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Quest Means Business
W.H.O. Names New Variant of Concern as Omicron; U.S. to Restrict Travel from Southern Africa from Monday; Europe Respond To New COVID Variant; Ukraine's President Alleges Coup Plot Against Him; Macron Meets The Pope, Signs Treaty With Italy. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 26, 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: It was an early close for the stock markets for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. And as they did
close, they are some of the worst day since last October.
The Dow, pretty much at the bottom of the session, had been marginally worse, but it closed off two and a half percent, down 900 points, off over
a thousand at one point.
Those are the markets and if you look at the main events, it tells you all you need to know.
The new variant has a name. It's called on omicron and the markets don't like what they see.
Dozens of countries including the United States have moved on shutting off Southern Africa from the rest of the world.
And Europe's lockdown is getting tighter, The Netherlands announcing new restrictions.
Live from New York on Friday, it is the 26th of November. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.
Good evening. For most of the year, we've been preoccupied with the delta variant. Now, the omicron is the new variant for markets to worry about.
Omicron has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. It is a heavily mutated version of the coronavirus and
doctors say, it could carry a larger risk of reinfection.
We have been here before with delta, and tonight, what lessons have we learned? Global markets reacted sharply. Look at the three continents --
Asia, Europe and the United States. Governments moved quickly, blocking flights from South Africa, where the variant was first identified and
looking at other measures to slow the spread. The Dow, in its worst selloff in a year. European markets had their worst performance in June of last
year and the Nikkei, its five months. And in a week that started with worries about rising oil prices, it ends with a correction. Brent oil --
Brent crude and West Texas both down more than 10 percent in a day.
In the last hour, United States and Canada joined those countries imposing travel restrictions on Southern Africa. From Monday, travel from South
Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi to the U.S. will be restricted.
The rules, of course do not apply to American citizens and permanent residents. CNN's Kylie Atwood is at the State Department. So, the U.S. has
joined other countries in banning such travel.
I suspect the reasons though, when the countries themselves, I.A.T.A and the W.H.O. all say these bans are not productive.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Biden administration announcing that they are moving forth with this travel
restriction on South Africa and seven other countries close to South Africa, in Africa. They are doing this, they say, according to
administration officials out of an abundance of caution.
As you say, there are some who don't believe that these travel bans are really all that effective, but there are others who do believe that they
could be effective. We should note that this new COVID-19 variant hasn't come to the United States, at least not yet. And so, the idea, of course,
is that restricting travel from those countries where the variant, of course, initially found in South Africa was could potentially prevent it
from coming to the United States at all.
We should know that these travel restrictions that will go into place on Monday, however, won't impact Americans or green card holders here in the
United States. So, that's all to say that it could come through those folks who are coming back to the United States in the coming days or weeks or
months, of course, but we should also give context here.
QUEST: Yes, why --
ATWOOD: Yes, go ahead, Richard,
QUEST: Why on Monday? I mean, it's all so urgent. Why wait for the weekend to allow a few thousand more people who may have come from those countries
via other places, because that's another thing they're going to have to look at.
I mean, we don't know, does this apply -- this -- I'm assuming this is where you've been in the last 15 days, so to speak, rather than just direct
flight because there's almost no direct flights from these countries to the United States.
ATWOOD: Yes, that's right. I mean, I think in terms of your very legitimate question about why they're waiting more than 48 hours to apply these travel
restrictions, administration officials are saying that this is actually quite a quick turnaround in terms of actually getting these restrictions
into place given all the steps that they have to go through with T.S.A., security at the airports to make sure they are aware with all of these
airlines that are the ones that are bringing in these passengers here to the United States.
ATWOOD: We know the Biden administration has been talking with executives from those airlines over the course of the last day or so as they prepared
to make this announcement. So those preparations are underway.
But what they're saying is that it takes a little while to get them up and running, and they are doing it, frankly, you know, as quickly as they can
QUEST: Kylie Atwood, thank you, at the State Department. We will follow on.
The new variant is bringing back old patterns of stock trading. Stay-at- home stocks that have underperformed this month are among the few that ended considerably higher. Peloton having been absolutely cream-crackered
over recent months, has now sort of put-on five percent, and our old friend Zoom is back, up nearly six and three quarter percent.
Look at the other side, though, Delta, United, American, Hilton, Expedia -- these are what I always call the COVID stocks, and they are hit very hard,
particularly those airlines like United, which has extremely large global presence.
