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Quest Means Business

Biden Rules Out Travel Curbs and Lockdowns for Now; Major Averages Claw Back from Steep Friday Losses; Japan to Suspend all Arrivals of Foreign Nationals; Omicron Variant Detected In More Than Dozen Countries; New Variant Detected In More Than Dozen Countries; Biden Says He Doesn't Expect New Travel Bans Right Now. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 29, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: There is an hour to go of trading on Wall Street, start of a new week, and stocks roared back after Friday's

selloff. You'll see in a little while why they did so well and why they are holding the gains. We shall tantalizingly tease you with details in just a


The markets and the main events or maybe you don't have to wait that long. No new lockdowns. Investors are breathing a sigh of relief. President Biden

has ruled out tougher measures for now. However, more countries are imposing travel restrictions to slow omicron's spread. Japan and Israel are

shutting out all international travelers, but do they work?

And Twitter's Chief Executive, Jack Dorsey steps down from the company he founded after 15 years. Is he really gone this time?

Live from New York, on Monday, November the 29th. The year is nearly done. The year is nearly done. I am Richard Quest, and yes, I mean business.

Good evening, you can see the markets are in good fettle, and they are rallying sharply, and it is because President Biden said there are no plans

for lockdowns to fight the omicron variant, at least not in the United States. However, the President said it is only a matter of time before

omicron COVID cases do appear in the U.S.

Now the World Health Organization has warned of course, there is a global risk posed by the new variant, describing it as very high. However, after

meeting U.S. health officials, the U.S. president said omicron is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sooner or later, we're going to see cases of this new variant here in the United States. We'll

have to face this new threat just as we faced those that have come before it.

This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientist, and

we're learning more every single day and we will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion.

We have more tools today to fight the variant than we've ever had before, from vaccines to boosters to vaccines for Children, five years and older

and much more.


QUEST: The President said he will give a detailed strategy on Thursday for fighting COVID over the winter, which will rely on vaccinations and

boosters, not shutdowns or lockdowns. And that's the message the markets liked.

The Dow hit session highs, you're looking in early afternoon, after the President spoke, and all the major averages are up. We haven't wiped out

Friday's losses yet, and they are new travel restrictions, which continue to be imposed and re-imposed and openings are being delayed, and that is

taking its toll, of course.

But oil is up having lost 10 or 11 percent last week, on Friday. Now, it is up, by just over one percent. So not a huge amount for oil, but at least it

is holding its own.

Kaitlan Collins is our chief White House correspondent. She is with me now.

Tricky one, this, for the President, isn't it? He doesn't want to make himself a hostage to fortune by promising something that subsequently he

can't deliver, or the news goes in the wrong direction.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And of course, that is something they've dealt with in the past, Richard, back over the summer

when the President had that big celebration here at the White House for the Fourth of July. Of course, after that, the delta variant swept across the

United States and caused a lot of destruction in its path.

And so, the White House says that they have learned lessons from that and they are applying them here, and that is partially behind what you saw

happened last week when the President was first alerted by his team to this variant and the concerns about just how transmissible it could be, and that

time, the President moved so quickly to restrict travel.

What you are seeing going into effect today, not just for South Africa, but also for seven of its neighboring countries and that's something that the

White House is having to defend today because a lot of the leaders of those nations are upset with these restrictions saying that they feel like

because South African scientists found this and detected it and quickly alerted the global community, now, they are being punished by these travel



And so right now, they are essentially in place until the White House learns more about this variant. They predict that could be about a week,

maybe two weeks before they know how fast is it spreading? Is it causing more disease? And of course, the big question, does it evade vaccines?

And so when it comes to that question, Richard, the President says right now, no other measures need to be taken, but they are in contact with

Moderna, with Pfizer to talk about contingency plans in case they need boosters that are omicron specific.

QUEST: But isn't the real problem, as we look at it on a global level, and you put the U.S. into that context, that what is it -- 55 to 60 to 62

percent of the U.S. is fully vaccinated, still got a low vaccination rate, and the administration at its best efforts haven't really been able to

shift that higher.

COLLINS: Right. And it's not even just best efforts. They've also tried to go the route of mandates. Those are now tied up in courts. They are

still having -- they have the Federal mandate in place for those employees, but for when it comes to the one for private companies that have a hundred

employees, or so or more, that's still tied up in Courts and they are not even supposed to go into effect until January when it comes to the actual

vaccine requirement.

