Coronavirus update: WHO calls special meeting to discuss variant

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Having witnessed a sluggish day due to the US Thanksgiving Day holiday, market players struggle with a risk-off mood during Friday as the coronavirus concerns weigh on the sentiment.

Among the key catalysts were the chatters over the virus version, with a formal name of B.1.1.529, which is linked to South Africa and is immune to the vaccines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a special meeting to discuss the new version of the virus and any fears emanating from it to confirm its status as a “variant of concern.” Scientists said, per Reuters, “The variant, detected in South Africa, may be able to evade immune responses. British authorities think it is the most significant variant to date, worry it could resist vaccines and have hurried to impose travel restrictions on South Africa.”

It’s worth noting that the news of finding two cases of the new virus variant in parts of Southern Africa, from two travelers arriving in Hong Kong, also weighs on the sentiment.

Elsewhere, Germany marks a jump in the coronavirus led deaths to cross the 100,000 mark. Reuters said, “Another 351 people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 100,119, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. The number of new daily cases hit a new record of 75,961.”

Austria already announced local lockdowns due to the virus outbreak while French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday that they will not announce any new coronavirus-related lockdown or curfew, as reported by Reuters.

On a different page, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno showed concerns over the virus variant and said, “If any new coronavirus variants are identified we will reconsider our border controls as needed.”

Furthermore, Australia’s daily covid cases rise to the highest levels since October 29, per ABC News.

It should be noted that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) calls for a technical briefing to discuss the variant, which in turn becomes important and weigh on the market sentiment as well.

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