Matt Egan is here. I was interested as well, Matt Egan that the banks were down. Goldman was off. Citi was off. What's the rationale there?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, two reasons. One, banks are at the frontline of the economy. So if the economy slows down, it means people are -- they
are borrowing less money, they may not be paying back the loans that they have outstanding. That's not good for banks.
Also, because if this ends up dealing a blow to the economy, then it could actually delay the Central Banks from raising interest rates. The
expectation had been going into the last few days that the Fed would be raising interest rates twice next year. But if this new variant really
slows down the recovery, then maybe the Fed is not going to move as quickly, and that is not good for banks, because that's how they make money
on the difference between how much money they charge on loans and how much they pay out on deposits.
But Richard, I think there's two really important numbers that helps tell the story for today. One, oil prices down 13 percent, U.S. oil. That is the
worst day since April of 2020. That's a big deal because oil is very sensitive to the economy.
The other big number is 20 percent. That's how much Moderna was up. Best performer in the S&P 500. It is probably never a good sign when the best
performing stock in the stock market is a company that makes a life-saving vaccine.
So Richard, we see that the variant is already setting off shockwaves on Wall Street.
QUEST: Okay, so where do we go? Let's go -- let us have a bit of perspective here. Go back to 2020. The market fell very sharply, overdid
it, but then there was a sense of cataclysmic disaster, we simply did not know whether we were looking at the collapse of global economies.
We do know that there is not going to be a collapse of the global economy as a result of omicron. There may be dislocation and disruption, but we're
not 2020 again, are we?
EGAN: I think that's right, Richard. I certainly hope so. I think that you know, a lot of the experts that I'm talking to say, don't panic. Society
has learned so many lessons from March of 2020. We know that masks are effective. We know that companies can come up with vaccines and can
potentially tweak them. We know about social distancing. So in a lot of ways, we've been able to already live with COVID for a long time.
You think about the rise of some of these stay-at-home companies like Zoom and TelaDoc, and how we've -- society has already adapted in a lot of ways.
But, you know, we also know that parts of the economy are very sensitive to COVID.
Think about how the delta variant really dealt a blow to restaurant reservations here in the United States. Also, the travel sector, that's why
people really sold out of some of the travel stocks today. We saw hotels like Marriott take a big hit today, Carnival Cruise, Royal Caribbean, I
believe was the worst performer.
So the travel sector is the one that is most exposed here -- Richard.
QUEST: So Matt, humor me, if you will, and follow the logic and then tell me why I'm wrong. We have a scenario where inflation is high -- 30-year --
20-year or 30-year highs. We now have a variant which could slow down economic growth considerably in certain countries; possibly, even the
United States. We've got an issue of course, not raising rates, or at least not slowing down. Why are we not looking at a potential stagflation
EGAN: Well, we could be. I mean, listen, you're right. We have high inflation. The economy was picking up steam. I mean, Wall Street banks were
just upgrading their forecast. Jeffries was calling for nine percent GDP growth on an annual basis in the fourth quarter. That would have been the
second best since 1983.
EGAN: I think these new variant calls that into question and on the inflation front, you know on the one hand, if the economy slows down, then
that could ease the demand side of the equation on inflation, right? So that maybe could actually bring inflation down a bit.
But we do know from the delta variant and from the first wave of COVID, that these -- that these infections can actually make the supply chain
situation much worse. If workers are too sick to go into work in factories, then that could actually make the supply chain situation worse, which makes
So yes, I do think that the stagflation concern is a valid one, depending again, on how infectious this new variant is, and how effective the
vaccines are, and also what governments and society do in response.
QUEST: Which, of course, is exactly the level of uncertainty that has led to the market falling out of bed today. Thank you, sir. Have a good weekend
as best we can in difficult circumstances.
For those of us who followed it closely, and we all have, there is a sense of deja vu. Investors and governments are dusting off the delta variant
playbook. Unlike the old pandemic trade, a selloff of cyclical stocks by the stay-at-home stocks, we are seeing countries re-impose travel
restrictions, which the W.H.O. is still cautioning against.
Late last year, lockdowns and restrictions are coming in. Some of those were already on the cards before omicron came along. But even so, it looks
like we'll have more of them. And the grand plan, and the escape route is once again, vaccinating our way out of the mess.