And so that is really a challenge for the White House, is that they are dealing with learning about this new variant, and the fact that they still

have a lot of people who not only aren't vaccinated, Richard, but also the ones who are vaccinated need to get their booster shot.

And I think that also raises questions at the timing of when the C.D.C. authorized boosters for everyone, because we know in those weeks that they

stalled doing so, there were some in the White House who wanted to go ahead and have that done. Now, of course, anyone can get a booster shot, but it

comes as they are also dealing with the concerns of this variant.

And so it does raise questions, if they had done that sooner, would they have been in a better position now as they look to track this variant?

QUEST: Kaitlan Collins is at the White House. Thank you. We're talking about the speed and slowing down the speed of the spread of omicron. More

than 40 countries worldwide now restrict travel from Southern Africa, where the variant first emerged.

Israel shut its borders to all foreign travelers; Japan similarly, all foreign nationals and that starts tomorrow. And Australia has tweaked its

reopening plans to do with student visas. So, it's going to tighten up somewhat the reopening that it was putting in place.

Paula Hancocks have the details from Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was just a matter of days ago that we were talking about living with COVID that so many

countries in Asia were starting to ease their border restrictions, they were moving away from a zero COVID policy and starting to open up. That has

now all come to a screeching halt because of this new variant.

Now for example, Japan this Monday has announced that they are going to suspend the entry of all new arrivals of foreign nationals. They say that

it is temporary, until they can figure out exactly what they're dealing with, with this new variant, the Prime Minister saying quote: "In order to

avoid the worst situation."

Australia, which has been fairly isolated with its strict border controls throughout the pandemic, they have started to open up, but they are putting

the next phase of opening up on hold. They were going to, from December 1st, allow international students, skilled workers, some eligible tourists

to go into the country, that is been pushed back now to December 15th. They have already identified five positive cases of this new variant.

And when you look at Hong Kong, they've reported a third case of the omicron variant. One country that's not having to make any changes is

China, and that's because China really has among the strictest border controls of any country in the world at this point. One infectious experts

saying, quote: "No major impact on China at this time."

So from talking about living with COVID, we are now seeing a very sharp about-turn for many of these Asian countries, all of the officials saying

the same thing, they just need to buy more time they feel to figure out exactly what they're dealing with.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


QUEST: The travel restrictions we've been talking about are controversial. The experts are questioning the effectiveness at stopping the variant

spread. After all, it has been detected, omicron in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, across Europe. The U.S. Travel Association is urging the White House

not to impose further restrictions, simply claiming they don't work.

The President said he didn't expect more bans at this point.

Roger Dow is the President of the U.S. Travel Association. Roger, it is always good to speak to you, shame it is on these sorts of times. But

listen, I guess the political reality, the real politic in us all, says we know why the politicians are putting in place the bans. They simply don't,

you know, they need to buy themselves time, while they work out just how horrible this is.


ROGER DOW, PRESIDENT, U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION: We agree. We've been in touch with the White House as you can imagine over the weekend, and I'm

encouraged by the President's comments that he doesn't expect these bans to go further, which is very important and we urge them to revisit this as

quickly as possible with the data and with the science.

QUEST: Even if they revisit, the fact that the ban has come back in again, is a return to geographical, if you're like determination, as opposed to

individual and based on vaccination and testing. I worry that we all go, it's going to be very difficult to turn back this tide.

DOW: Yes, we really are pushing for everyone to get vaccinated, it is so important. That said, everyone coming into the U.S. has to be vaccinated

and has to have a negative COVID test. So, I think that speaks for itself, and we've really got to watch this.

And another thing Richard is, South Africa represents less than one percent of our international travel. Now, every visitor is important. But

economically, we've just started the recovery, just started bring jobs back on November the 8th, and it would be a shame to turn this the other way


QUEST: Roger, how worried or concerned were you that 61 people -- passengers -- on those two flights out of South Africa from Cape Town and

Johannesburg, the KLM flights up to Schiphol, 61 -- ten percent of the flight proved to be positive?

DOW: Well, it's always concerning when anyone comes in positive. That's why we're very supportive of the administration's direction that you must

be fully vaccinated, and you must be tested negative before you arrive.

