From stocks to oil, global markets tumbled on Friday following the discovery of a new variant of covid-19 in South Africa.
In New York, the Dow Jones experienced its biggest drop of the year, 2.53%, while the Nasdaq lost 2.23% and the S&P 500 2.27%.
The European indices suffered their worst sessions in more than a year: Paris fell 4.75%, London 3.64%, Frankfurt 4.15% and Madrid 4.96%.
For the French stock market it was the worst session since March 18, 2020, when the first lockdown in the country was decreed. In London, there had been no such decline since June 2020.
The fall also affected Asian and Latin American stock markets, and oil prices, which lost more than 10%.
The Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, the largest in Latin America, closed this Friday with a decline of 3.39% to 102,224 points.
European countries, which are facing a fifth wave of covid-19, are beginning to take action before the appearance of the new variant detected in South Africa.
The European Union recommended on Friday to member states to suspend flights to and from southern Africa.
Called omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO), this variant has a potential for very rapid spread, according to scientists, who do not know at this stage whether currently available vaccines are effective in dealing with it.
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