All that's left to do after that is wait for the next variant to come along and get out the playbook again. Jeffrey Sachs is the chair of "The Lancets"
COVID-19 Commission, Professor at Columbia University.
Jeffrey, if there is one thing that we did with delta, roughly this time last year, when we really got to grips with it, if there is one thing that
we did as a result of delta that you will say we should not do again with omicron, what is it?
JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, the fact of the matter is, we've been waiting, waiting,
waiting for another variant. It arrived today.
It's not a huge surprise that a new variant of concern has arisen, it has seemed inevitable. What we did with delta is to believe that in any event,
vaccines would be the single magic bullet. So, even before omicron, as you were just saying, Richard, we had soaring caseloads. We had actually not
had the continuing break of transmission. Quite the contrary, countries were already locking down.
What we have not been able to do is find that middle path between --
QUEST: Okay, can I pause you, Jeffrey -- Jeffrey, may I just pause you, sir, because the President is speaking.
QUESTION: ... significantly today, what is your response to that?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Expect it. We always do when there is a COVID crisis.
QUESTION: But does it worry you at all?
BIDEN: Not at all.
QUESTION: Mr. President, why are we waiting until Monday, sir?
QUESTION: Why not an immediate ban? It is going --
QUESTION: Monday? But why not do it now like other countries has done?
BIDEN: Well, because that was a recommendation coming from my medical --
QUESTION: What do you say -- whether bans create an incentive for companies not come forward with new variants? You're penalized for doing so.
BIDEN: So that's ridiculous. You can't hide the variants. It is not like someone could hide the fact that there's a new variant. People are getting
sick more quickly.
QUESTION: Are going to be more careful now going into the Holidays? You've been telling to --
BIDEN: Look, I have. Here's the deal. Every American who has not been vaccinated should be responsible and be vaccinated, from age five years and
up, number one.
Number two, everyone eligible for the booster shots should get the booster shot immediately upon being eligible. That is a minimum that everyone
should be doing.
You know, we always talk about whether this is about freedom. I think it's a patriotic responsibility to do that. So, thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. President, have you asked the Fed to singularly focus on inflation, sir, especially with the new appointments?
BIDEN: I have talked to the Fed about a whole range of things, the monetary policy and inflation, and I have confidence that the appointees that I have
-- excuse me -- three more are going to reflect that concern.
QUESTION: When you make those appointments, sir --
QUESTION: Are you worried about the situation in Ukraine and the talk of ever (off-mic).
BIDEN: I am concerned. Look, we support Ukraine's territorial integrity. We support Ukraine's ability to govern itself, and we object to anything
remotely approaching ...
QUESTION: Have you (off-mic) of Putin? Are you going to?
BIDEN: In all probability. Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. President, are you thinking of any new mandates since your others were caught in court?
QUEST: All right, a smorgasbord, if you like, oops, hang on.
BIDEN: Not at the moment. Thank you.
QUEST: That, "No, not at the moment" was to a question of are you going to do any new mandates, "No, not at the moment."
A bit of a smorgasbord of issues there. Fed, he says, he is confident in the two appointments so far. That's Lael Brainard as Vice Chair, Jay Powell
was Chairman. He says, he has got three more that will be coming along. On Ukraine, he said, we support the -- we support Ukraine and the integrity --
the sovereign integrity of Ukraine.
And on the issue of not banning countries because they may not declare variants. He described that as ridiculous saying you can't hide a variant.
Jeffrey Sachs is still with me. But the issue remains, Look, when I saw that we were talking today, the one thing I really focus on, is what you
have said on many occasions to me, no one is safe until everyone is safe. And surely what we are seeing today is an example of exactly that.
Africa has not had the vaccines, it's not had the help it needed, and as a result, the rest of us are now once again in this situation.
SACHS: Yes, delta came out of an unvaccinated India. Omicron is coming out of a deeply under vaccinated South Africa. So predictable. So sad.
So amazing, by the way that the major countries cannot sit around the table and address this problem. Because many of us have been saying for months,
there will be a new variant, you cannot leave hundreds of millions of people without vaccinations.
I'm not saying that had there been the vaccinations, we would not have new variants, but we are making them far more likely by this absolutely bizarre
behavior. The two bizarre behaviors are one, the belief that once there is some level of immunization, just open up everything. That's what everybody
wants in our societies, just open up everything. And then we see the rates of cases and deaths soaring again, that's number one.
