New Variant Sends Shockwaves Into Airline Hotel Stocks
The new coronavirus variant has already started affecting stocks as hotels and airlines reported a fall of 3-6 per cent today itself. The new variant is apparently, already affecting travel plans in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.
Currently, the Centre has asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where the new strain has been reported.
Rumours say that the new variant could be vaccine-resistant. The new variant also spooked the market, which was flashing red in the morning trade. At 10.12 am, the Sensex and Nifty were trading 1.6 per cent low at 57,870.31 and 17,255.85.
The worst-hit is already the hospitality business with airlines and hotels hit the first over the outbreak; as countries start to impose travel restrictions. The UK has already banned travel to and fro South Africa.
Confirmed reports of the nature and intensity of the variant are awaited from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The stocks recovered after restrictions were eased on the back of speedy vaccination but the new variant could put pressure on the travel industry.
The variant has been identified as the B.1.1.529. It is seen as a matter of concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, South Africa’s health minister Joe Phaahla said on November 25.
In a letter to additional chief secretary/principal secretary/secretary (Health) of all states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has asked them to ensure that samples of travellers turning positive are sent to designated genome sequencing laboratories promptly.
The letter further states, “lt is therefore imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the “at-risk” Country Category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other ‘at risk’ countries indicated in the revised Guidelines for international Arrivals issued by this Ministry dated 11.11.2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Guidelines. The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines.”