Travel restrictions due to spread of corona omicron mutation… Negotiations to restore Iran nuclear deal begin

This is ‘Global Village Today’, which delivers major news from various countries around the world.

Moderator) What news do you have today?

Reporter) Yes. People around the world are being identified with the new coronavirus mutation ‘Omicron’. Many countries then blocked flights from South Africa. Negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal began on the 29th in Vienna, Austria. The news that the Turkish pharmaceutical industry is being hit hard as the value of the Turkish currency, the lira, has plummeted.

Host) This is the first news from the global village today. Last weekend, the world’s attention focused on a new mutant coronavirus, right?

Reporter) Yes. South Africa recently reported a new mutant coronavirus. The new mutation was originally called ‘nu’. Later, the World Health Organization designated it as a ‘variant of concern’ and named it ‘Omicron’. Omicron stands for the Greek letter ‘O’.

Moderator) Isn’t the whole world nervous about the emergence of a new mutation?

Reporter) Yes. Delta mutations, which appeared before, spread worldwide with a strong contagious power, causing great damage. So, the international community is very nervous about the new mutated Omicron.

Moderator) There is also a prediction that Omicron’s infectivity will surpass that of the delta mutation several times?

Reporter) Yes. This is the prediction of scientists who looked into the mutational structure of omicron. However, it has not yet been officially confirmed. It is also unknown how lethal it can be to an infected person. Meanwhile, South African scientists have reported mild symptoms in people infected with Omicron. It is said that only symptoms such as mild headache, body aches, and fatigue appear.

Moderator) You said that Omicron was first confirmed in South Africa, but now there are infected people all over the world, right?

Reporter) Yes. According to the Reuters news agency, 13 countries including South Africa, Botswana, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Belgium and Denmark have confirmed the infection.

Moderator) Did you hear that there were a lot of infections, especially in the Netherlands?

Reporter) Yes. A total of 13 people came out. It has been confirmed that 61 of the 600 passengers who departed from South Africa and disembarked at Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands have contracted the coronavirus. Of these, 13 were infected with Omicron.

Moderator) It seems to be spreading to other countries in Europe other than the Netherlands?

Reporter) Yes. It is not as many as in the Netherlands, but there are a few cases, and the countries are very nervous. Most of these infected people are known to have returned from traveling to Africa.

Moderator) No cases of infection have been reported in the United States yet?

Reporter) Yes. However, since the infected person came from the neighboring country, Canada, the prospect of an infected person also prevails in the United States. White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said in an interview with NBC on the 28th, “I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.”

Moderator) When the situation became urgent due to the appearance of a new mutation, many countries suspended flights from Africa, right?

Reporter) Yes. Many countries, including the UK, abruptly suspended flights to and from South Africa, including South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana. As a result, the feet of people traveling in the area were tied up. Some countries have barred foreigners from entering the country altogether.

Moderator) Which country has taken such a measure?

Reporter) Israel, where Omicron was found, has already suspended entry of all foreigners for two weeks. And Morocco, a country in North Africa, has also completely suspended entry for foreigners for two weeks from the 29th. Japan also announced that it will prevent new entry of foreigners from the 30th. We plan to maintain these measures for at least one month.

Moderator) Many countries have suspended flights from South Africa, what is the response?

Reporter) Yes. The South African government has called for the flight suspension to be withdrawn immediately. South Africa itself has signaled the emergence of a mutant virus to the world, saying it is not fair to block flights.

Moderator) What is the WHO position on travel regulations?

Reporter) Yes. It was advised not to overreact too much. It is too early to say that there is still no accurate data on Omicron.

Moderator) What are some measures to prevent the spread of the new mutated coronavirus, Omicron?

Reporter) Experts emphasized that in the current situation, the existing corona vaccine should be accelerated. Of course, it is important to strengthen quarantine measures, but the most effective measure at this stage is vaccination.

Moderator) It is known that the vaccination rate is quite low in the South African region where Omicron was developed, right?

Reporter) Yes. In particular, in South Africa, it is known that the vaccination rate is in the 20% range. Experts stress that increasing vaccination rates can reduce the chances of mutating the virus.

Moderator) But are the existing vaccines effective against Omicron?

It is not yet known whether existing vaccines can block Omicron. In the midst of this, Moderna, one of the manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines, has announced that it can produce a new vaccine against Omicron in the near future.

Iranian flag hanging in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria (file photo)

Moderator) The global village is the next news today. Negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal have begun?

Reporter) Yes, on the 29th, in Vienna, Austria, Iran and the parties to the Iran nuclear agreement began negotiations on restoration. Negotiations on the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal will resume after five months after the Iranian presidential election was held in June.