Second is this idea that the vaccines are for us, when we have some extras, others can have them. This is a reckless process also, because if we were
serious, we would plan the supply increases and ensure that what W.H.O. has been saying for months, we need, for example, 40 percent coverage of every
country's population by the end of December, ridiculous. It's not going to happen, because nobody planned for it.
QUEST: Jeffrey, as you survey the landscape tonight, are you concerned?
SACHS: Am I concerned? I'm concerned about everything because our public governance is not good almost anywhere. We are not being reasonable,
responsible, and globally cooperative to solve these problems, and we were already in a difficult situation as of yesterday, before omicron arrived on
the scene. We had problems with instability with countries falling off the map in failure to recover. Now everything is much more complicated, but in
a way, we could have expected new rounds of complication. We're just not preparing for them.
QUEST: Jeffrey Sachs. Jeffrey, we will talk on happier occasions, I hope.
SACHS: Thank you.
QUEST: Thank you. Good to see you as always. Sir, thank you.
It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight. South Africa's Tourism Minister says she is disappointed at the new travel restrictions on her country. We'll be in
Johannesburg after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SETH BERKLEY, CEO, GAVI, THE VACCINE ALLIANCE: We believe the world isn't safe, the economies won't come back unless everyone is safe.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The only way we're going to completely stop mutants is if we stop
this throughout the world.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The hard truth is, none of us are safe until a vast majority of people are vaccinated. As long as that virus
is replicating somewhere, it is going to be mutating, and if it is mutating, it could come back to bite us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: That was on April the 27th. The mantra has been the same since this time last year, "No one is safe, until everyone is safe." And then those
calls have gone unheeded, and now, a new variant has spooked the markets.
This is the map showing who has vaccinated their populations. So, Africa almost stands alone, just over 20 percent of South Africans are fully
vaccinated. It makes it one of the best performers in all of Sub Saharan Africa. But look at the rest. I mean, what can one say?
David McKenzie is in Johannesburg for us tonight. Is it, David -- before we get into the significance of the virus, I just want to briefly understand,
is it lack of money to buy, distribution, availability, and logistics, political will or anti-vaxxers? Why has Africa got such a low level
compared to everybody else?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, I think that the last, anti-vaxxers element is probably the least important one.
But all the others are very relevant. For many, many months, we saw a lack of supply into the African continent because rich countries, were hoarding
the vaccines for their own populations. Then you also had the crisis in India, when delta emerged and the export of vaccines from the world's
biggest supplier was curtailed and shut off, and that was a key element of the vaccines going to poorer countries.
Now, in much of the continent, the situation hasn't changed. In South Africa, it's slightly different though. We have relatively low vaccine
levels here, better than the rest of the continent. But plenty of vaccines are available and people are just not taking them fast enough -- Richard.
QUEST: So this new variant, what will be the effect of countries closing off Southern Africa? I'm assuming, of course, it's going to be -- have you
been in one of these countries in the last 14 days, because as I say, the number of direct air routes is limited. So, this is going to restrict
people who have been in those countries over recent days or weeks.
MCKENZIE: Well, I think so. You know, certainly the people who are here, who are rushing maybe to get back, that's one level of impact, and there
will be some personal impact, but the economic impact, you can really predict is going to be devastating. Even if in a few days or weeks, it is
seen that this variant is not as bad as people fear and that is still a possibility that the damage is already done. And it's more about incoming
travelers to this region, where you'll have that catastrophic effect.
The U.K. is the biggest trading partner of South Africa, some of the biggest numbers of tourists come from the U.K. and they were the first ones
out the gate to hit the red button for the Red List banning seven countries and it seemed soon after that, other countries followed suit.
MCKENZIE: The South African officials are calling it a knee-jerk reaction, unfortunate, and maybe too quick. But you know, when some countries do it,
others countries will do it, and there is of course, concerns that this variant could be damaging, but it's too early to tell.
QUEST: And that is the issue we will discuss. David McKenzie, thank you.
To Dr. Krishna Udayakumar who is the Director of Duke University's Global Health Innovation Center. The doctor joins us from North Carolina tonight.
Look at the maps, sir, and you'll see already first detected in South Africa. Belgium is the first European country to confirm, Hong Kong,
Botswana, Israel. Do you believe it's already -- this virus is already the strain in the United States and across large parts of Europe?
