DOW, S&P 500 sink as markets wary over new COVID-19 variant

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 suffered significant declines on Friday, as markets reacted to the news that a new strain of the COVID-19 virus had been discovered.

It was reported that the variant which was found in South Africa, is potentially vaccine-resistant, and this news has sent shockwaves through markets.

In a statement regarding the new discovery, WHO’s Technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove stated that, “We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves”.

The Dow fell by as much as 1000 points, with the S&P 500 2.25% lower as of writing.

Gold prices also spiked, and were up by as much as $35 on the news.

UK’s FTSE 100 suffers biggest fall in 2021

In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 suffered its biggest intraday fall of the year, as it too reacted to the news of the new COVID variant.

The news prompted the UK government to temporarily suspend flights to and from six countries in the southern African region.

Regarding the travel suspension, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that, “More data is needed but we’re taking precautions now. From noon tomorrow six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travelers must quarantine”.

Some of the countries impacted were South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

London’s FTSE 100 closed 3.64% lower to end the week.

 

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