The moderator) said that the negotiations were aimed at restoring the Iran nuclear deal. Let’s first take a look at what the Iran nuclear deal is about.

Reporter) Yes. In 2015, Iran signed the Iran nuclear agreement with permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. For reference, the permanent members of the UN Security Council are the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia. The key to the Iran nuclear deal was to lift economic sanctions on Iran if Iran stopped developing nuclear weapons.

Host) By the way, didn’t the United States face a crisis that would lead to a groundbreaking of the nuclear agreement?

Reporter) Yes. In 2018, the then Donald Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the agreement. He then asked for renegotiation. However, Iran has refused to do so and has begun to gradually neutralize the nuclear agreement, which has prompted the parties to the nuclear agreement to negotiate with Iran to restore the agreement.

Moderator) If it was a measure to neutralize the nuclear agreement, what specifically did you do?

Reporter) Yes. The Iran nuclear deal limits the concentration and amount of uranium enrichment in Iran. Iran responded by increasing its concentration or increasing its concentration. It also neutralized the nuclear agreement by limiting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Moderator) What is the outlook for this negotiation?

Reporter) The prevailing view is that a settlement will not be easy. This is because the difference between the US and Iran’s positions is huge.

Moderator) What demands is Iran making in the restoration negotiations?

Reporter) The US and European countries are of the position that an agreement can be reached only if sanctions on Iran are lifted first. Iran’s economy is in a difficult state as U.S. sanctions block oil export routes and all assets abroad are frozen.

Moderator) But, the needs of the US are different, aren’t they?

Reporter) Yes. Joe Biden’s administration calls for Iran to abide by nuclear deal requirements first.

Moderator) Do you know that Iran has refused to negotiate directly with the US on the issue of restoration of negotiations?

Reporter) That’s right. Iran has only negotiated with European parties so far. Again, we are not directly negotiating with the United States.

Moderator) Did the US even warn that it might take other measures in relation to the nuclear deal with Iran?

Reporter) Yes. The US special envoy to Iran, Robert Marley, warned on the 25th of last month that there are other unknown alternatives to the progress of Iran’s nuclear activity. He also recently emphasized that if negotiations fail, it will intensify pressure on Iran.

The Turkish lira has recently fallen in value (file photo)

The Turkish lira has recently fallen in value (file photo)

Moderator) Global Village Today, let’s look at one more news. Is the news that the value of the Turkish currency continues to plummet?

Reporter) Yes. The lira has fallen 38% against the dollar and 32% against the euro this year.

Moderator) What is the reason for the sharp decline in the value of the lira?

This is because the central bank of Turkey continues to cut interest rates. In general, when the central bank lowers the benchmark interest rate, the money supply increases in the market, raising inflation and depreciating the domestic currency relative to foreign currency.

Moderator) Why is the central bank of Turkey lowering the key interest rate despite the currency depreciation?

Reporter) Yes. This is because of pressure from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Erdogan opposes general economic theories as conspiracy theories, and has argued that high interest rates cause high inflation and that interest rates should be lowered to catch inflation (inflation). Erdogan has fired several central bank governors for not complying with his demands.

Moderator) So, what is the base interest rate in Turkey now?

Reporter) 15%. Turkey’s central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate to 18% from 19% in September. In October, it fell back to 16%. On the 19th, it fell by 1%p to 15% again.

Moderator) What is the price of the lira against the dollar?

Reporter) On the 23rd, it recorded an all-time low of 13.45 lira against the dollar. As of the 26th, it was announced at 12.42 lira per dollar.

Moderator) But if the value of money plummets like this, won’t there be chaos in society as a whole?

Reporter) That’s right. Experts are warning that the sharp drop in the lira could be a bigger blow to the Turkish people, especially in that it was caused by Erdogan government policies, not because of foreign investment recovery or trade deficits. The pharmaceutical industry has already been hit hard.

Moderator) Are you saying that if the pharmaceutical industry is hit, it will be difficult to obtain drugs?

Reporter) Yes. Some Turks are unable to obtain medicines as the price of imported medicines skyrocketed due to the depreciation of the lira and supplies are cut off. The pharmaceutical industry has warned that it will be difficult to buy some items such as children’s medicines, cold medicines, diabetes medicines and blood pressure medicines in the next few months.

Moderator) Isn’t it a serious situation if you can’t get medicines directly related to your health?

Reporter) Yes. A nurse in Istanbul told Reuters news agency that she had gone everywhere for her teenage son with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, but was unable to find the medicine, and was worried that she might not be able to take it again.

Moderator) Global Village Today, I will listen up to this point.



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