DR. KRISHNA UDAYAKUMAR, DIRECTOR, DUKE UNIVERSITY'S GLOBAL HEALTH INNOVATION CENTER: We have a good reason to believe that it has already
spread much more broadly than what we are seeing through testing right now. What we've seen over and over for almost the last two years, we're doing
too little too late on all aspects, whether it's vaccination or surveillance.
We should applaud the work that the scientists in South Africa have done to raise the flag on this variant so quickly, but there is no way that these
types of crude travel bans are going to have the impact that we all hoped that they might.
QUEST: So we're back to where we were last year, and in that sense, what do you say needs to be done if crude travel bans don't work? And I mean, the
clearest evidence of that is Australia. If crude travel bans don't work, what needs to happen now, and fast, to prevent omicron from taking over?
UDAYAKUMAR: Yes, first, we have to get much better at testing and surveillance so that we actually have a better picture closer to real time
of what is happening with this new variant of concern, omicron, and that in the context of what is happening scientifically, so we need to wait a week
or two, to get better epidemiological data to understand what's actually happening.
We're drawing really broad conclusions right now based on very little data. So, let's let the science play out, but be very sensitive to what has to
happen in the meantime. So not big travel bans, but really clear about increasing rates of vaccination, where they are needed the most, but also
doing much better testing and surveillance, and making sure we can get a handle on the virus quickly.
QUEST: Well, but I'm trying to understand what mistakes did we make with delta that we shouldn't make now?
UDAYAKUMAR: The first mistake, unfortunately, we've already made again, which is the vaccine inequity around the world. The fact that we can
continue to vaccinate high percent of our population in high income countries and boost many of our people with third doses, while the entire
continent of Africa has only seven percent of its population fully vaccinated is the first mistake.
That's what we saw in India, when we saw delta develop. That's what we're seeing now in Southern Africa, with omicron develop. So we've continued to
repeat that mistake. What we can't do now is the rest of it, so we do need to make sure that vaccines can get to places where they're needed, because
that's our best solution in the intermediate term.
Our own analysis in the past week show that the G7 and European countries by the end of this year, will have something in the order of 800 million
doses beyond what they'll need, and all of the low income and lower middle income countries need about 650 million doses more than they have right
QUEST: So the reality is, though, for the whole of 2020, and most of 2021, certainly since the vaccinations have been around, we have been talking on
this program and everyone else about the vaccine inequality and it hasn't changed.
Why do you think it's going to change? Why do you think politicians who have to get re-elected are not going to continue with the, you know, I'm
all right, Jack, pull up the ladder mentality?
UDAYAKUMAR: Well, we know that the humanitarian reasons as dire as they are, aren't changing the situation. What we're starting to see now are
what's happening with the markets today, recognition that the new variant, which was very predictable is having dire consequences in terms of our own
health, of our own travel, of trade, and our own economic productivity in high income countries so this is very much about self-interest and about
National Security for every country in addition to the humanitarian argument.
QUEST: Doctor, I'm grateful. Thank you for your time tonight. We'll talk more next week. Thank you sir.
(INAUDIBLE) of Europe but it's not only dealing with Omicron but also lockdowns because the situation in Europe is deteriorating. We've talked
about it a great deal over the course of the week. We'll do so after the break new lockdowns in Europe. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
QUEST: Hello. I'm Richard Quest. It's a Friday and there's lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue. The former Finnish Prime Minister Alex
Stubb's with me about the new variants and how it complicates a bleak, COVID crisis in Europe. U.K. and France continue to feud over how to
prevent more migrant deaths following earlier tragic in the Channel. We will discuss it after the news. This is CNN and here the news always comes
The President of Ukraine says his government has uncovered a planned coup attempt. Volodymyr Zelensky says a group of Ukrainians and Russians are
plotting to overthrow him and his government and his government has audio recordings to prove it. Allegations come amid tight heightened tensions
between Ukraine and Russia, as Moscow continues its military buildup near the border.
