South African rand hits back at fears of new covid, variant

South African Rand.

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The South African rand fell sharply against the dollar on Friday after a new variant with multiple mutations was detected in the country.

The currency fell as much as 16.2391 against the greenback during trading hours in Asia on Friday and was last trading down 1.6% at 16.2215 per dollar.

The losses came as investors turned to safe-haven currencies such as Japanese yen, which rose nearly 0.6% to 114.69 per dollar against the greenback. America dollar index, which tracks the greenback higher than its peers, was at 96.712 – compared to the low of 96.5 seen earlier this week.

World Health Organization officials said on Thursday They are monitoring a new variant with multiple mutations for the spike protein — the part of the virus that binds to cells in the body. The health agency is scheduling a special meeting on Friday to discuss what this could mean for vaccines and treatments.

According to the WHO, a small number of variants named B.1.1.529 have been detected in South Africa.

“We don’t know a lot about it yet. What we do know is that this variant carries a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can affect the behavior of the virus.” “WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, said in a Q&A that was livestreamed on the organisation’s social media channels.

Hours after the announcement, the United Kingdom announced that it would Flights from six African countries temporarily suspended,

— CNBC’s Hannah Miao contributed to this report.


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