Return to Transcripts main page
Quest Means Business
Omicron Causing Major Disruption across U.K.; France Bans Tourists over Omicron Fears; Top Broadway Shows Cancel Performances; Kenya Airways Adds Routes amid Vaccine Passport Debate; Billionaire to Invest in Botswana COVID-19 Vaccine Center; Call to Earth: Waste to Energy in Copenhagen; Profitable Moment. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired December 16, 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 ANCHOR: There is an hour to go of trading on Wall Street, and the Dow may be slightly higher, but it has been a tough
day. The Dow is now down. It is off a hundred points, the NASDAQ is off two percent, so tech is being creamed. We'll talk to Matt Egan amongst other
things and find out the reasons why.
The markets and the main events of the day that we've all been watching.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer tells me the government is not telling people to cancel plans despite record COVID cases. An exclusive
interview with Rishi Sunak on this program.
France is cutting off British tourists as Europe tightens its travel rules and a veritable smorgasbord of Central Bank decisions. I'll ask Paul
Krugman if they are behind or ahead of the curve. Not every day that you get a chance to say smorgasbord and Central Banks in the same breath.
We are live from London. It is Thursday, December the 16th. I'm Richard Quest, and in London, yes, I mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, the U.K. and its economy are feeling the impact of a new COVID surge. It is raising concerns around the world about whether they
too are ready for omicron.
The U.K. has reported 88,000 new virus cases on Thursday. That's 10,000 more than the day before and it is a record, day after day of fresh
records. Omicron is now nearly 12,000 of the overall cases and it is causing alarm and disruption.
Firstly, France has banned tourists from the United Kingdom and British hospitality firms say their Holiday business has dried up. There are
cancellations all over the place, desperate need of financial support.
Nine Premier League games have now been postponed in the past week and multiple teams are reporting outbreaks of the virus amongst various people,
whilst in the bustling heart of London, popular Western shows like "The Lion King" have had to cancel performances.
In a CNN exclusive, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak told me the government is not telling people to cancel plans nor is it
closing down businesses. The Chancellor is preparing to hold talks with business leaders after cutting short a controversial official trip to
He told me the current situation cannot be compared to how things have played out previously.
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Well, I think it's important to recognize as the Prime Minister said earlier today that the
situation is very different to what we've done and encountered before. The government is not telling people to cancel things, it is not closing down
But what we are saying is that there are easy and effective things we can all do to protect ourselves, for example, wearing masks, ensuring good
ventilation, and most importantly, right now going and getting your booster because that is the best protection we have.
QUEST: And in terms of being in California, whatever the intention of the trip, it's now being derided back home. Do you wish you hadn't gone?
SUNAK: Oh, this is a long planned trip where I'm meeting with dozens of industry leaders and investors from the technology space to talk to them
about bringing investment and jobs and new products and services to the U.K.
For example, I just met with a company this morning that's trialing a new blood test for early cancer screening with the N.H.S., but of course, I
understand the concerns of businesses at the moment given everything that is going on. That's why I've been in touch with hospitality industry
leaders today. My team are hosting roundtables and talking to them, and it is why I've curtailed my trip, and I will be leaving earlier tonight and
I'll be back in the U.K. tomorrow.
QUEST: On this issue of more support for -- particularly, bearing in mind, let's take for example France, which has basically locked off the
U.K. as you'll be aware with new COVID restrictions. I understand an element of wait and see, but I guess I'm pushing you to say, you are
prepared to do more, if necessary.
SUNAK: I think as we've demonstrated throughout this crisis, the government has always stood ready and willing to support the country as required. I
think our track record on that is very good and the thing that we are most focused on now is for everyone to go and get their booster. We are in the
midst of an unprecedented drive to get boosters to as many people as possible, because that is our best possible protection against omicron, and
that is why there is an enormous national effort, and I would urge everyone to go and do that.
QUEST: Can you understand though listening to businesses, listening to that, they sort of feel left out on their own a bit. They are feeling like
overnight, mass cancellations at a time of the busiest time of the year and they're looking for further help.
