Coronavirus Update: Omicron variant not severe, S&P 500 futures jump 1%

Starting out a fresh week in early trades, the risk sentiment took a big hit on the renewed fears over the Omicron covid variant.

Although the sentiment improved over the last hours, with the major economies quickly acting to curb the virus spread while many industry and health experts opine that the effects of the new variant are unlikely to be more severe.

Among the latest updates, China's aviation regulator said on Monday that it would suspend Air France from operating four Paris-Tianjin flights from Nov. 29 due to COVID-19 cases.

Japanese media outlets reported that entry for all foreigners will be banned almost immediately and an announcement to that effect is expected as early as this afternoon. 

The Australian state of Victoria announces a 14-day quarantine requirement for arrivals from parts of Africa.

The country’s Health Minister Greg Hunt said, “We are vastly, vastly better prepared than the overwhelming majority of the world, and I say that with great respect to the immense work that’s been done globally.”

“Australia’s National Security Committee will meet today to review the evidence and consider actions surrounding the omicron variant and a National Cabinet meeting will be held in the next 48 hours,” Hunt said.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, “The initial reported infections were among university students,” adding that younger patients tend to have milder symptoms.

“Symptoms linked to the omicron coronavirus variant have been mild so far, according to a Covid-19 adviser to the South Africa government and the Pretoria doctor who first sounded the alarm about the new strain,” per Bloomberg.

Reuters reported that “two major manufacturers said the vaccines could be reworked to counter omicron. Moderna said yesterday that it could roll out a reformulated vaccine to counter the omicron early next year while Pfizer said it could develop a vaccine for the variant within 100 days.”

Market reaction

The risk sentiment has recovered amid the renewed optimism on the virus front, reflective of the 1% rebound in the S&P 500 futures.

The Asian stocks are well off the lower levels while the AUD/USD pair heads back to 0.7150, up 0.31% on the day.

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