Oil prices, stocks, and bond yields all stumbled this morning on the news of a new COVID variant. The variant reportedly originated in Africa, and several cases of the virus have already been recorded in Europe. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) called a meeting to study the latest variant, known as Omicron (B.1.1.529.) The new variant has a higher number of mutations than the delta variant, making it more transmissible than prior variants. Pasi Panttinen of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shared: 

“It looks like this particular variant has a very concerning sets of mutations especially in the spike protein, which is needed for its transmission properties as well as its protection against the vaccines… So based on the genetic information we are quite concerned about it.” 

Countries such as France, Italy, Japan, and Singapore have already instituted travel bans or restrictions to South Africa.

The U.S. went a step further and restricted travel from eight African countries.