QUEST: But Roger, Roger, the requirement of testing. You could almost show your bus ticket when you check in on some of these flights. I mean, it is a

piece of paper that nobody checks really up on. It can be copied, it can be forged, it can be fabricated. It is not that there is no robustness to that


DOW: Well, the one good thing and you and I both know this, Richard is, air travel is so safe. We had over 400 million people fly in the United States

with virtually no COVID that we know of. The air gets changed every two minutes. It's one of the things -- you're much safer being on plane than

you are at the grocery store to be quite frank.

QUEST: As this moves forward, and I hear you saying no more, no more travel bans, or at least restrict them as much as possible. But it seems the

industry just about catches her breath, and then something else knocks it down.

DOW: No question about it. It's been a one step forward, two steps backwards. November 8th's announcement was a giant step forward. The

bookings have soared from U.K., E.U., around the world, and to go backwards is very dangerous, because we have to understand, this is just not

economics, it is the jobs, but it is the mental health, it is all those things together that we have to look at the whole health of the community,

in addition to just the vaccinated and those people that might test positively for COVID, but with very little or no symptoms.

QUEST: Now, I agree that the so-called COVID stocks, if you will, the ones that are -- those that are highly influenced by -- all the travel stocks

were down sharply on Friday, but I'm looking now, small recoveries amongst some of them, which does suggest there is a moment of reflection that sort

of people are at least entertaining, probably because of what the President said that this might not be as grim as we first thought.

DOW: I applaud the President's comments and I think we've got to follow the data and the science. Let's look how severe this is. Right now, it is

looking not to be that severe. Now, I'm not a doctor. But the bottom line, I think, we've got to watch the data and really understand what we're

dealing with here.

QUEST: Roger, it is always good to see you, sir. Thank you for helping us wade our way through this.

DOW: Always a pleasure.

QUEST: Thank you.

As we continue on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Twitter's Chief Executive has flown the coop, find out why Jack Dorsey is quitting the company he co-founded

and what comes next?



QUEST: Twitter has a new CEO after Jack Dorsey's surprise resignation. Now, Dorsey co-founded the company 15 years ago. He says the company is ready to

move forward without him. Appropriately, he made the announcement via a tweet.

He also announced that the Chief Technology Officer, the, CTO Parag Agarwal will take his place. Initially, Twitter's shares jumped as much as 10

percent. Now, as you can see, they're off two percent.

Paul La Monica is here. Let's clear this up. Dorsey returned to Twitter, even though he's got Foursquare and all those other things. He returned to

Twitter when the company was really in the toilet and the stock price was down. So what's changed, do you think that's led him to say, well, now is

the right time?

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, I think it's fascinating Richard that Dorsey did not mention in either his tweets or the memo there

that he shared as well or the company press release that what I think is happening now is that Twitter needs someone that can focus on product

innovation and new features and technology and have the conversation be less about censorship and politics and the kind of toxic nature of social


And don't forget, also Richard, Dorsey's net worth is mainly tied up in Square, not Twitter. He is a much larger investor in Square and maybe he

sees a more promising future ahead for Square, a company that can capitalize on digital payments, on Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies.

QUEST: Right. But that first point you mentioned, a new CEO. Parag is not going to be able to avoid those social media policy issues that come along,

however much he may wish to while he focuses on -- part of -- you know, he's going to have to focus on that.

LA MONICA: Yes, it's clearly going to be a part of the job whether or not he likes it or not. I think, Richard, what investors have to be hoping for

is that much in the same way that you had a guy like Satya Nadella come in and really transform Microsoft into a Cloud juggernaut, maybe Agarwal does

this at Twitter and helps make the conversation more about your big data and new products and offerings and less about politics, and I think that's

going to be something that will be very fascinating to watch.


QUEST: Finally, if we review Dorsey's second tenure as CEO, how do you view it?

LA MONICA: Yes, I mean, I think he took some bold moves, particularly with regards to the ban on then President Trump and Twitter. That was something

that obviously he then saw other social media companies follow suit. Very controversial. A lot of people are not going to agree with that decision.

It's going to be something that I think will be part of Dorsey's legacy.

You know, from the financial side, definitely, user growth has accelerated, but I think Twitter still struggles with this notion that it is a niche

offering that people like you and I, journalists are addicted to, but the average social media fan, they're on TikTok and YouTube and Instagram, not

on Twitter.

QUEST: That's exactly -- and yet, of course, it started off as mainly as a sort of "What are you doing Facebook-y type thingy" for families to keep in

touch over dinner.

Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

It's a very busy day. Joe Biden, the President is meeting top business leaders. Supply chain issues, including the demands of the Holiday season

for retail will be discussed. He has hailed the improved state of consumer spending compared to last year.


