhaps could have done better.

JOHANNA KONTA, TENNIS PLAYER: Look at that. I mean, I don't think you need to pick on me in an -- in a harsh way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just asking you somebody who presumably wants to go on from here, learn from this and win a Grand Slam one day. Is not something

that you need?

KONTA: Please don't patronize me. I would have -- no, no, you are, in the way you're asking -- in the way you're asking your question. You have been

quite disrespectful. And you're patronizing me. I'm a professional competitor who did her best today. And that's all there is to that.


QUEST: You see? That's the point. I'm a professional competitor who did her best today. Now, the -- Osaka says, I'm not a natural public speaker. I've

suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. Open in '18. I'm introverted. I get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's

media. And I thought it best to exercise self-care and skip the press conference. Now a really impossible question for you. How are they going to

square this circle?

Because now they're dealing with a very -- I mean, they're dealing with a very different issue than somebody who says, well, just don't be bothered

copy what they're doing. And I mean, it's just (INAUDIBLE) and they're all being nasty to me. But the moment somebody says I've got mental health

issues about this, I have anxiety issues about this, now run a very different wicket to make some sports.

MACFARLANE: Absolutely. And it's a very serious issue that needs to be looked at and needs to be addressed better by the governing bodies. That

really was a revelation. Richard. You read out there in the statement just less than an hour ago, that she has been suffering with long bouts of

depression since 2018. I mean, I've been covering Naomi Osaka for many years, I had no idea that that was the case.

And let's just talk about Naomi Osaka for a minute about her motivation. I've interviewed her a couple of times, I've always found it to be a

genuine, thoughtful, conscientious type of person. So, when she came out ahead of this tournament said that she felt she was doing this, not just

for herself but for the good of other athletes as well who perhaps weren't in a financial position to do this.

I absolutely believed her 100 percent and there are many who would argue that the process of press conferences is quite archaic in this day and age

of social media. I mean, it stretches back as long as tennis has been around and we all know, we've all sat in press conferences, me, hundreds of

times at tennis. There have been some very stupid and inexperienced questions are sometimes.


MACFARLANE: The clip you just run there from Johanna Konta, I think she had every reason to defend herself. And she was absolutely right. But what I

would say is that is the exception, and not the rule, especially in the game of tennis. And there needs to be a balance drawn here between

protecting the mental health of athletes. And I would encourage the French Tennis Federation, the governing bodies to take what she has revealed here


And to reach out to her as they have tried to do and work together collaboratively now to find a solution because on the flip side, Richard,

as a journalist, I will say, we deserve also to be in the room. We deserve to ask our questions because the role of the press conference goes beyond

the game itself. You know, there are often times when we need to ask questions about more serious subjects, subjects like doping or match fixing

or domestic abuse.

I can tell you that in tennis, in the men's game, there have been very serious allegations against world number six, Alex Zverev of late about

questions over his conduct and in domestic abuse. So, to take away the press conference altogether is to do a disservice not just to journalists,

but to the sport itself. I mean, women's tennis, in particular has always struggled to be on an equal footing with the men.

The likes of Billie Jean King back in the 70s actually had to fight tooth and nail in order to get the media to come and focus on the women's game.

So, I don't think you can eradicate that altogether, it still plays a vital role in promoting women's tennis. The question though, is how do you

balance that? And I think there needs to be a more open conversation, not just in tennis, but in sport in general, as to how both parties can achieve

a kind of equilibrium that works.

QUEST: Right. But can they do that? Again, another impossible question for you. Highly unlikely that they can do it for the French Open. Can they do -

- can they come up with a formula that is workable by Wimbledon?

MACFARLANE: That is an impossible question. I would say there needs to be an -- this needs to be addressed before Wimbledon. There needs to be

perhaps a formula that is discussed and looked at whether that that is possible that will, you know, that that can be achieved where that's going

to satisfy the likes of Naomi Osaka who say she has suffered with mental health issues. I don't know.

I mean, this is a player who is very different from other players. She has, you know, she wears her heart on the sleeve. She is a very shy person. So,

you know, what applies to her does not apply across the board. So, that is going to be the challenge, frankly, and I don't have the answer to that

just yet.

QUEST: But when the answer is there, you will come back and talk to us about it. And give us your expert opinion. I thank you very much. We had

hoped -- we had hoped to speak to the director general the French Tennis Federation, but unfortunately, that was not possible.

Now not to Brazil. Protesters there have taken to the streets over President Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. Tens of thousands of people

marched across the country over the weekend. They are demanding better access to vaccines. CNN's Rafael Romo --


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Screaming at the top of their lungs people on the streets saved the leader on third country must

go. He was just one of the massive multicity protests held across Brazil this weekend against President Jair Bolsonaro.

It's our duty to fight for democracy this protester says. This government is no use to us. It doesn't serve the people and its political project is

to kill us.

The demonstrations against Bolsonaro in cities like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia are some of the largest since the beginning of the

pandemic. Demonstrators had two main demands, calling for the president's impeachment and getting better access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Impeachment now, Bolsonaro must go this protester said adding that more people will die if he stays in power.

Early in the pandemic the controversial right-wing former military officer downplayed COVID-19 (INAUDIBLE) a little flu. The President also questioned

the effectiveness of vaccines, and was often seen greeting crowds of supporters without a mask before contracting the virus himself.

(on camera): Brazil has been one of the hardest hit countries and is now facing a possible third wave of COVID-19 vaccination has been slow, less

than 10 percent of its total population of 210 million is fully inoculated. And the South American country currently has the third highest number of

infections after the United States and India.

(voice-over): Some protests say Bolsonaro's lack of action is tantamount to genocide. Cemeteries are full, refrigerators empty this banner reads. The

Brazilian Senate has opened an investigation into the President's handling of the pandemic. The protests happened only a week after a maskless

Bolsonaro led a motorcycle rally where he once again questioned the usefulness of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Rafael Romo, CNN.

QUEST: That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for the moment, I'll have the final numbers and the market numbers from Europe at the top of the hour. Before

that, have World Of Wonder.



QUEST: Hello. I'm Richard Quest. A dash to the bell which normally would have been the bell in two minutes time but the markets in the U.S. are

close to Memorial Day holiday. However, excuse me, markets in Europe weren't release all but London. Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich were down by

more than half a percent. The FTSE in London was closed for a bank holiday, as of course the major markets in America for Memorial Day.

The IBEX in Madrid was down nearly one percent, by 2.8 of a percent. The Spanish Secretary of State for tourism says his country will stay open to

British tourists, despite rising numbers of cases in the U.K. over the new coronavirus variants.

France and Germany have also tightened restrictions on who can enter from the U.K. because of the rising number of cases. Speaking to me from Madrid,

Fernando Valdes, he says while Spain is closely monitoring the situation he has no regrets about reopening to the British.


FERNANDO VALDES, SPANISH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TOURISM: We keep very vigilant on those figures and if needed, and that's not the case at the

moment. If needed, we will be taking extra measures to try to control it. But today we still find the U.K. a country that we can receive British

tourist without no restrictions.


QUEST: Crypto markets and Bitcoins set to close the month lower by more than 30 percent. It's higher today after the plunge over the weekend, 16

percent. A top U.S currency official has hinted that tighter crypto regulations is on its way. So that's the way the markets will look tomorrow

or is that's when trading starts again.


QUEST: I'm Richard Quest in New York. If you've had a holiday, I hope you enjoyed it. If not, it's back to work tomorrow, and whatever it is. I hope

it's profitable. "THE LEAD" with Pamela Brown starts right now.