SUNAK: I understand the concerns of the hospitality industry, and of course, that's why we have supported the industry continuously throughout
the pandemic and what I'd say to everyone in the industry is there is support in place at the moment that can help, for example, this year, all
the way through to next spring, people are paying only around a quarter of their normal business rates bills, so that's an enormous boost to cash
Secondly, the hospitality industry is still benefiting from a lower rate of VAT, all the way through to next spring as well. And thirdly, we have cash
that we have provided to local councils, about a quarter of a billion pounds is still available, and that can be distributed to companies as
required, and my immediate priority is to make sure that that money gets out the door to those who need it as quickly as possible.
QUEST: Now, let's talk about the wider economy. The Bank of England raised rates. It is -- we knew it was coming. It came sooner than perhaps
some people had thought, but it was there anyway.
If you had been -- I know you're going to tell me that the MPC is independent, but I'll go for it anyway. If you had been on the MPC as a
voting member, would you have gone with Silvana Tenreyro and held off for a few more months?
SUNAK: Well, in common with many other countries around the world, the U.K. is of course experiencing a period of higher inflation as we grapple with
many of the same global supply chain challenges as other nations.
Now, responsibility for monetary policy is of course that at the independent Central Bank. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on
that. But what I'd say is people should be reassured that the Bank of England's track record in managing inflation is very good.
And also, we, in the government are also supporting families with the cost of living through the winter, most recently cutting taxes for millions of
the lowest paid, which will put an extra thousand pounds in the pockets of those people over the next 12 months.
QUEST: The British Chancellor of the Exchequer to show you how omicron is now starting to become transnational in its effect.
France has closed its borders to British tourists because of the U.K.'s omicron outbreak. It's a new restriction and it begins in just a few hours
from now. The French government says people coming from the U.K. will need a compelling reason to visit.
Tourism and vacations don't include that. People who meet the exceptions must still test negative for COVID before and after their arrival.
Salma Abdelaziz is in London. Now, I'm not -- I don't fully understand the logic here because you can still go, you can -- there are good testing
regimes. So, what is this idea of restricting it to essential travel bearing in mind Omicron is already in France?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: I mean, that is always the question with travel restrictions, right, is when we saw this argument with South Africa
is that to some extent, they are unscientific in the sense that the omicron variant is, as you said, already in Mainland Europe, already in France.
For the French government's part, they would say, Richard, that they're just trying to slow that tide, slow that wave of omicron. Who knows how
likely that will be? But I know it already broke hearts today not because everyone plans to go to France for the Holidays, but it begins to indicate
that there might be travel restrictions against the U.K. during the Holiday period.
So people wringing their hands and wondering, am I going to make it home for Christmas? And now, I have to say your interview there with the
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak, of course, talking about booster jabs. Boosters as being the way out of this huge wave of the omicron variant, but
we have to highlight this is a race, Richard, it is a race against one of the fastest variants we have seen, and it as a race that the U.K. right now
appears to be losing.
I know anecdotally, many friends who were scheduled for booster shots just a couple of days in a couple of days and tested positive for the virus. So,
you're looking at these record breaking numbers, two days now of record breaking numbers. Those are the positive cases we know of and yes, there is
this huge national effort to get boosted, but is it going to be in time?
QUEST: Right, Salma, the core question surely is, are we yet seeing an increase in hospitalizations? Are we seeing a concomitant effect of this?
Because the fear is for not just in the U.K. but across elsewhere, the healthcare structure.
ABDELAZIZ: You're absolutely right, Richard, it is all about hospitalizations. We know that hospitalizations have increased by 10
percent in seven days. That doesn't sound like a lot and the number of people in hospital is not that many. But here is what the medical experts
will tell you.
There is a lag between positive cases and hospitalizations. It usually takes about two weeks for positive cases to translate into people actually
showing up in hospital. And there's a lot we don't know about omicron, right? We are being told that it could potentially be milder, so
potentially, you wouldn't see as many people in hospital, but you're still looking at very huge case numbers.
So there is still a ratio of people there that you would expect would end up in hospital, and there's only a finite number of beds. So yes, we are
doing a bit of predicting. We are kind of looking at these numbers and trying to determine what will happen in a couple of weeks. But yes, it is
all about those finite number of beds.
