Stock markets dropped early Monday following an announcement that a more contagious new strain of the coronavirus had spread in London and other parts of England.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 200 points, or 0.7 percent, and the S&P 500 fell 36 points, or 1 percent.
The U.K.’s announcement that the new strain was as much as 70 percent more contagious has led to flight cancellations and border closures, and raised concerns that the pandemic could become harder to control.
The losses also follow a deal in Congress on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that will extend and expand emergency unemployment benefits, include a round of $600 stimulus checks and provide small business relief.
While markets have been watching stimulus negotiations for weeks, the agreement appeared to be eclipsed by the new U.K. strain of the coronavirus.