The French President Emmanuel Macron has held private talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday. Officials haven't disclosed what they
talked about but President Macron said he wanted to address the pandemic migration and Lebanon earlier. And President Macron signed a treaty with
the Italian Prime Minister to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
QUEST: Merck says its anti-COVID drug Molnupiravir is not as effective as it first suggested. It says new data shows the pill is just 30 percent
efficacy. Last month it was said to be 50 percent. Merck says the data still supports a favorable benefit risk assessment. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration has held public meetings on this on Tuesday. U.S. market reopened after Thanksgiving. Today's Black Friday, attritional very big
But the Dow was off more than 1000 points at its lowest. It dropped 900 in the first 20 minutes. It was the worst session for the index since October
of last year. Look at Europe. Travel restrictions, they led the way in response to the variant. And that hit travel stick stocks hard. Airbus
obviously, IAGs' British Airways -- IAG's British Airways, Lingus and Iberia, SSP group is down 15-1/2 percent.
The entire FTSE, 350 travel and leisure sector had its worst day since Pfizer announced its vaccine worked last November. That's the SSP Group.
The WHO is still cautioning against travel restrictions. That's not stopped Europe from acting as not over share reports from London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As concerns mounts over the spread of a new coronavirus variant identified as B.1.1.529, countries
across Europe are beginning to impose travel restrictions on South Africa where the variant was first identified and other neighboring countries in
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The European Commission has today proposed to member states to activate the emergency
brake on travel from countries in Southern African and other countries affected to limit the spread of the new variant. All air travel to these
countries should be suspended. They should be suspended until we have a clearer understanding about the danger posed by this new variant.
BASHIR: The U.K. was one of the first countries to make the announcement.
SAJID JAVID, U.K. SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HEALTH: We will be suspending all flights from six, seven African countries and we will add in those
countries to the travel red list. Those countries are South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini and Zimbabwe and Botswana.
BASHIR: The move prompted swift criticism from South Africa, its foreign ministry tweeting that the U.K.'s decision seemed rushed. Germany, Italy,
France and Austria are among the several countries that have announced travel bans in the hopes of stemming the spread of this new variant.
Despite a warning from the World Health Organization against hasty travel restrictions.
CHRISTIAN LINDMEIER. WHO SPOKESPERSON: The countries can do a lot already in terms of surveillance and sequencing, and work together with affected
countries or globally to work scientifically, to fight this variety and to understand more about it so that we know how to go about. So at this point
again, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against and taking a risk based on the scientific approach.
BASHIR: But with cases now confirmed in several places, including Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong, there are growing concerns over both the
transmissibility of the variant and its impact on vaccine efficacy. And with winter ahead, world leaders are acting quickly to stop the situation
from once again spiraling out of control. Nada Bashir, CNN London.
QUEST: The situation is evolving by the hour in Europe. The Netherlands is now -- announced it will reimpose a partial lockdown for the next three
weeks. It starts on Sunday, when non-essential shops and businesses like theaters and gyms will close at 5:0 p.m. Alex Stubb is with me and former
prime minister of Finland now director of the European University Institute. From your soundings amongst government leaders. How concerned
are they now tonight?
ALEXANDER STUBB, FORMER FINNISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm sure all of them are quite concerned, of course, we have a little bit of a better understanding
on how to deal with these kinds of situations. I mean, the situation is not that dissimilar to what we had right before Christmas last year with the
alpha variant coming from the U.K. And then of course, later on the Delta variant coming from India.
So the measures that were taken quite swiftly actually were recommended by the European Commission or slough underline who we just heard from. And
then implemented by the member states. I think it's the right move to do at this stage before we know more.
QUEST: And the other WHO says don't, they say don't close off these countries, there are plenty of ways to get rounded. It's a -- it's a futile
gesture which as we know, from Australia, and the Delta variant doesn't work.
STUBB: Yes, sure. I mean, I have to get two observations to make here. The first one is that I think all of us should by now understand that this
pandemic, this virus is transnational. It just doesn't recognize any national borders whatsoever.
STUBB: And from that I think follows secondly that we simply need to cooperate and coordinate these types of situations. And if I push it a
little bit forward, I think I hope that a lot of the rich countries now understand that these vaccines needs to be distributed around the world.
But, you know, it's not over until everyone has been vaccinated.
QUEST: Let's talk about what happens in the leadership of Europe now. It looks like Angela Merkel will be gone next month. And now we have
chancellor in waiting jolts waiting. Who leads Europe? Who speaks? Who is the -- in your view, who is now the dominant leader in Europe?