QUEST: Salma who is watching over that story for us, thank you.
In the United States, rising COVID cases are disrupting in the U.S. where the delta variant is still predominant.
Some Broadway shows have had to cancel performances this week, for example, "Hamilton," "Aladdin," and all others have had breakthrough cases, even
though everyone in the theater must be vaccinated. A worrying sign, Broadway, which basically has only just reopened after being closed for so
And Apple has now postponed the reopening of its offices indefinitely. It is giving all corporate and retail employees $1,000.00 to buy equipment for
their home offices.
Matt Egan is here with us. Matt, there is a lot to talk about, but before we go further with any of that, do duty for me, please on the markets.
The Dow 30, I mean, major, major stocks. I'm just going to look at the 30, forgive me looking away whilst I'm talking to you.
You've got -- when you see Verizon at the top, you know it's a bad day. But Apple is down sharply. Boeing is down. Amazon is off two and a half
percent. Major shares -- the banks are up, but on other issues. Microsoft is off. NVIDIA is up. What's going on?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Richard, I think the real action is over in the NASDAQ where we are we're seeing much heavier selling something like three
percent loss on the day. Remember, 24 hours ago, we were talking about how Wall Street was really, really happy with the Fed's decision to speed up
tapering and pencil in some rate hikes for next year.
I guess, Wall Street is no longer all that happy with that. I think that, you know, we often see the knee-jerk reaction from investors around major
policy shifts from the Federal Reserve, even minor policy shifts. We see an initial reaction and then we see a kind of a broader, longer lasting
And I think, you know, I think it makes sense for the markets to pull back here. I mean, there is a lot going on here. The Fed is trying to pull
something off that is very difficult. They are trying to land the plane here, trying to cool off inflation, historic inflation, without tipping the
economy into recession, also without you know, spooking the market.
So there is a lot going on, and it makes sense for the markets to pull back.
QUEST: Okay, Matt, let's talk quickly about these -- what is happening on Broadway and the effect. I mean, omicron -- this is delta that's causing
the problem. Omicron hasn't even properly taken off in the United States. I don't think we're talking lockdowns, but further restrictions.
EGAN: Yes. No lockdowns, further restrictions and just headaches. This is very, very disruptive. We're talking about Apple having to delay their
office reopening indefinitely. We heard that from Ford, the Wall Street bank, Jeffries, told everyone to work from home, shut down their travel
because they had dozens of positive cases.
And Broadway, yes, you know, they just reopened a few months ago. They really got crushed by COVID, and now they have shows being canceled by
these positive tests from audience members and cast members, really disruptive to the shows and to the cast members, but also the broader
Think about all the restaurants and bars and hotels and pizzerias that rely on Broadway shows. They got crushed during COVID. They're getting hit right
And you know, I talked to Andy Slavitt, the former COVID adviser to President Biden and he said, listen, he thinks 2022 is going to be a rough
year, at least in the beginning because of omicron. He said the problem is that omicron is just spreading so rapidly that it is going to be very
He said that in instances where normally you might have two or three positive cases in an office, now, you might have 15 to 20 or 30 because of
just how contagious it is, Richard.
QUEST: Matt Egan who is in New York, and we'll talk more. Thank you, sir.
When we come back, Paul Krugman is with us, our next guest, on the question of inflation. Paul wrote today "inflation is an emotional subject. No other
topic I write about generates as much hate mail." We'll ask him about that after the break.
QUEST: Europe and the U.K. have gone their separate ways, it seems, when it comes to monetary policy. The Bank of England today raised its base
interest rate to a quarter percent. It has been at record over a 10th of a percent for more than a year. U.K.'s inflation is at its highest level in
more than a decade.
In Frankfurt, the E.C.B. says it will hold rates steady through next year. Christine Lagarde, the President said the European economy still has room
to grow whilst warning inflation would persist in the near term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE LAGARDE, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: The Euro area economy continues to recover despite a slowdown in the near term. The sharp
increase in energy prices and demand outpacing constrained supply in some sectors are pushing up inflation.
