Stock Market Closes Worst Day of the Year Amid South Africa Covid Variant Scare

Nasdaq and Dow Jones stock indices plummeted amid Friday in their worst day of 2021, responding to reports of a new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa. The new strain of the disease, which the World Health Organization has designated the ‘omicron’ variant of coronavirus,

The Dow Jones tumbled more than 900 points, losing 2.53% of its total in a single day and closing at $34,899.34. The S&P 500 lost 2.27%, and the Nasdaq composite declined 2.23%.

The Dow’s Friday decline was nearly .50% worse than the previous worst day of 2021, when the index declined 2.09% on July 19th.

The economic development contrasts with the usual implications of Black Friday, which traditionally sees gains for the stock market as consumers spend on material goods and services in the biggest purchasing day of the year.

President Joe Biden imposed a travel ban on South Africa and several other countries in the southern part of Africa on Friday, disregarding cheap political attacks he had aimed at President Donald Trump for previously imposing coronavirus travel bans targeting China and other countries where the spread of the disease was rampant. The European Union and Canada have followed in implementing travel bans on several African countries, with flights arriving from the region subjected to rigorous disease screening measures and mandatory quarantine requirements governments applied earlier in the pandemic.

Some preliminary reports have suggested that the omicron variant may have increased resiliency to vaccines, although further research is required on the subject at this time.

Civil liberties advocates have warned that governments and corporations intend to reinstitute draconian restrictions on the people in response to the omicron variant, continuing a scenario in which coronavirus restrictions are kept in place perpetually through the continual evolution of new variants.

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