European shares hit as new virus strain grips UK

From airports to the Eurotunnel... many travel terminals in Europe stand eerily empty.

That after Britain imposed a more stringent lockdown over the weekend.

The rapid spread of a new strain of the coronavirus led countries from Germany to Canada to ban travellers from Britain.

European shares slumped on Monday (December 21) in response.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index slid around 2%.

European neighbours, including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, ordered a suspension of flights from Britain.

While France's ban also included freight carriers, whether by road, air, sea or rail.

No surprise that travel stocks took the news badly, shedding 5.5 percent in morning trade and on course for their worst day in three months.

EasyJet and British Airways-owner IAG both slid around 9 percent.

Oil majors also led losses in Europe, as the new restrictions spurred worries about a hit to demand, weighing on crude prices.

U.S. and international benchmark crude prices were down around 4%.

The new coronavirus strain is up to 70% more transmissible than the original.

And it couldn't come at a worse time.

A Brexit trade deal still hangs in the balance, with little time remaining to secure a deal.

Sterling slumped nearly two percent against the dollar on Monday.

Trade talks between Britain and the EU were expected to continue on Monday, with just days to go until a transition period expires at the end of the year.