Inflation will remain above our target for most of '22, but is likely to ease in the course of next year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now three big policy decisions have shown there is no single way, no one shot for Central Banks. The Fed sped up its tapering and signaled
through the dot-plot three rate hikes next year to combat U.S. inflation.
The Bank of England become the first major Central Bank to raise rates since the beginning of the pandemic. High inflation and slow growth
arguably put the U.K. at risk of stagflation. And whilst the European Central Bank is keeping rates steady, it is cutting back pandemic stimulus
over the next few months and Christine Lagarde signaled changes in quantitative easing.
And so to the Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, who joins us now. I was quoting from your article this morning on inflation. And are you
satisfied with the Central Bank responses, bearing in mind they will probably be behind the curve?
PAUL KRUGMAN, NOBEL-PRIZE WINNING ECONOMIST: Well, I think the Fed is now pretty much on the curve, and I haven't quite figured out about the BoE or
the E.C.B. just yet but you know, the Fed has -- it is a modest response. When all is said and done, the amount of hullabaloo over what looks like 75
basis points of interest rate hikes over the course of next year. That seems odd -- you know, it's not it's not a very big policy change and the
tapering I don't think makes any difference at all.
So look, I would have said, you know, be ready to possibly raise rates without exactly saying that that's the default; instead, the Fed is -- the
default has to raise rates unless they get reasons not to.
But, I'm okay with where they are right now.
QUEST: And if that is -- if you are okay with it, then we factor in this slowing growth because of omicron, and I agree. Omicron is the unknown. I
mean, it could turn out to be nothing and it could turn out to be something dreadful, which would require an entirely new set of monetary and fiscal
KRUGMAN: Of course, these are really weird times. I mean, the extent -- and everything has happened so fast. I mean, we're living on COVID time.
Developments that we would normally expect to unfold over years sometimes happen in the course of weeks now. So any pre-commitment fuels, if you
wanted any Central Bank to say, this is exactly what we're going to do day by day for the next 365 days, anyone who promises that should be fired,
because we don't know.
QUEST: And since we don't know, Paul, what do you think is the wisest policy response at the moment?
KRUGMAN: I think, look, the Fed is looking at the inflation that has happened. They still -- you know, they banned the T word, they won't say
"transitory," but they still think that a lot of this is temporary factors.
I've been looking for new words. Fugacious turns out to be a synonym for transitory, so the Fed still thinks inflation is fugacious, but they're not
sure. And so they are tapping gently on the brakes, which seems like a wise policy, and then, we may know a lot more, particularly about omicron in a
couple of months, and maybe they'll want to slam the brakes harder or maybe they'll want to take their foot off the brake pedal. And, you know, that's
-- flexibility is the name of the game now.
QUEST: So, if -- how will we know whether it is fugacious or not? Well, I mean, we will end up looking in the rearview mirror, won't we? It's only
with time that you can say, well, actually, this was very sticky, and it Fed through to inflationary expectations and therefore into wage and wage
KRUGMAN: I'm paying a lot of attention to anecdotes, surveys -- what is the Beige Book telling us about why people are raising prices? What are the New
York Fed inflation expectations surveys telling us?
So far, the thing that I'm worried about, that everyone should be worried about is does this turn into a 70s type, self-sustaining expectations
So far, there is basically no hint of that in what anybody is saying. That is not something you can determine just by looking at a price index, it is
something you need to ask what is driving people's behavior? What do they say?
You know, the unique thing, and now how about actually talking to people? And I think talking to people is the way to do it right now.
QUEST: There is not a lot of talking going on, on Capitol Hill, in terms of trying to get either, you know -- I mean, obviously, the infrastructure
plan, but then you've got the Build Back Better, and you've got this massive plan, still, it is unlikely to be passed -- the social care plan,
by the end of the year, this must have you fuming.
KRUGMAN: Yes, it has me fuming because it has nothing to do with inflation, right? This is not -- whatever is happening on this has no bearing on it.
And the return -- we have -- if there's one -- we have a much -- we have overwhelming evidence that helping children is enormously productive. It's
one of the best investments even in sheer GDP terms that we can make as a society.
