Travel stocks plummet as new UK virus strain dents reopening optimism

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  • Airline and cruise stocks fell on Monday after a new COVID-19 strain identified in the UK led to a wave of more stringent lockdowns and travel restrictions in the area.
  • It’s not yet known if the new COVID-19 strain, which has a higher transmission rate, is impacted by the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
  • Shares of Delta Air Lines fell as much as 9% on Monday, while Carnival Corporation dropped as much as 12%.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Travel-related stocks plunged on Monday as a new COVID-19 strain identified in the UK put a dent in investor optimism around an economic reopening.

Surging virus cases and concerns around the new mutation has led to a string of new lockdowns and travel restrictions in the UK. A Tier 4 lockdown hit London on Sunday, which bars people from gathering with other people outside of their households.

Airline stocks plunged. Delta Air Lines fell as much as 9%, while America Airlines and Jet Blue fell as much as 9% and 7%, respectively.

Cruise stocks also took a sizable hit in Monday trades. Carnival Corporation led the decline, down as much as 12%, while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean fell as much as 11% and 10%, respectively.

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The mutated COVID-19 strain that has been identified in the UK is thought to be able to spread more quickly than the original strain, according to the UK’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

But there is no evidence yet that the strain is more deadly or will affect vaccines and treatments, “although urgent work is underway to confirm this,” Whitty said.

Fear that another variant of COVID-19 that might throw a wrench in plans to swiftly reach herd immunity and squash the virus via hundreds of millions of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and others has stocks reeling on Monday.

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