STUBB: I think it's impossible to say and I, you know, it's sort of the eternal question, who's leading and to be honest, I think the European
Union, like many other places are governed by a patchwork system. There's some people that take leadership. I'm sure, Emmanuel Macron, will be very
strong on the European side. I would also argue that the country where I'm sitting at the moment is led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
He'll be very strong and then we'll probably see leadership from the European Commission in the form Ursula von der Leyen. But it's not that
simple. You know, power is really about a balance. So you can't say that there's one European leader.
QUEST: Isn't that exactly the problem, Alex? That they're, you know, the reality is, at some particular point, there has to be leadership. Not --
and that is often, you know, Angela Merkel, like it or not, was the dominant leader for the last numerous years. And the removal of her creates
a vacuum. And as, you know, power abhors a vacuum.
STUBB: Yes, that's for sure. I think, you know, democracy in that sense is disruptive, of course, when you have stability, at least relative stability
in the form of Angela Merkel for 16 years that is going to then post questions. I mean, I would argue that she was the leader of the free world
say from 2016 onwards during the era of Donald Trump. And now we move towards new times. And when that vacuum of power, as you mentioned, emerge
as someone is going to try to fill it, then I think, you know, the person who is going to do it there in Europe right now is Emmanuel Macron.
Then, of course, with all of Schultz, it's going to take time for him to establish himself but, you know, don't count him out. This is what politics
is all about.
SAVIDGE: Should we be worried that Viktor Orban of Hungary is now once Merkel goes, he's the longest serving leader? And with that comes a great
deal of influence. Unfortunately, his country is under various budgetary procedures with the commission, along with Poland.
STUBB: Yes. No, I mean, I wouldn't be so worried. I wouldn't be worried if I was Viktor Orban, or I would be worried if I was sitting in the
leadership of the Polish government. And the reason for that is that I think the alliance that has been formed in Germany at the moment has
obviously given much perhaps stronger messages. And you must remember that Angela Merkel's aim was to unite Europe and keep things intact.
I think the new government is going to be much tougher in Hungary and Poland that we have seen. So in that sense, if you look at it from the
liberal perspective, wouldn't be -- that worried if you look at it from the conservative illiberal perspective, I'd be more worried.
QUEST: Alexander Stubb, have a good weekend, sir. I'm grateful. Thank you. France will hold an emergency meeting this weekend over migrant crossings
in the English Channel. Now the British government has been disinvited, which is somewhat strange as they are on the other side of the Channel. We
need to understand what's going on. After the break.
QUEST: France has uninvited the British Home Secretary took a weekend meeting on the migrant crisis and English Channel of the diplomatic spat
between the two countries escalates rapidly. It comes as men, women and children are still waiting in makeshift camps on the French coast. CNN
Cyril Vanier reports from Calais.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice over): Migrants huddling under the rain. A father and his little girl no more than eight years old
seeking some warmth. This stretch of road tucked behind a highway is one of several migrant encampments dotted near France's northern coast. 21-year-
old geography student Ahmed (ph) says he arrived three days ago from Afghanistan.
So this is where you live? His earthly possessions this tent and a few blankets. His final destination he hopes the United Kingdom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By boat is the only option.
VANIER: You know some people died trying to cross the other day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is normal for us. Here not Turkish border, Iran border. Much more people dying there. Nobody care.
VANIER: Consider his five-month odyssey through Asia, Turkey, the Balkans and Europe. Thousands of kilometers on foot, in trucks and trains crossing
borders illegally. And it becomes clear Ahmed won't stop now. Nor will the others here. Some 200 migrants fleeing Iraq, Iran, the world's trouble
spots. There are sometimes offered shelter by government agencies. But even those who go only use it as a temporary reprieve.
In recent years, migrants used to jump onto trucks bound for England. With security tightened this is now the last leg of their journey. The English
Channel, cargo ships, strong winds and near-freezing temperatures. Dangerous but so close to England, A mere 50 kilometers away. French police
do patrol these beaches. However, a local officer acknowledged to CNN that they don't have enough resources to monitor every inch of coastline and the
smugglers take advantage.
This is one of the boats that was provided by smugglers to a group of migrants. Clearly this one was intercepted by law enforcement. They're
about 10 meters long. They can fit several dozen people. And you can see they're fairly rudimentary. I mean this is the bottom of the boat pretty
easy to make just wooden planks. Local police tell us often these are buried and then when the time comes, migrants can inflate them fairly
easily. Several dozen people get in and head out to sea in that direction.