We have overwhelming evidence that reducing pollution, not just climate change, but all kinds of pollution has enormous returns. So, we are sitting
on things that are -- I mean, infrastructure is really important.
But these things are even more important than infrastructure, and it is all hanging in the balance because of this sort of prep -- you know, people
looking for excuses not to do good things.
QUEST: As we look to next year, if -- I know it is pessimistic, I'll take the accusation, but if something did turn nasty, and Central
Banks/governments were required for further dramatic stimulus. Do they have the ammunition?
The Fed's balance sheet is very bloated. The fiscal debt is extremely high. The political environment is poisonous beyond belief. Would they be able to
do something next year if needed?
KRUGMAN: Only the politics matters. The debt -- you know, the debt number is huge, but real interest rates are negative. The burden of servicing the
debt is actually zilch. It is actually negative.
The Fed balance sheet, you know, it has no bearing on anything. It really doesn't matter. It is not going to cause any harm, but political paralysis.
If we enter something that requires a fiscal response, certainly in the United States, hard to imagine that's going to happen.
Just maybe -- just possibly, you can get the two recalcitrant Democratic senators to sign on. But barring that, there will be no Republican votes
for anything no matter what. I mean, the world could be ending and they wouldn't vote for protecting it.
QUEST: Well, I refuse to end an interview with you talking about the end of the world. So allow me to offer you the moment for a bit of optimism,
sir. Give me some optimism for 2022.
KRUGMAN: Oh, you know, I do think inflation is going to come down. I do think that we are going to be seeing -- I mean, you know, step back for a
moment and we are having the supply chain thing and all of that stuff, but we've actually had an extraordinarily good economic recovery.
I mean, we have gotten prime-age employment back almost to where it was before with incredible speed.
If you think about where we were a year and a half ago, when a lot of people were thinking that there was going to be a lost decade because of
COVID. Well, that's not going to happen. It's going to be -- there has been a tremendous amount of pain and a lot of lives lost and a lot of damage,
but we are actually getting back to a successful economy far faster than almost anyone thought was possible.
And that's -- you know, don't knock it. We all focus on the bad stuff, but there is an amazing amount of good stuff going on right now.
QUEST: We're grateful to have a good Holiday season and we look forward to talking to you in the New Year.
KRUGMAN: Same to you.
QUEST: Keep well, sir. Thank you.
Paul Krugman there, and for no other reason, fugacious -- introducing us to that this evening.
The omicron variant and the new travel bans might put some companies into a holding pattern, but not Kenya Airways expanding. The problem is to where -
- we will bring forward what their policy is.
I'll talk to the Chief Executive just ahead.
It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Good evening.
QUEST (voice-over): Hello, I'm Richard Quest, more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
The CEO of Kenya Airways discusses the Omicron variant and his industry's hopes for the recovery for Africa.
The WHO says Africa may not be fully vaccinated for two years.
The billionaire Patrick CEO Soon-Shiong says he can help with plans to manufacture in Africa.
It's all still to come, this is CNN and, here, the facts and the news always come first.
QUEST (voice-over): Haiti says the last 12 hostages kidnapped in October have been released, among the group Christian Aid Ministries. They say its
prayers have been answered.
Typhoon Rai is lashing the Philippines. Tens of thousands have been evacuated from the region. Coastal areas on alert for storm surges up to 4
Hackers are trying to explore a critical flaw found in a popular open source software used by websites and apps. Millions around the world could
be vulnerable. The Java based software is called Log4j, used by IBM, Apple and Google.
QUEST: Prepare for the worst but still plan for the future. That's what most airlines are doing as they try to put in place new routes they hope
will become sustainable. Kenya Airways, starting this week, it's adding direct flights from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, but new rules on vaccine
passports are due to go into effect next week, although there are legal issues with that in Kenya.
And Kenya reported its first Omicron case on Wednesday. The chief executive of Kenya Airways is with me now from Nairobi.
I understand you're doing your best, trying to get things started again. But it really is two steps forward, one step back.
ALLAN KILAVUKA, CEO, KENYA AIRWAYS: Good evening, Richard, and thank you for inviting me. And that's completely correct. I mean, it's been a very,
very difficult journey for us.