BIDEN: 4.5 million more Americans in the last year, and the dignity of a job. It also means that we're looking toward the Holiday season, we feel a

lot more like the ones we had in the past.

Consumer spending has recovered to where it was headed before the pandemic. Early estimates are that Black Friday sales are up nearly a third since

last year, and in store sales were up by even more than that, I think it was 40 some percent.


QUEST: Now, supply chain issues are forcing some restaurant chains to adjust their menus. Chipotle is one of those that have raised prices to

deal with higher commodity and labor costs to attract labor in difficult times.

It's all helped boost Chipotle's third quarter revenues to $2 billion, up more than 20 percent from same last year. Brian Niccol is the Chief

Executive of Chipotle. Brian, it is good to see you sir.

There are a couple of things we just need to get off, off the way first. How concerned are you at any new restrictions, mask mandate, requirements

in your restaurants as a result of the new variant?

BRIAN NICCOL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CHIPOTLE: Well, obviously, we're concerned and we're anxious to learn more about the latest variant. The, I guess,

fortunate news for us is we've been dealing with, you know, COVID, the delta variant. So we believe we've got the right health and wellness

protocols in place for our employees to stay safe, and we think we've got the right approaches to keep our customers safe.

So you know, whatever is thrown at us, we feel like we're prepared to utilize both our in-restaurant experiences, as well as our digital

experiences combined with our health and wellness protocols. So, we're anxious to learn more about the latest variant. And, you know, I'm hopeful

that the vaccines hold up and people do the right thing so that we can continue to move past this pandemic.

QUEST: You know, the market gave you a bit of a drubbing earlier in the year because you raised wages because, you know, there was a shortage of

staff and costs were going up. I thought that was a little bit unfair of investors since to an external, you can see quite the drop back earlier

this year, and again, after the summer, what were they telling you you've gone too far? And what's your -- what's your thought now?

NICCOL: Yes, look, I think obviously, we're always going to invest in our employees. So, if that means benefits, wages, education, career

development, we're going to invest in them. Fortunately, for our company, we've got really strong value proposition, which gives us pricing power.

You know, still, to this day, a chicken burrito, totally customized the way you want it is well below $9.00 in most parts of the country, and so, you

know, it's definitely below $10.00 everywhere. So, you know, we feel like we still provide tremendous quality of food, food with integrity,

customized exactly how you want.

And, you know, we're fortunate that we're in that position where we've got this strong value proposition that allows us to invest in our people,

invest in our food, and then ultimately invest in the experience of our customer, and we do it in a way that we think is reasonably priced.

QUEST: Right, but the fascinating part is everybody is now trying to eat your lunch. Pardon, the pun, in the sense that every new restaurant chain,

every boutique restaurant chain you're held up as being the example of what to do.

Now eventually, you know death by a thousand cuts, eventually all this snapping at your heels will take its toll, unless you've got a secret

weapon that you want to reveal.


NICCOL: Well, you know, look, I think our secret weapon is our people and our culture, and the good news for us is we have roughly about 3,000

restaurants. We think we can double that to 6,000. There is nobody that has got our purpose and our scale, and the fact that we're committed to food

with integrity, cultivating a better world through our food, and the experiences that we provide, I think is our offense, and we're going to

stay on that approach.

And it works for us today, it is going to work for us in the future. And, you know, I wish everybody good luck. But if I were a betting person, I'd

be betting on Chipotle.

QUEST: You wish everybody good luck, indeed. Well done, sir. One final question, is that a real window over your right shoulder? Is that really a


NICCOL: It is a real window. Yes.

QUEST: I mean, stunning view. If that was my office, I don't get any work done, I'd just be looking out of the window. Beautiful part of the world,

sir, thank you.

Brian, joining us from Newport Beach. Thank you, sir.

So vaccines and testing. Experts told us they were the two keys to getting out of the pandemic, the emerging omicron variant is proving them right.

This is a case of, "We told you so."


QUEST: The World Health Organization expects to know more this week about the risks imposed by the variant. On early evidence, it is spreading

quickly. It is two weeks less than since first detection and it is now the dominant strain in these places.

The W.H.O.'s technical lead told CNN's Christiane Amanpour more information is coming including on vaccines and their impact.



DR. MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION COVID-19 TECHNICAL LEAD: I think we'll get some information on transmissibility and severity in the

coming days, maybe a week or two. I do think it will take some time for us to get a better understanding of the impact on vaccines. Our estimate is

between two and four weeks.


