On Thursday, The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a newly found COVID-19 variant that has been detected in southern Africa. It is named B.1.1.529 and has large number of mutations, which creates fears for higher transmission rate and vaccine evasion. 
This comes in an already tough period, especially for Europe, where the Austrian government implemented full lockdown this week and in Germany COVID-19 deaths surpassed 100K.
In response, some countries have imposed travel restrictions towards African countries. Most notably, the UK government added today, six such countries to its red list, including South Africa. 
The European Union is also mulling similar restrictions, with EU Commission President Ms von Der Layen, twitting earlier that they are "in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region". 
The travel industry and airline companies in particular, take a hit after these developments, with stocks of many of them dropping today.
German airline company Lufthansa (LHA.de), was trading with losses in excess of 10% at the time of writing, threatening 5.00 and setting fresh 2021 lows, in an already bad year for the stock.
In London, shares of the International Airlines Group (IAG.uk), also dropped to the worst levels of the year, going as low as 110.36. IAG owns various airline companies, such as British Airways and Iberia.
Over in the Pacific, Australian airline Qantas (QAN.au), closed the day with losses of around 5% - its lowest level since August.
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Senior Market Specialist
Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.
With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.
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