As soon as you think recovery is kicked off, Omicron strikes and you're back, two steps back like you say. But we're doing our best, like you say.
We're seeing signs of recovery, particularly in November, December. And we still are optimistic that 2022 is going to be OK, at least better than
QUEST: The reality -- and this comes forward with your deal with South Africa -- is that Africa needs pan-continental airlines in the same way as
Europe does, same way as Australia, although that's one country, same as the United States. It needs a single market.
Why have you tied up with South Africa?
KILAVUKA: Well, because, Richard, this is a natural feat. If you look at geopositions of Kenya and South Africa, we in the east and them in the
south, those are very complementary because the two halves sitting in east and south of the continent.
The thinking is if we can pair up with another one in the west in terms of an all around three-help strategy, trying to conserve African airspace. So
very natural. Despite the challenges we've had, very strong brands, very renowned airlines in Africa. So we think it's a natural feat.
QUEST: What about, for example, Rwanda, which I agree, very small, but it does have the backing of Qatar Airways.
And with the right, if you like, fresh sheet of paper, could become a real competitor?
KILAVUKA: Well, we respect all airlines and competitors but I think Africa aviation is growing, it's the fastest growing aviation space in the world.
And it's a space for everybody. We also think that we have a valuable proposition to offer. Rwanda is relatively young but it's been there for a
QUEST: So at the end of the day, your success -- I mean let's be blunt about this. Your success depends on political deals.
In other words, can the skies truly be opened up in Africa?
Otherwise, your government is going to be looking to have to subsidize your airline for the foreseeable future.
KILAVUKA: Actually, Richard, the way I see it, the way we see it is this: we need to have enough scale, need to scale up. And that's why we're
thinking about consolidation because the African aviation space is so fragmented.
It's more probably inefficient airlines (ph) so what we need is to consolidate aviation space and that's a discussion we're having with South
Africa. So the airline is big enough to cover the number of seats we have. We only have 200 million seats to share amongst so many airlines.
QUEST: Right. So I like where you're going there, sir.
But it begs the question, do you think African governments would go along with consolidation -- so you got two models, haven't you, the SAS model,
where it's national governments and then it becomes extremely difficult over who owns what.
Or you've got the IAG Lufthansa group model, where you basically all pool in but it's a private company.
Which do you think you can get done in Africa?
KILAVUKA: We believe the IAG model is the one that will work, primarily because I think it's much easier to implement. Secondly, it's because the
different countries want to see flying in and out of the country so there's a lot of nationalism involved.
So I think it's much easier to implement, not easy but easier to implement and also much more palatable, particularly to different countries that want
to join this new scheme.
QUEST: Sir, I wish you well in this, many have tried. It will be a turbulent ride but good luck, sir, and thank you for talking to us. Wish
you well for the new year. Thank you.
KILAVUKA: Thank you very much.
QUEST: Another 2.5 years before Africa hits the 70 percent vaccination target. Billionaire (INAUDIBLE) thinks it's the right place to invest in
COVID vaccine production. Patrick Soon-Shiong in just a moment.
QUEST: Call to Earth and a story about rubbish.
Remember when I was in Denmark and visiting and we were talking then about various different aspects of how society is moving forward?
Well, now, it's all about how waste gets turned into something useful, as I saw for myself in the pioneering Copenhagen facility.
QUEST (voice-over): There it is, said to be one of the most efficient waste to energy plants in the world, this amazing structure transforms
about half of Copenhagen's rubbish into heat and power.
Efficiency to one side.
Where else can you slalom down a hill full of garbage?
It's part of the philosophy of the famed Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels. Even if the product is practical, the packaging doesn't have to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to our production facility.
This is good, old-fashioned, modern technology, pipes, tubes, steam, noise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.
QUEST (voice-over): It all starts here, up to 300 waste trucks stop every day to feed the belly of the beast and then turn up the heat. It's dropped
into the furnace. The fire heats water to create steam. The steam is converted to energy.
Et voila, you have enough power to heat about 150,000 local homes and that's is not even the point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The purpose of this place is waste treatment. We're not here to produce energy. We're here to provide waste treatment solutions.
