South African rand takes hit on new Covid fears, variant
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The losses got here as traders scurried towards safe-haven currencies such because the Japanese yen, which strengthened about 0.6% in opposition to the dollar to 114.69 per greenback. The U.S. greenback index, which tracks the dollar in opposition to its friends, was at 96.712 — as in contrast with ranges beneath 96.5 seen earlier this week.
World Well being Group officers stated Thursday they’re monitoring a brand new variant with quite a few mutations to the spike protein — the a part of the virus that binds to cells within the physique. The well being company is scheduling a particular assembly Friday to debate what it might imply for vaccines and coverings.
The variant, known as B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa in small numbers, in response to the WHO.
“We do not know very a lot about this but. What we do know is that this variant has a lot of mutations. And the priority is that when you might have so many mutations, it will probably have an effect on how the virus behaves,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, stated in a Q&A that was livestreamed on the group’s social media channels.
Hours following the announcement, the UK introduced it will briefly droop flights from six African nations.
— CNBC’s Hannah Miao contributed to this report.