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LONDON : Asian stocks suffered their sharpest drop in three months and European stocks sank more than 3% on Friday, as reports of a newly identified and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant drove investors out of riskier assets.

Asian and European countries rushed to tighten restrictions on Friday after a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant was detected in South Africa, with Singapore and India announcing stricter border controls and more rigorous testing.

SUSANNAH STREETER, SENIOR INVESTMENT AND MARKETS ANALYST, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN: "Fear has gripped the financial markets with the travel industry flying into another violent storm, after the discovery of a new COVID strain which could be far more contagious

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