Citizens all over the world, every day, buy products. And those products come with an environmental bill. We want to minimize this bill of the
QUEST (voice-over): What he is saying, of course, is they are cleaning up our mess because someone has to. And, thankfully, they are good at it.
The claim to fame is right here in the smoke. It's filtered from nearly all contaminants. It is monitored and measured 24/7. All that's left is steam
So when we talk about "the cleanest energy in the world," quote-unquote, we're talking about the ability to shove the cleanest smoke at the top?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are talking about the ability to, when you shove something up in the stack, that it does not contain any hazardous materials
QUEST: Have you succeeded?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have, actually. We're very proud of that.
QUEST: Carbon capture, the Holy Grail.
QUEST (voice-over): The next project is using a pioneering mechanical process that claims to capture 90 percent to 95 percent of the carbon
emissions from the plant before then being released into the atmosphere.
The Danish capital's ambition is to become the world's first carbon neutral city.
QUEST: Can you be CO2 neutral or negative by 2025?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that is the aim, that is the goal and that's what we are working on.
QUEST (voice-over): A game changer?
Yes, if it works. Taking it all in from a breathless ascent, get a glimpse not only of the city below but of the future of waste management for all of
us. And the picture is pretty.
QUEST: Absolutely fascinating and it didn't smell.
I know what you're thinking, did it smell?
In bits but not as much as you'd expect. Your showcased stories, inspiring stories like this. And let us know what you're doing. Join in the debate,
QUEST: Breaking news you'll want to know, vaccine advisers at America's CDC have voted to change their recommendations of vaccines, now saying
Pfizer and Moderna are preferred over the J&J vaccine as it relates to people over the age of 18.
The World Health Organization says Africa might not be vaccinated up to 70 percent until August of 2024. So far, only six African nations have hit the
year-end target of 40 percent fully vaccinated. And nearly 20 nations have hit the 10 percent mark.
Patrick Soon-Shiong has a plan to help. The South African born bioscientist is investing in a COVID-19 and vaccine center in Botswana.
Always good to see you, sir. The reality is -- and let's not discuss just how bad the situation is. Let's focus on how you make it better.
How quickly can you make it better?
DR. PATRICK SOON-SHIONG, BIOSCIENTIST: Well, let's, Richard, we've been saying this from the outset. Until you have a vaccine that stops
transmission, you won't stop this pandemic. And happily we've been pursuing, doggedly, in developing multiple vaccine platforms we believe
will stop transmission.
Whether it be an RNA platform, as you've heard from Moderna, Pfizer, or whether it be a subunit protein platform, a adjuvant platform. So we
decided to bring these platforms into Africa and scale very rapidly.
Quietly we've been doing this now in South Africa and Botswana, our manufacturing plants will be stood up very quickly and then transferred. We
are basically in phase III already, next week, in South Africa now.
QUEST: So these are your own vaccines?
These are not manufacturing under license or otherwise of others?
SOON-SHIONG: Absolutely. So the idea was for us to generate a freedom to operate of multiple vaccine platforms. So we partnered with Baylor Medical
College, that have their vaccine now in India.
We've taken on a vaccine developed by Idri (ph) and our own vaccines. So by creating this consortium of know-how under our G&P umbrella, we've
successfully manufactured all of these at scale.
SOON-SHIONG: And now we're just literally transferring them into the country for Africa.
QUEST: How many, realistically, vaccine doses do you believe you can make next year?
SOON-SHIONG: So the opportunity, we've actually, pragmatically chosen platforms that not only can we scale into the hundreds of millions of doses
but more importantly drive T cells and most importantly, break the cold chain barrier. So these vaccines could be developed at room temperature and
scaled to hundreds of millions of doses.
QUEST: Right, but then you get the complexity. Omicron has shown us. I mean, no one really knows and we're all scrabbling around, we know it's not
as efficacious with two. But if you have a booster it's better.
So all these vaccines you're planning to manufacture and deliver, pretty much from day one, you're going to be tweaking and changing.