QUEST: So now we come to they were right all along. Those experts at the beginning of the pandemic, told us what was going to happen. And what

happened with this variant is no surprise. There have been repeated warnings from the experts about the need to get more people vaccinated to

avoid exactly what's happened.


ANTHONY FAUCI CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: The best way to prevent the evolution of mutations is to suppress the

replication of the virus in the community, which means that we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as we possibly can.


QUEST: Now despite those warnings, the developing world where much of the developing world remains unvaccinated. In Africa, that's a classic question

of short supply. And many countries have vaccination rates of less than 14 percent. David McKenzie in Johannesburg now. I don't want to sort of say we

told you so all that saying we told you so but they did. They told us exactly. You know, I can go back to the beginning of this thing last year.

And they said, If you don't vaccinate everybody, eventually you'll get a mutation that will clobber you.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Richard. And you know, a virus is a wily opponent that always tries to find

an avenue open a door or pick a lock to try and mutate its way into continuing to be relevant. And it appears that this is what is happening,

as was predicted. And as the warning said that if you do not have widespread vaccinations, the virus will mutate.

We don't know exactly how this particular variant came about, of course, but the overall risk is there if you have a large and vaccinated

population, like you did in India with the emergence of the Delta variant, and possibly somewhere in southern Africa or in the rest of Africa, with

this variant. Vaccinations are key. A caveat to that, though, is, of course, South Africa has more vaccines than it's using right now.

And it's not just about vaccines at this point. It's also about getting them into people's arms, which can be about bolstering health systems and

all those big structural changes that are sometimes difficult to make. Richard?

QUEST: What about the 61 passengers that managed to get on planes from Johannesburg and Cape Town up to Schiphol? Now, even allowing for the fact

that some of them may not have required tests, predeparture tests, because they were national citizens, or Dutch citizens. That's an enormous number

of people to be getting on a plane planes who basically were positive.

MCKENZIE: And that has been one of the big question marks over the last few days is how that could happen. And you're right. Part of it may be that

there were several or more than several passengers who didn't require the test before they got on the plane, which you and I and I'm sure many, many

other people around the world have had to do with much rolling of eyes over the last few months.

It also potentially shows that there are breakthrough infections for people who have the vaccine from this particular variant. And that is one of the

assumptions. I'm hearing quite a lot from the scientists who are looking to study this in South Africa. But as you said at the introduction, it's going

to take several weeks to really figure this out. I think the big question is less whether maybe people have mild disease or mild virus symptoms after

being vaccinated.

The big question is, will there be severe symptoms, if one is vaccinated? There's a little bit of a glimmer of hope in South Africa right now. 80 or

90 percent of those in hospital and the number is still pretty low here are unvaccinated. And that shows that possibly there is still some efficacy

with the vaccines, which -- at least that's the consensus view at this point before hard answers come through. Richard?

QUEST: David, thank you. In Johannesburg. Of course, vaccinations aren't the only way to combat the pandemic. Cheap rapid at-home tests are still

not readily available in many countries. Early on again in the pandemic, the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom warned the virus couldn't be

stopped without robust testing.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR GENERAL: You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we

don't know who is infected.


ADHANOM: We have a simple message for all countries. Test, test, test. Test every suspected case.


QUEST: Dr. Saad Omer is the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health and with me now. I know that that nobody wants to say I told you so

or we are right. But everything that we are now experiencing, was predicted at the beginning of the pandemic, by people like yourself, who know about

how pandemics run. Testing was needed, vaccination was needed, we needed to vaccinate those who couldn't afford to vaccinate themselves.

DR. SAAD OMER, DIRECTOR, YALE INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH: That's true. And it doesn't give me -- it gives me no pleasure to say that we told you so to

the world, to policymakers, and to everyone else. This is incredibly sad. And this is not a failure of science. It's a failure of implementation.

It's a failure of governance that we are seeing right now.

QUEST: So, with your experience, you know, I saw one experts say, look, the way this is going to end, it'll just sort of peter out, it may be a year,

maybe two years, maybe three years. But eventually, it will just dwindle to the point where it is not a pandemic on endemic importance. Is that how you

see it?

OMER: This is one pathway. And -- but the problem with that is that it's not just going to vanish, all of a sudden, there will be a substantial cost

in terms of disease and that before we get to that point. In a lot of countries, in a lot of parts of the world, there is plenty of tinder that

can still catch fire. If you add up the best estimates of infection induced immunity, plus vaccine induced immunity.