Eight thousands migrants have been rescued at sea since the beginning of the year according to French authorities in operations like this one.
Strewn along the beach, engines a jerry can and personal belongings
There's even in the inside pocket here a ring. Now the people all this belongs to at this stage either they crossed the Channel and they're in
England or they failed in their back in France. Or they're dead. Cyril Vanier, CNN, near Calais, France.
QUEST: This is CNN.
QUEST: Well, this, of course is all before Omnicom came on the horizon. But aviation companies were in more optimistic mood. At last week's (INAUDIBLE)
I guess they have a different version now. The focus was on sustainable futures for the industries. CNN's Kim Kelaita spoke to chief executives on
their road to recovery as part of Think Big.
KIM KELAITA, CNN PRODUCER: Big crowds, one of the greenest planes. One of the largest wide body aircraft ever produced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's fabulous. See the record number airplanes on display.
KELAITA: It's no surprise that many are excited about the future of aviation here at the Dubai Air Show from emerging technology and innovation
to the eye-catching Boeing 777X, we're seeing it all here but the buzzword this year is all about sustainability.
Lufthansa, for instance announced it has repaid its last pandemic loan to the German government. Now a reduction of emissions is issue number one.
LARS KROEPLIN, HEAD OF CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY STRATEGY, LUFTHANSA GROUP: We have now 175 aircraft on order until the end of the decade because new
aircraft of this the quickest way of reducing CO2 emissions.
KELAITA: Etihad Airways calls its Boeing 787 The Green Liner. According to their chief executive, it can operate 72 percent more efficiently compared
to two years ago. So how have they done it? More use of SAF, Sustainable Aviation Fuel and optimizing the flight plan for efficient routes with a
more direct descent and landing.
TONY DOUGLAS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ETIHAD AIRWAYS: I would offer the view that in 10 years time in an air show like this, it will demonstrate
who's been the winners and the losers. The winners will be the ones who've done the most on commercial aviation sustainability.
KELAITA: The 777X is Boeing's new jumbo plane.
SAM CHUI, AVIATION AND TRAVEL ENTHUSIAST: It's the biggest twin engine, large wide body airplane Boeing has produced. This is the first major air
show this airplane has attended.
KELAITA: The 777X is late to the show. The first few flights happened only months before the industry was hit by the pandemic and the demand for big
body planes dropped. In fact these days bigger is not necessarily better. The profitable trend now is smaller fuel efficient planes.
CHUI: After the pandemic a lot of airplane are could not fly due to lack of demand.
KELAITA: The Airbus A321 new engine option variant is a single aisle aircraft. It's increased range music can do longer flights with fewer
passengers at cheaper costs.
KELAITA: The popularity of this change is evident. The owners of frontier and wiz airlines bought hundreds of these planes.
CHIU: So seeing a 258 plane otter is a boost to the confidence to the industry.
KELAITA: The industry has solved its first problem by getting back in the air. Now it's concentrating on solving its second problem by staying
profitable and at the same time protecting the planet. Kim Kelaita, CNN, Dubai.
CHURCH: We'll take a profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment, nobody is safe until everyone is safe. We have said that on this program a million times I guess saying it a
million times. And now the chickens have come home to roost. And you Omicron, a variant out of Africa. And already we are following the Delta
playbook. Number one, let's stop travel from that part of the world. Number two, let's put in restrictions. Number three, let's look at lock downs, all
the usual things.
So far, I don't hear anybody saying let's say more vaccine. Well, maybe because we don't really know whether this vaccine is going to current
vaccines will work against on record. It's going to be a few more weeks before we get real hard data on what that means to. That's why today I'd
see many of my friends, my colleagues have an error in air face of -- oh, here we go again. And you may be feeling exactly the same thing.
Here we go again, I thought vaccines were going to do it. I thought Delta would be over. I thought we would be fine. I thought we could get back to
holidays. Well, nobody's safe until everybody's safe. I'm going in circles, I realized that. But the truth is there is a look of wariness about us that
just simply won't go away and it will not. Not for some time to come. Not that I want to depress you. There is a big difference between Omnicon and
Delta, that big difference.
Many more of us are vaccinated and as far as we can tell. Well, at least that's a benefit. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard
Quest in New York. The closing bell of course happened hours ago. The Dow was off the best part of 900 points but that's what we saw, whenever you're
up during the hours ahead I hope it is profitable.