SOON-SHIONG: No, that's not true. And this is exactly the fallacy, we've been saying since 2020, with the funding of the NIH and Barda (ph), our
vaccine was the one of the few to show it completely breaks transmission. It kills the virus in the nose and lungs. And it works on T cells.
I've been saying and screaming at the top of my lungs, unless you have a vaccine not just antibody dependent, because the virus mutates into many
varieties and now Omicron has proven that. However, if you have a vaccine that not only has antibodies but T cells, the T cells will kill the factory
and what we've shown in our data, it actually crosses and kills Delta, Alpha and every variant so far without having to modify the vaccine because
the T cells are broad enough to kill all these variants.
QUEST: Patrick, when do you think -- I mean this is not going to be over in a sense of a movie, it will come to an end with the final screen.
When do you think that we will be in a position that we're not worried about it?
SOON-SHIONG: Well, all I can tell you is, all of the patients that we have vaccinated in our trials so far -- I was just asking literally five minutes
before this interview with you -- how many patients have, now, been infected with the Omicron?
And obviously, we have some patients on placebo so we don't really know the full number. But I can tell you so far, out of the 60, maybe 60-70
participants, I know of only maybe two or three that have been infected since.
So I'm very confident now, that T cells, if you generate T cells -- and now we're seeing the T cells in patients -- so when you say how confident are
we this is going to be over, until you have a second generation vaccine that actually stops transmission, it will not be over.
So doggedly, we've pursued that path. And excitedly, we've now large-scale G&P manufacturing capacity that can make hundreds of millions of doses,
maybe a billion doses.
So the question you ask is how long?
Well, the World Health Organization put out a plan that -- 2040?
I think that's crazy. I think we need to be in the position for Africa to have 1 billion doses by 2025.
Do you believe that the profit motive benefits or hinders?
If I look, for example, at testing in the United States, where it's all about, have you got insurance and is the government going to pay, et
cetera, et cetera, it's really difficult and you get it two days later and whatever.
Here in Europe, testing is pretty much on demand and it's got a lot easier. The U.K. is slightly odd with Omicron.
Do you believe profit is, the profit model, is helping or hindering in COVID?
SOON-SHIONG: I sadly think, frankly, that's what's driving a little bit of this dissonance in terms of saying, we'll just keep on giving you more
You know, some of these major pharmaceutical companies are generating billions and billions of dollars. So I don't -- it's a hard question to say
what motivates whom. But I think we understand really what should motivate all of us is that the economy and the mental health -- this will not change
unless we stop transmission.
So whatever it takes to do that, that's what should be motivating us.
So why we continue to develop, you know, using the same first generation vaccine, first, second and third boosters, what motivates that?
SOON-SHIONG: I am not sure.
QUEST: We will watch closely, sir, thank you, I'm grateful you've taken time to talk to us tonight. Thank you.
QUEST: Last few minutes of trade on Wall Street, the Dow is hanging on to its gains, trying to, barely. You can see we're bouncing around 400 points
at one. The Nasdaq way down as investors react to Federal Reserve's tapering.
Tech into value is the cycle going on at the moment, with consumer durables leading. And the Dow 30 components really shows all the old favorites,
Verizon, Travelers, IBM all at the top.
And at the bottom, interestingly, Apple, delayed its opening, got a few other problems and Microsoft down there as well. So tech, the rotation out
of tech continues. We will have a "Profitable Moment" after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment": since we're in London, it's appropriate to talk about our interview tonight with Rishi Sunak, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer. The reality is the British government's response to the latest shutdown is somewhat underwhelming.
It is stealth lockdown, basically saying, if you want to have a good Christmas with your family, do not go out now.
That message is being received in cancellations by the thousands, theaters are closed, restaurants are changing and having to lay off more staff
again. But the reality is the government here in the U.K. could do more. And its answer, that they're doing plenty and they will review, is of no
In fact, it's cold comfort to those who are seriously worried about what happens next.
And that's why, when we look at what's happening in Britain with Omicron and then you extrapolate what's going to happen in France and in Germany
and in all the other countries, including yours, well, really, what's happening here serves as a lesson, one that should be watched closely,
before something goes wrong.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in London. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. I'll see