And account for these new variants there's plenty of tinder that can catch fire. And before this pandemic stabilizes there will -- there can be a lot

of (INAUDIBLE) disease.

QUEST: But Doctor, I don't want to be depressing at the beginning of the week. There's enough depressing stuff around but there's really -- let's

take the United States. The place is awash with vaccine, it's coming out of the drains, it's just about everywhere to get a booster, an origin or this

or that or the other. On the country is barely 60, 62 to 63 percent fully vaccinated. There is, you know, Africa 14, 15, 13, 12 percent fully

vaccinated less than most cases. There is not reason to believe we won't continue to make the same mistake.

OMER: That's absolutely right. So when I say that, you know this fizzling out scenario and things becoming -- endemic scenarios has a cost. That is

not the only choice we have. So just like children's book where there is a, you know, some books have a choose your own adventure feature, we are in

that situation. We can choose our own adventure. We can increase vaccine supply, demand, delivery, acceptance.

We have the tools. And so, if we go down the path where there is not a sufficient supply, but also efforts to increase access and demand, we can

mitigate the impact of this pandemic even now.

QUEST: Ultimately, do you believe a Omicron is a game changer or will we sort of find out in two weeks time? Well, it's a bit nasty, but it's not as

bad as all that?

OMER: Well, we don't know. And I think scientists have been willing to say that. And the reason I'm saying that is that it this is not a situation

where the scientists know this. But, you know, this is a, you know, a lag in communication. There is a genuine level of uncertainty that is likely to

be resolved in the coming weeks. But at this point, we don't know how virulent it's going to be, we at least know that it's, you know, infectious

enough to spread fairly quickly around the world.

But whether it will displace Delta, for example, as the predominant variant in most countries, we don't know yet. We don't know the intensity of

disease it will cause will it be more or less than the Delta variant, another variant? So all of that, it remains to be no.

QUEST: Thank you, sir. We'll talk more. I appreciate it. Not on the depressing side, what we talked about but then, amid all this gloom, I'm

delighted that we end tonight with a happy bit of news from the QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Now, back in January, you may remember that our executive editor,

that's Tom on the right, proposed to Sara, his bride to be. It was on the bridge, as you can see, just by St. Paul's Cathedral.

Now have been used to report, the couple were married during a ceremony in London over the weekend. Congratulations. to both of them.


QUEST: Delighted to see them. There will be more ceremonies I guess and parties when we can all travel a bit more freely but congratulations to Tom

and Sarah. As for me, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for the moment. You and I will have -- we will have a dash for the closing bell at the top of the hour.

But please don't go afar. Coming up next, World or Wonder in St. Petersburg.


QUEST: I'm Richard Quest. Just over two minutes underneath the dash to the closing bell. It's going to be an update on the market. But here's what

happened today. President Biden said U.S. won't fight COVID with lockdowns this winter. And so as vaccinations and boosters are the way to contain the

emerging Omicron variant. The Dow hit session highs after the President's remarks. It dropped more than 900 points on Friday.

But as you can see, we've given back a few points over the course of the last hour or so. All the major averages are up. The Dow -- the NASDAQ has

done the best with tech stocks from Amazon to Tesla rallying. U.S. Travel Association says border restrictions are the wrong approach to containing

the variant. A CEO Roger Dow says they could do more harm than good.


ROGER DOW, PRESIDENT AND CEO, U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION: Bookings have soared from U.K., E.U. around the world. And to go backwards is very dangerous

because we have to understand this is just not economics. It's the jobs but it's a mental health. It's all those things together that we have to look

at the the whole health of the community in addition to just the vaccinated and those people that might test positively for COVID but with very little

or no symptoms.


QUEST: Look at the Dow and see the components and what's driving the rally. Tech stocks like Salesforce and IBM, they led the way. Helped by on

Salesforce case an upgrade on its price target. It was off six percent. United Healthcare also near the top, Merck is a (INAUDIBLE) city downgraded

the stock on trouble. The company is having with investigating HIV drug. That's where the markets are looking.

As you can see, Merck at the bottom, Salesforce at the top. A strong day which is interesting bearing in mind, the sharp falls on Friday and the

scintilla of optimism that whatever happens at least there won't be lockdowns in the United States. That is the dash of the bell. I'm Richard

Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours I hope it is profitable.